Accessing efficient and independent justice – legal and sociological analysis

What?

The project aims to identify obstacles in accessing judicial and non-judicial bodies, such as equality bodies. It also seeks to map promising practices that facilitate access to justice for people who feel that their rights have been violated, such as victims of discrimination. It will result in a comprehensive overview of the situation across the EU, and provide Member States, European institutions, judicial practitioners and civil society actors with new evidence on how to improve and facilitate access to justice.

Why?

FRA research shows that fundamental rights in various areas of life are regularly violated. Access to justice is a core fundamental right of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights which also has a bearing on many other fundamental rights. The principle of non-discrimination is also firmly established in EU legislation and includes provisions relating to access to justice. 

How?

The legal analysis, launched in March 2011, provides an understanding of the degree to which access to justice is available, or not available, for individuals seeking to claim rights derived from EU law through national courts, complemented by non-judicial mechanisms. It highlights problems that result in victims being deterred or unable to enforce their rights by taking cases to court.

The sociological analysis, launched in December 2012, examines the process of seeking redress in cases of discrimination and provides a detailed analysis of how institutions that deal with cases of discrimination support victims. It examines the factors obstructing effective remedies, such as the complexity of the complaints system, which can discourage people from bringing cases and reinforce feelings of helplessness. It also identifies the factors that best enable effective remedies. Qualitative interviews provide evidence about the challenges on the ground relating to access to justice. Interviews are being held with people who have brought a complaint, with lawyers, representatives of NGOs providing advice and support to complainants, and with representatives of equality bodies.

Project Manager: 
Jonas Grimheden
Jonas Grimheden

Jonas Grimheden (PhD)

Job Title: 
Head of Sector Access to justice
Department: 
Freedoms and Justice
Email: 
access2justice@fra.europa.eu
Communications Project Member: 

Pia Tirronen (MA)

Job Title: 
National Human Rights Institutions and Equality Bodies Focal Point
Department: 
Communication and Outreach Department
Email: 
NHRBteam@fra.europa.eu