Justice

Justice, victims’ rights and judicial cooperation

Your access to justice is a fundamental right. It is central to making your other rights a reality.

It protects rights of the individual. It puts right civil wrongs. It holds power to account. We shine a light on obstacles to access to justice. And we give evidence-based advice on overcoming them.

Highlights

  • Report / Paper / Summary
    7
    March
    2024
    Tackling greenwashing is an issue where human rights, consumer rights and climate goals align. Companies use greenwashing to convince people to buy products that are not always as environmentally friendly as they claim to be. They mislead consumers and harm the environment. This report shows how a human rights approach can combat greenwashing. It is based on consultations with experts in 10 Member States. The report identifies gaps in existing laws and enforcement. It includes case studies of consumers seeking remedies for misleading environmental claims. The EU and Member States should enforce rules that make it harder for companies to make misleading environmental claims. They should strengthen rules that make it easier for consumers to prove that companies are greenwashing. Consumer and environmental organisations already hold governments and business to account. Governments should make it easier to use collective action for the protection of consumer rights and the environment.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    26
    March
    2024
    The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) allows Member States to implement judicial decisions issued in another Member State. It applies to decisions such as arrests for the purpose of criminal prosecutions or the execution of custodial sentences. After being in force for over 20 years, FRA’s findings provide evidence for an assessment of the legislation in practice. This report looks at the fundamental rights challenges that people face who are requested through an EAW. It provides a unique insight into their experiences and those of the professionals involved. FRA’s findings indicate that shared challenges exist across EU Member States. They must increase efforts to ensure that people are able to take part in criminal proceedings and receive a fair trial.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    21
    June
    2022
    Every child has a right to be protected even when they are accused or suspected of committing a crime. The basic principles of justice apply to adults and children alike. But children face specific obstacles during criminal proceedings, such as a lack of understandable information about their rights, limited legal support and poor treatment. The report looks at the practical implementation of Directive (EU) 2016/800 on procedural safeguards for children who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings in nine Member States – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Malta, Poland and Portugal.
  • Handbook / Guide / Manual
    22
    June
    2016
    Access to justice is an important element of the rule of law. It enables individuals to protect themselves against infringements of their rights, to remedy civil wrongs, to hold executive power accountable and to defend themselves in criminal proceedings. This handbook summarises the key European legal principles in the area of access to justice, focusing on civil and criminal law.
Products
18
June
2024
This factsheet has been prepared by the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights as part of a collaborative effort to highlight jurisprudence in selected areas where European Union (EU) law and that of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR” or “the Convention”) interact.
5
June
2024
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2024 analyses the year’s developments in fundamental rights. It focuses on the most pressing fundamental rights concerns facing Europe in 2023: the cost-of-living crisis, rights concerns at the EU’s external borders and migration, and threats to democracy. Re-structured, this year’s new approach is a shorter and sharper analysis. It also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments, including a summary of the evidence supporting these opinions.
5
June
2024
The year 2023 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2023 reviews developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered and a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions. In so doing, it provides a compact but informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting the EU and its Member States.
26
March
2024
The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) allows Member States to implement judicial decisions issued in another Member State. It applies to decisions such as arrests for the purpose of criminal prosecutions or the execution of custodial sentences. After being in force for over 20 years, FRA’s findings provide evidence for an assessment of the legislation in practice. This report looks at the fundamental rights challenges that people face who are requested through an EAW. It provides a unique insight into their experiences and those of the professionals involved. FRA’s findings indicate that shared challenges exist across EU Member States. They must increase efforts to ensure that people are able to take part in criminal proceedings and receive a fair trial.
7
March
2024
Tackling greenwashing is an issue where human rights, consumer rights and climate goals align. Companies use greenwashing to convince people to buy products that are not always as environmentally friendly as they claim to be. They mislead consumers and harm the environment. This report shows how a human rights approach can combat greenwashing. It is based on consultations with experts in 10 Member States. The report identifies gaps in existing laws and enforcement. It includes case studies of consumers seeking remedies for misleading environmental claims. The EU and Member States should enforce rules that make it harder for companies to make misleading environmental claims. They should strengthen rules that make it easier for consumers to prove that companies are greenwashing. Consumer and environmental organisations already hold governments and business to account. Governments should make it easier to use collective action for the protection of consumer rights and the environment.
