Access to justice

Access to justice is a core fundamental right and a central concept in the broader field of justice. However, it is a right that faces a number of challenges throughout the EU.

While access to justice typically means having a case heard in a court of law, it can more broadly be achieved or supported through mechanisms such as national human rights institutions, equality bodies and ombudsman institutions, as well as the European Ombudsman at EU level. Yet, FRA research shows that access to justice is problematic in a number of EU Member States. This is due to several factors, including a lack of rights awareness and poor knowledge about the tools that are available to access justice (see EU-MIDIS, in particular Data in Focus report 3: Rights Awareness).

Drawing on its research findings, the Agency seeks to provide evidence-based advice to policy makers at EU and national level in order to improve awareness of and access to justice. This includes the provision of information about how to remove existing obstacles that hinder people’s ability to access justice, including groups such as children and migrants.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union guarantees the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial, including legal aid to those who lack sufficient resources. At the same time, access to justice is also an enabling  right that allows those who perceive their rights as having been violated to enforce them and seek redress.

Victims’ rights and support

Explore the mapping of victims’ rights and support in the EU online >> 

Maps and tables allow users to view some of the key aspects related to support services for victims of crime.

 

Latest news View all

Labour inspections to better protect workers from severe exploitation
05/09/2018

Labour inspections to better protect workers from severe exploitation

Workplace inspections are often lacking or ineffective, enabling unscrupulous employers to exploit their workers, finds the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ latest report. Tightening up inspections to combat abuse and empower workers to report abuse are some ways FRA suggests to help end severe labour exploitation.
Freedom of movement: rights versus reality for EU citizens
29/08/2018

Freedom of movement: rights versus reality for EU citizens

EU citizens have the right to move freely from country to country but in practice pitfalls exist when it comes to receiving residence permits or social assistance, finds the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ latest report.

Latest projects View all

Status: 
Ongoing

Severe labour exploitation – workers’ perspectives (SELEX II)

The project looks at the experiences and views of foreign workers in selected EU countries who have experienced criminal forms of labour exploitation. It fills an important gap by extending the evidence beyond the views of professionals who deal with labour exploitation; this was covered in an earlier project.

Latest publications View all

Protecting migrant workers from exploitation in the EU: boosting workplace inspections
September
2018

Protecting migrant workers from exploitation in the EU: boosting workplace inspections

Report
Severe labour exploitation is widespread across the European Union. While workplace inspections can help counter this phenomenon, they need to be strengthened to do so effectively. Based on interviews and focus group discussions with almost 240 exploited workers active in diverse economic sectors, this report provides important evidence on how unscrupulous employers manipulate and undermine inspections, and on what can be done to counteract such efforts.
Making EU citizens’ rights a reality: national courts enforcing freedom of movement and related rights
August
2018

Making EU citizens’ rights a reality: national courts enforcing freedom of movement and related rights

Report
The founding treaties, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and secondary EU law all provide for EU citizens’ freedom to move and reside freely in any EU country of their choice. Growing numbers of citizens, and their family members, are making use of this freedom and related rights, such as the right not to be discriminated against based on nationality and the right to vote in certain elections in the host Member State. But making these rights a reality remains a challenge. This report presents an EU-wide, comparative overview of the application of the Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC) across the 28 Member States based on a review of select case law at national level.
Out of sight: migrant women exploited in domestic work
June
2018

Out of sight: migrant women exploited in domestic work

Paper
The stories of the domestic workers FRA interviewed for this paper reveal appalling working conditions and fundamental rights abuses in private homes across the EU. These stories indicate that, seven years on from FRA’s first report on domestic workers in 2011, little has changed in terms of the risks and experiences of severe labour exploitation domestic workers in the EU face.