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
    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.
  • Page
    The Criminal Detention Database 2015-2022 combines in one place information on detention conditions in all 27 EU Member States as well as the United Kingdom.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    25
    June
    2019
    This report is the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s fourth on the topic of severe labour exploitation. Based on interviews with 237 exploited workers, it paints a bleak picture of severe exploitation and abuse. The workers include both people who came to the EU, and EU nationals who moved to another EU country. They were active in diverse sectors, and their legal status also varied.
Products
19
February
2021
This is the second main report from FRA’s Fundamental Rights Survey, which collected data from 35,000 people on a range of issues. This report focuses on respondents’ experiences as victims of selected types of crime, including violence, harassment, and property crime. The report also examines how often these crimes are reported to the police, and presents further details relating to harassment and violence, such as the perpetrators and where the incidents took place.
6
October
2020
Business activity affects not just customers, employees, and contractors along supply chains, but often entire communities and the environment. This makes it vital that every business complies with human rights. This comparative report looks at the realities victims face when they seek redress for business-related human rights abuses. It presents the findings of fieldwork research on the views of professionals regarding the different ways people can pursue complaints. The findings highlight that obstacles to achieving justice are often multi-layered.
29
July
2020
As we enter the second half of 2020, the constraints on our daily lives brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic have become a firm reality. New local lockdowns and the reintroduction of restrictive measures prompted by fresh outbreaks of the virus are a stark reminder that COVID-19 continues to shape our lives – and our enjoyment of fundamental rights – in profound ways. There is compelling evidence of how the pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges in our societies. This FRA Bulletin outlines some of the measures EU Member States adopted to safely reopen their societies and economies while continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It highlights the impact these measures may have on civil, political and socioeconomic rights.
This video was produced for the launch of the Fundamental Rights Survey in June 2020 and gives an overview of the main results.
22
July
2020
This paper presents people’s concerns and experiences relating to security. It covers worry about crime, including terrorism and online fraud; experience of online fraud; experience of cyberharassment; and concern about illegal access to data.
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.
The EU Return Directive introduced an important fundamental rights safeguard for third-country nationals ordered to leave the EU because they do not or no longer fulfil the conditions for entry and/or stay. According to the Directive, Member States must provide for an effective forced-return monitoring system.
11
June
2020
Now available in Macedonian and Serbian
13 November 2020
The year 2019 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020 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. In so doing, it provides a compact but informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting the EU and its Member States.
11
June
2020
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020 reviews major developments in the field in 2019, 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 how to unlock the full potential of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
28
May
2020
The Coronavirus pandemic continues to interrupt everyday life in the EU in unprecedented ways. But the way it affects our societies is shifting. As governments gradually lift some of the measures put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, new fundamental rights concerns arise: how to ensure that the rights to life and health are upheld as daily life transitions to a ‘new normal’. This Bulletin looks at declarations of states of emergency, or equivalent, and how they came under scrutiny. It considers the impact on fundamental rights in important areas of daily life, and includes a thematic focus on the processing of users’ data to help contain COVID-19, particularly by contact-tracing apps. It covers the period 21 March – 30 April 2020.
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.
The Criminal Detention Database 2015-2022 combines in one place information on detention conditions in all 27 EU Member States as well as the United Kingdom.
11
December
2019
This report looks at five core aspects of detention conditions in EU Member States: the size of cells; the amount of time detainees can spend outside of these cells, including outdoors; sanitary conditions; access to healthcare; and whether detainees are protected from violence. For each of these aspects of detention conditions, the report first summarises the minimum standards at international and European levels. It then looks at how these standards are translated into national laws and other rules of the EU Member States.
2
December
2019
Growing global efforts to encourage responsible business conduct that respects human rights include steps to ensure access to effective remedies when breaches occur. In 2017, the European Commission asked the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to collect evidence on such access in the EU Member States, with the ultimate goal of identifying the EU actions most needed in this field. FRA’s resulting research involved two phases: desk research on different incidents of abuse; and interview-based fieldwork on professionals’ views on the availability and effectiveness of different complaint avenues.
27
November
2019
French and German versions now available
01 March 2022
Facial recognition technology (FRT) makes it possible to compare digital facial images to determine whether they are of the same person. Comparing footage obtained from video cameras (CCTV) with images in databases is referred to as ‘live facial recognition technology’. Examples of national law enforcement authorities in the EU using such technology are sparse – but several are testing its potential. This paper therefore looks at the fundamental rights implications of relying on live FRT, focusing on its use for law enforcement and border-management purposes.
27
September
2019
Protecting the rights of anyone suspected or accused of a crime is an essential element of the rule of law. Courts, prosecutors and police officers need certain powers to enforce the law – but trust in the outcomes of their efforts will quickly erode without effective safeguards. Such safeguards take on various forms, and include the right to certain information and to a lawyer.
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.
The freedom to conduct a business, one of the lesser-known rights of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, can help boost growth and jobs across the EU.
Children need to be heard and be involved in all issues that concern them. This includes the justice system.
To mark the European Day for Victims of Crime on 22 February, FRA has created this infographic based on the the report: Victims of crime in the EU: the extent and nature of support for victims, published in January, 2015.
The Crime, safety and victims' rights – Summary presents the main insights from FRA’s second main report from its Fundamental Rights Survey.
FRA presented its online database of criminal detention conditions in the EU to judges and prosecutors.