20
October
2023
FRA’s strategic priorities and objectives are based on the agency’s role and mission as defined in its amended founding regulation. They build on FRA’s 2018–2022 strategy as well as how it performed, its experience and its vision. Their design takes into account future fundamental rights challenges facing Europe, the agency’s mandate, the broader operational context and the resources available.
8
June
2023
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2023 reviews major developments in the field in 2022, identifying both achievements and areas of concern. It also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments, including a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions.
8
June
2023
The year 2022 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2023 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered, and a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions.
22
February
2023
Directive 2012/29/EU represents a milestone in the development of victims’ rights. It establishes minimum standards for the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. It defines the scope of support services, guarantees the right to effective protection against secondary victimisation and comprehensively regulates the measures required for this purpose. This report covers three core components underpinning victims’ rights: support services, crime reporting, and protection from secondary and repeat victimisation. Examples highlight the relevant legal provisions in Member States and how specific rights under the Victims’ Rights Directive work in practice.
28
September
2022
Acts of terrorism represent a serious threat to the lives and safety of people, and a profound security challenge for states. At the same time, counter-terrorism legislation, policies and other measures can entail, directly or indirectly, serious limitations to fundamental rights, and can adversely affect individuals, groups and society as a whole. This summary presents FRA’s main findings from its report on Directive (EU) 2017/541 on combating terrorism, the main criminal law instrument at EU level in the field of counter-terrorism.
21
June
2022
Every child has a right to be protected even when they are accused or suspected of committing a crime. The basic principles of justice apply to adults and children alike. But children face specific obstacles during criminal proceedings, such as a lack of understandable information about their rights, limited legal support and poor treatment. The report looks at the practical implementation of Directive (EU) 2016/800 on procedural safeguards for children who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings in nine Member States – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Malta, Poland and Portugal.
8
June
2022
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2022 reviews major developments in the field in 2021, identifying both achievements and areas of concern. It also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments, including a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions.
8
June
2022
This focus looks at the impact of the pandemic on social rights. It examines the measures in national recovery and resilience plans that address the social vulnerabilities among a variety of population groups in the EU, including women, children and young people in situations of vulnerability, people with disabilities, older people, Roma and people in precarious working conditions.
8
June
2022
All language versions now available
14 September 2022
The year 2021 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2022 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered, and a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions.
7
April
2022
German version now available
19 January 2024
Children are full-fledged holders of rights. They are beneficiaries of all human and fundamental rights and subjects of special regulations, given their specific characteristics. This handbook aims to illustrate how European law and case law accommodate the specific interests and needs of children. It also considers the importance of parents and guardians or other legal representatives and makes reference, where appropriate, to situations in which rights and responsibilities are most prominently vested in children’s carers. It is a point of reference on both European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) law related to these subjects, explaining how each issue is regulated under EU law, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as well as under the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter and other CoE instruments.
18
November
2021
This report examines the EU’s main criminal law instrument in the field of counter-terrorism, Directive (EU) 2017/541. Specifically, it considers how the directive engages issues of fundamental rights, affecting individuals, groups and society as a whole.
10
June
2021
The year 2020 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2021 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered, and a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions.
10
June
2021
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2021 reviews major developments in the field in 2020, identifying both achievements and areas of concern. It also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments, including a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions. This year’s focus chapter explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fundamental rights. The remaining chapters cover: the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; equality and non-discrimination; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance; Roma equality and inclusion; asylum, borders and migration; information society, privacy and data protection; rights of the child; access to justice; and the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
10
June
2021
This focus looks at COVID-19’s impact on fundamental rights. It underscores that a human rights-based approach to tackling the pandemic requires balanced measures that are based on law, necessary, temporary and proportional. It also requires addressing the pandemic’s socio-economic impact, protecting the vulnerable and fighting racism.
