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
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.
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.
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.
13
June
2019
New language versions: FI, MT, PT, CS, LV, LT, SK, SL, SV, ET
03 November 2020
Children deprived of parental care found in another EU Member State other than their own aims to strengthen the response of all relevant actors for child protection. The protection of those girls and boys is paramount and an obligation for EU Member States, derived from the international and European legal framework. The guide includes a focus on child victims of trafficking and children at risk, implementing an action set forth in the 2017 Communication stepping up EU action against trafficking in human beings, and takes into account identified patterns, including with respect to the gender specificity of the crime.
11
June
2019
Algorithms used in machine learning systems and artificial intelligence (AI) can only be as good as the data used for their development. High quality data are essential for high quality algorithms. Yet, the call for high quality data in discussions around AI often remains without any further specifications and guidance as to what this actually means.
6
June
2019
How much progress can we expect in a decade? Various rights-related instruments had been in place for 10 years in 2018, prompting both sobering and encouraging reflection on this question.
6
June
2019
The year 2018 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2019 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.
25
April
2019
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.
25
April
2019
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.
25
April
2019
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.
20
February
2019
This Opinion aims to inform the European Parliament’s position on the legislative proposal for a Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online, presented by the European Commission on 12 September 2018.
5
December
2018
Last versions available are EL and NL
11 March 2021
This guide explains what profiling is, the legal frameworks that regulate it, and why conducting profiling lawfully is both necessary to comply with fundamental rights and crucial for effective policing and border management. The guide also provides practical guidance on how to avoid unlawful profiling in police and border management operations.
26
October
2018
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights’ 2018 Fundamental Rights Forum
brought together more than 700 human rights champions at a time of
widening social divisions and increasingly polarised politics across
Europe.
5
September
2018
Severe labour exploitation is widespread across the European Union. While workplace inspections can help counter this phenomenon, they need to be strengthened to do so effectively. Based on interviews and focus group discussions with almost 240 exploited workers active in diverse economic sectors, this report provides important evidence on how unscrupulous employers manipulate and undermine inspections, and on what can be done to counteract such efforts.
6
September
2018
Workers are being severely exploited for their labour across the EU, and
inspections are not effective at stopping this reality. Based on interviews with
almost 240 workers – including non-EU citizens who came to the EU and
EU nationals who moved to another EU country to work – a new FRA report
outlines the problem and identifies ways to bolster inspections.
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.
Faced with COVID-19, people are increasingly spending their time in the digital world. But as in the real world, there are dangers lurking out there. Many fall victim to fraudsters and online hate. To mark European Day of Justice on 25 October, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) urges the EU and Member States to step up the protection of victims online.
The FRA Director participated in the EU-Western Balkans Ministerial Forum on Justice and Home Affairs on 22 October.
Holding big business responsible for its human rights violations is difficult and many victims never get justice, finds a new report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). This is due to the complexity of multinational corporations spanning different countries with networks of subsidiaries and supply chains. The report identifies practical, procedural and financial barriers the EU and its Member States should eliminate to ensure victims of such violations have access to effective remedies.
The Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child held a virtual plenary session on September 17.
Most Europeans are worried about their data and bank details being misused by criminals and fraudsters. Two in five Europeans have been harassed face-to-face and every fifth is very worried of experiencing a terrorist attack. These findings come from the Fundamental Rights Survey, carried out by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in the European Union, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom in 2019. The results feed into the European Commission’s Security Union Strategy.
On 9 July, FRA Director exchanged views with Heads of the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies about the impact of COVID-19 on fundamental rights and on FRA’s activities.
On 26 June, FRA joined the first exchange of views of the Council of Europe’s Child Rights Steering Committee.
The OECD held its annual Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct on 17 June.
FRA participated in a CEPOL webinar to introduce the challenges and principles linked to the use of profiling by law enforcement officers.
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.
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FRA’s Director will participate in the high-level online conference ‘For a people-centred e-justice’. The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of Europe hosts the event on 26 and 27 April.
FRA will meet partners online from its FRANET research network to implement the second part of its project on procedural safeguards for children in criminal proceedings. The focus will be on interviewing children to capture their experiences and perspectives in criminal proceedings. FRANET partners from seven EU Member States – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Italy, Poland and Portugal – will attend.
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FRA will give a presentation at the online conference ‘Three Decades of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics in Europe: Methods, Trends and the Impact on Policy Making’.
FRA will join an ad hoc meeting on 17 March on the digitalisation of justice. It will be the first of a series of thematic ad hoc meetings under the umbrella of the Victims’ Rights Platform in 2021 - one of the flagship initiatives of the EU’s Victims’ Rights Strategy.
On 17 March, FRA will present selected findings from its surveys during the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS) General Assembly and Annual Conference.
On 11 March, FRA will give a virtual lecture about the EU justice system and its legal bodies to the EU Delegation to Turkmenistan. FRA will give an overview on the EU policy system, the Agency’s work and how it protects human rights in the EU.
FRA will give a presentation during a meeting on victims’ participation in criminal proceedings and access to justice. FRA will draw on its recently-published results from the Fundamental Rights Survey, as well as other FRA research.
The FRA Director will exchange views with EU Ministers of Justice during their informal videoconference on 11 March.
FRA will take part in a discussion on the application of the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant. The discussions form part of a FairTrials webinar on 18 February.
Too often victims of crime are denied their rights. They are left voiceless and unsupported. Young people and minorities particularly suffer, as FRA will reveal during a debate on 19 February.
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FRA will hold an online inception meeting to mark the start of its research into procedural safeguards for children suspected and accused of crime. The meeting on will gather partners from FRA’s research network from nine EU Member States – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Malta, Poland and Portugal – covered by the research.
The European Parliament is convening a hearing on the consequences and lessons from the COVID-19 crisis for people living in residential institutions. It will focus on the social and human rights perspective.
FRA’s Director will join the informal meeting of EU Justice Ministers on 29 January. He will contribute to discussions on the way forward for protecting vulnerable adults in Europe.
FRA will join an online seminar on 19 January organised by the Open Society Justice Initiative. During the webinar, researchers will present findings from a comparative evaluation of police reforms in the UK and US.
FRA will present its plans to update its Criminal Detention database during a meeting of the Council Working Party on Cooperation in Criminal Matters on 26 October.