Trust, mutual recognition, and common EU-wide minimum fundamental rights standards are the pillars of a well-functioning EU justice area, says the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in the run up to European Day of Justice on 25 October. However, in practice this is not the reality. Many obstacles impede individuals from accessing justice or receiving a fair trial. That is why these issues will be thrown under the spotlight during a joint FRA-Slovak EU Presidency conference in Bratislava from 9 to 10 November.
The event, ‘Ensuring cross-border justice for all in the EU: sharing practices and experiences from the ground’, seeks to explore how to ensure there is fair, effective and accessible cross-border justice for everyone across the EU. Over 100 representatives from international and EU institutions, national governments, judges and other legal professionals, national human rights institutions and other ‘access to justice’ actors will be invited. They will exchange real-life practices and experiences in order to develop practical suggestions on how to strengthen cross-border justice.
Participants will examine current trends and challenges in cross-border justice. They will focus on three particular areas and the related EU laws: common EU-wide rules to ensure fairness; mutual trust and mutual recognition among national legal practitioners; and better information and targeted guidance to improve rights awareness and access to justice.
FRA will also use the event to launch two new reports and promote its access to justice handbook for legal practitioners which will be published in Slovak during the event, with more language versions to follow later. One report looks at right of suspected and accused people across the EU to translation, interpretation and information; the other looks at fundamental rights in pre- and post-trial cross-border transfer procedures in relation to criminal detention and their alternatives in the EU.
Taken together, the event and reports aim to bring justice closer to everybody in the EU. They will enable decision makers to better understand and hence tackle the challenges in facilitating cross-border access to justice and national legal professionals to address the barriers in cross-border justice by drawing on existing promising practices.