FRA gave a presentation at the annual conference of the ‘Migration Law Network’, the largest professional hub of German-speaking migration lawyers and academics.
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, laws and policies to counter the threat of terrorism can entail, directly or indirectly, serious limitations to fundamental rights and freedoms, finds a new report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Drawn from expert insight, it suggests how counter terrorism work can benefit from greater legal clarity, practical guidance and stronger safeguards.
FRA provided fundamental rights input during a professional development workshop on the detention of applicants for international protection, organised by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
FRA hosted three stakeholder meetings from 22 to 23 September in relation to fair policing.
On 24 August, FRA and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) signed a new Working Arrangement to further strengthen the good cooperation between the two agencies.
On 21 July 2021, FRA took part in an event introducing new study on the role of internet technologies in gender-based violence in Bulgaria. The study is part of the project “After the Storm: How to restore policy dialogue and supportive discourse against gender-based violence online in Bulgaria”
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed gaps in respecting the fundamental rights to health, education, employment and social protection across society. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2021 plots the pandemic’s wide-ranging impact on rights and suggests how best to address increasing inequalities and threats to societal cohesion.
FRA presented its Fundamental Rights Charter resources and tools during a judicial training conference. It also showcased its new Charter e-guidance, an e-learning tool for judges on the Charter’s application. The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU hosted the ‘Modernising EU justice systems by boosting training of justice professionals’ conference.
The EU-funded PANELFIT H2020 project on AI for Crime Prediction and Prevention held a mutual learning encounter on 19 April. FRA joined participants at the event. It also included academic researchers and data protection experts.
Presumption of innocence is a core right in criminal justice. Yet, prejudice, bias and practices like presenting defendants in handcuffs undermine this right in many European countries, finds the latest report of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). FRA calls on EU countries to respect the rights of all defendants, regardless of their background.
Every year across Europe, millions of Europeans are victims of consumer fraud. They are cheated or misled about their purchases, or they experience payment card fraud. People with disabilities are more likely to fall victim to fraud than other groups. These are some of the findings of the Fundamental Rights Agency’s (FRA) recent survey into people’s experiences of crime. On the World Consumer Rights Day, FRA calls on EU countries to step up their efforts to protect consumers.
More than one in four Europeans were victims of harassment and 22 million were physically attacked in one year. But crime victims typically do not report their experiences. They often have difficulties accessing their rights and may feel voiceless. These are the results of the first-ever EU-wide survey on the general population’s experience of crime, carried out by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The results reveal how targeted measures can help governments support victims and make it easier to report crime and receive justice.
FRA’s Fundamentally Right podcast series launched on 19 January. The final episode, Law: a bird's eye view, with FRA's Gabriel Toggenburg, is now out.
On 14 January, FRA held an online meeting with juvenile justice experts to consult on a new FRA project covering procedural safeguards for children who are suspects or accused in criminal proceedings. The project will provide evidence-based advice to EU institutions and Member States on the implementation of the EU’s Procedural Safeguards Directive.
FRA hosted a webinar on business and human rights for the agency’s National Liaison Officers (NLOs) and government experts.
On 3 November, the FRA Director met Ambassador Nuno Brito virtually, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the EU, to discuss FRA’s support to the upcoming Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU.
FRA discussed its business and human rights report with Members of the European Parliament on 27 October.
On 13 December, FRA will speak at a webinar on ‘Child-friendly justice: Do words matter’.
The OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) will hold a workshop in Vienna on 15 November.
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The European Commission, in cooperation with FRA, is holding a national dialogue on the rule of law in Germany.
The study visit group of the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) will come to FRA on 10 October.
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Between 22-24 September 2022, FRA will take part in the Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology in Malaga, Spain.
On 6 July, FRA will meet a group of 19 academic staff from the German Federal Constitutional Court.
On 27 June, FRA’s Director will join the 20 year anniversary celebrations of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) in Valetta.
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FRA will present fresh findings from its new report on safeguards for children in criminal proceedings during the international ‘Humanising justice for all children’ conference.
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FRA will present findings from its report on presumption of innocence and related rights at a two-day conference on the state of criminal justice in the EU.
On 29 March, the European Law Institute (ELI) will run a webinar on access to justice, effective remedies, and business and human rights.
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FRA will present its capacity-building resources during the network conference of the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) Programme.
On 14 December, experts from the European Commission, academia and civil society organisations will discuss ways of improving criminal proceedings for children who are in conflict with the law
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FRA and the Council of Europe will gather experts to support the publication of a joint handbook on European law relating to cybercrime and fundamental rights.
On 4 November, FRA will take part in an online conference on civil society perspectives on the European Rule of Law mechanism.
The regular European Judicial Training Network study visit of judges and prosecutors to FRA will take place as a virtual visit on 4 October.
On 17 September, FRA will speak during an expert meeting on fundamental rights in security-related legislation.
The FRA Director will attend the first informal meeting on 16 July of justice ministers under the new Slovenian Presidency.
FRA will join an online panel discussion on 1 July on good practices for a child-friendly court. The panel aims to discuss good models of multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches in criminal proceedings that can support child participation, protect their best interests, and improve the quality of professional interventions through individual assessments.
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FRA will participate in the annual meeting of the Eurostat Working Group on Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics. The 5-6 May meeting brings together national statistical institutes, different European Commission Directorates-General and EU agencies.