31
March
2021
This report looks at the practical implementation of the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings, and related rights, in 9 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal). Article 48 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights guarantees the presumption of innocence – but, as FRA’s research underscores, it can be undermined in many ways.
Crime can touch any of us – as witnesses or as victims. But no matter who you are, we all have rights when it comes to justice. These three short clips show some aspects of working together for justice, rights of victims of crime and rights of witnesses of crime.
We don’t all experience crime in the same way, and we might deal with it differently. But it’s vital – as victims or witnesses – that our rights are guaranteed, because access to justice is our fundamental right. Watch FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty speaking on the Fundamental Rights Survey report on crime, safety and victims’ rights.
Crime can touch any of us – as witnesses or as victims. But no matter who you are, we all have rights when it comes to justice. It is for this reason that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights asked 35,000 people across Europe about their experiences of crime in its Fundamental Rights Survey, and the results are in.
This video was produced for the launch of the Fundamental Rights Survey in June 2020 and gives an overview of the main results.
What are the next steps in the digitalisation of justice and of access to justice? This impulse video statement by FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty was recorded for the online conference “Access to Justice in the Digital Age”. The conference takes place on 16 July and is organised by the German Federal Ministry for Justice and Consumer Protection during the German Council Presidency.
Check out the EU's modern human rights catalogue and its chapter about Justice.
In the latest edition of his video blog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty speaks about the human rights challenges, but also the opportunities, that come along with the development of artificial intelligence technology.
This handbook provides an overview of key aspects of access to justice in Europe.
Opening Video for FRA event - From wrongs to rights: ending severe labour exploitation.
Fundamental Rights Report 2019: In some Member States access to justice faces challenges. Judicial independence continues to cause
concerns. Victims’ procedural rights need more effective implementation. Gaps in preventing
violence against women and domestic violence remain.
The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, took part in a meeting of the European Parliament Employment Committee on 8 November.
This infographic looks at ways to improve the implementation of various EU criminal justice laws on the right to information, interpretation and translation that apply to Member States to guarantee common EU-wide minimum standards for rights protection.
This infographic looks at improving the implementation of the various EU criminal justice laws that apply to cross-border transfers, pre- and post- trial.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the European Court of Human Rights launched a practical handbook on European law relating to access to justice at the Fundamental Rights Forum on 22 June 2016.
Children should always be supported by a professional support person when they are involved in judicial proceedings, such as being at court. This could be, for example, a social worker or a legal counsellor.
Children should always be supported by a professional support person when they are involved in judicial proceedings, such as being at court. This could be, for example, a social worker or a legal counsellor.
During judicial proceedings, such as being at court, children should always be told what is going on. The information should be presented in a child-friendly and understandable way.
A factsheet on the European Arrest Warrant and fundamental rights is now available. The Registry of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and FRA prepared and published the factsheet.
On 11 and 12 June, FRA took participated in a plenary meeting of the European Judicial Network. Over 100 judges and prosecutors from the EU Member States and some non-EU countries attended the meeting.
The Council of Europe held a National Preventative Mechanisms Forum on 4 and 5 June in Strasbourg. FRA presented its Criminal Detention Database. It also participated in discussions on the detention of vulnerable people and migrants.
FRA presented its report on greenwashing to the Council of Europe’s Committee on Social Affairs, Health, and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly.
FRA gave a plenary address during the first European Legal Tech Summit. The summit took place on 23 May in Vienna.
FRA took part in an expert meeting on procedural rights for people in detention. EuroPris and the European Commission held the meeting in Brussels on 10 April.
FRA joined a workshop for judges and prosecutors organised by the European Judicial Network.
Criminals seeking to flee to other countries can be brought to justice through the European Arrest Warrant. But there are practical challenges to ensuring their rights are fully respected, finds the latest EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) report. It identifies ways to ensure people are treated fairly, informed and understand proceedings, and have legal assistance.
On 13 March, a group of experts working on children and justice met at the Agency for a mutual exchange on current priorities and upcoming activities.
