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.

 

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How Member States are failing victims of violent crime –  EU Agency reports
25/04/2019

How Member States are failing victims of violent crime – EU Agency reports

Member States must do more to protect victims of violent crime, finds the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Its latest reports question current safeguards defending the rights of those seeking justice. FRA calls for positive action from police, support services, public prosecutors and courts.

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Proceedings that do justice – Justice for victims of violent crime, Part II
April
2019

Proceedings that do justice – Justice for victims of violent crime, Part II

Report
Victims of violent crime have various rights, including to protection and to access justice. But how are these rights playing out in practice? Are victims of violent crime properly seen, informed, empowered and heard? Do they tend to feel that justice has been done? Our four-part report series takes a closer look at these questions, based on interviews with victims, people working for victim support organisations, police officers, attorneys, prosecutors and judges.
Sanctions that do justice – Justice for victims of violent crime, Part III
April
2019

Sanctions that do justice – Justice for victims of violent crime, Part III

Report
Victims of violent crime have various rights, including to protection and to access justice. But how are these rights playing out in practice? Are victims of violent crime properly seen, informed, empowered and heard? Do they tend to feel that justice has been done? Our four-part report series takes a closer look at these questions, based on interviews with victims, people working for victim support organisations, police officers, attorneys, prosecutors and judges.
Victims' rights as standards of criminal justice – Justice for victims of violent crime, Part I
April
2019

Victims' rights as standards of criminal justice – Justice for victims of violent crime, Part I

Report
Victims of violent crime have various rights, including to protection and to access justice. But how are these rights playing out in practice? Are victims of violent crime properly seen, informed, empowered and heard? Do they tend to feel that justice has been done? Our four-part report series takes a closer look at these questions, based on interviews with victims, people working for victim support organisations, police officers, attorneys, prosecutors and judges.