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

29/07/2015

Freedom to conduct business means growth and jobs for Europe

The European Union has always sought to boost innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the region. However, entrepreneurs often face long and complicated administrative procedures, time consuming reporting obligations, and difficulties in accessing credit. The freedom to conduct business, one of the lesser-known rights of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, is explored in detail with examples of how this right can also help boost growth and jobs, in this latest report of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
24/07/2015

Polish Senate discusses with FRA fundamental rights challenges and achievements in the EU

On 21 July, FRA presented the agency and its 2014 Annual Report of fundamental rights challenges and achievements to the Polish Senate in Warsaw. Speaking at the joint session of three parliamentary committees, the European Affairs Committee, Family, Social Policy and Senior Citizens’ Affairs Committee as well as Committee on Human Rights, Rule of Law and Petitions, the interim FRA Director, Constantinos Manolopoulos, focused on the issues of migration, victims’ rights and child rights.
16/07/2015

FRA calls for zero tolerance for labour exploitation in the European Parliament

Labour exploitation has become an endemic problem, and EU Member States need to make a greater effort to promote a climate of zero tolerance, FRA Freedoms and Justice Department Head Joanna Goodey said during the presentation of a new FRA report to members of the European Parliament Committee of Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) on 15 July.

Latest projects View all

Status: 
Ongoing

Handbook on access to justice in Europe

In partnership with the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) and the European Court of Human Rights, FRA will produce a handbook which will highlight and summarise the key European legal and jurisprudential principles in the area of access to justice.

Latest publications View all

June
2015

Severe labour exploitation: workers moving within or into the European Union

Report
Worker exploitation is not an isolated or marginal phenomenon. But despite its pervasiveness in everyday life, severe labour exploitation and its adverse effects on third-country nationals and EU citizens – as workers, but also as consumers – have to date not received much attention from researchers.
January
2015

Victims of crime in the EU: the extent and nature of support for victims

Report
The rights of victims of crime to access justice and to be protected against repeat victimisation may remain illusory in practice if the victim fails to receive professional advice and support. This research by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) examines support service provision for such victims across the 28 EU Member States, in line with the 2012 EU Victims’ Directive. It focuses not on abstract fundamental rights standards but on the final practical results.