FRA took part in the annual meeting of the Working Group on Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics. FRA gave a presentation at the meeting.
Green? Carbon neutral? Many of these claims are not evidence-based. Companies use them to persuade people to buy products or services that may not be sustainable. Such greenwashing practices may deceive consumers and harm the environment. A new report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) considers what the EU and countries should do to combat greenwashing and support consumers in making informed and environmentally friendly choices.
From 5 to 8 December 2023, FRA participated in the Grand Final of the Themis competition – moot court for judicial trainees organized by the European Judicial Training Network.
FRA took part in a Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU seminar on women and justice.
FRA held a webinar with CEPOL for law enforcement officers and prosecutors when in contact with children who are suspected or accused of crime.
FRA took part in the Annual Event of the EU Innovation Hub for Internal Security and a meeting of its Steering Group.
On 19 September, FRA delivered a presentation on fundamental rights for Europol’s guest officers who will be deployed in Cyprus, Greece, Romania, and Slovakia.
FRA gave a presentation on 20 June on fundamental rights for Europol’s guest officers who will be deployed in Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Lithuania.
The impact of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, rising child poverty, widespread hate and protecting rights in the face of technological change are just some of the pressing human rights issues in FRA’s 2023 Fundamental Rights Report. With a focus section on the impact of the aggression within the EU, the report examines the support and solidarity provided by governments, local authorities and society. It suggests how EU countries can better ensure effective protection, especially for women who fled the conflict and need targeted support.
FRA held a consultation webinar on the upcoming report on how human rights defenders at risk in non-EU countries can enter and stay in the EU.
Victims of crime across the EU still do not receive adequate support or protection, finds a new report of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Measures that could help respect victims’ rights are lacking or not well used. On European Day for Victims of Crime, FRA calls on EU countries to better protect victims, improve victim support and facilitate crime reporting.
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The European Judicial Training Network will hold a seminar at FRA from 18 to 19 April on applying the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Representatives from the Council of Europe, the European Commission and partner countries will meet on 19 March. They will launch their joint initiative on supporting Member States to make judicial proceedings more child-friendly across Europe nationally and locally.
The new FRA Director, Sirpa Rautio, will take part in the meeting of Justice Ministers on 5 March. The FRA Director will join a session on the Council’s Conclusions on the European Commission’s annual report on the application of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter. The conclusions are expected to be adopted at the meeting.

Victim Support Europe will host an event to mark European Day for Victims of Crime. The ‘Leave no one behind: Victims’ Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals’ symposium aims to spotlight the connection between victims' rights and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On 21 November, FRA will welcome members from the École Nationale de la Magistrature (ENM), the French national school for the judiciary.
The agency will speak at the European Economic & Social Committee’s annual conference on fundamental rights and the rule of law. The event will look at the civil society's take on the European Commission’s 2023 Rule of Law report.
The European Coalition for Corporate Justice will hold a debate on 11 October on unpacking the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive.
On 14 July, FRA will welcome members of the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) from Munich. ELSA is an international association of law students and young lawyers.
On 12 June, FRA attends a mid-term progress review of the ‘Protecting victims of crime’ project.
On 15 June, FRA will deliver a keynote speech at a symposium organised by the regional group of the German Association of Youth Court Assistants.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) invited FRA to present how to use the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter in litigating judicial independence and related issues. This includes the use of FRA tools and materials.
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FRA will take part in a series of seminars organised by the Council of Europe introducing their HELP course on procedural rights for lawyers in Bulgaria and Greece.
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FRA’s Scientific Committee will hold an academic conference on 1 June in Lodz.
An ad hoc meeting of the EU Victims’ Rights Platform will take place on 23 May. FRA will join the meeting online.
FRA will speak during a roundtable event on human rights and the environment in international development financing.
FRA will take part in the EU Victims’ Rights Platform meeting. The event will take place on 17 April in Brussels.
FRA will participate in the annual conference of European Criminal Law Academic Network (ECLAN).
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Over two days, judges, prosecutors and court staff will be at FRA for a training seminar focusing on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
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On 13-14 March, FRA will meet the protecting victims of crime project team in Bucharest.