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
6
June
2018
The year 2017 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of rights protection. The European Pillar of Social Rights marked an important move towards a more ‘social Europe’. But, as experiences with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights underscore, agreement on a text is merely a first step. Even in its eighth year as the EU's binding bill of rights, the Charter's potential was not fully exploited, highlighting the need to more actively promote its use.
6
June
2018
The year 2017 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2018 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern.
17
May
2018
Civil society organisations in the European Union play a crucial role in promoting fundamental
rights, but it has become harder for them do so – due to both legal and practical restrictions.
This summary outlines the main
findings and FRA’s opinions on the different
types and patterns of challenges faced by civil society
organisations across the EU,
9
May
2018
With terrorism, cyber-attacks and sophisticated cross-border criminal networks posing growing threats, the work of intelligence services has become more urgent, complex and international. Such work can strongly interfere with fundamental rights, especially privacy and data protection. While continuous technological advances potentially exacerbate the threat of such interference, effective oversight and remedies can curb the potential for abuse.
25
April
2018
This report outlines Member States’ approaches to age requirements and limits
regarding child participation in judicial proceedings; procedural safeguards for, and rights of, children involved in criminal
proceedings; as well as issues related to depriving children of their liberty.
25
April
2018
The right to access justice and all other relevant procedural rights are not just rights in themselves; they also protect against violations of every other right. Respect for children’s rights in the area of justice is therefore essential. International treaties, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, European Union (EU) secondary law, and national legislation provide a number of relevant rights.
3
January
2018
Inside this book you will read about the justice system and the problems in justice for children and how to fix the problems.
7
July
2017
Various proposals on EU-level information systems in the areas of borders and security mention interoperability, aiming to provide fast and easy access to information about third-country nationals.
30
May
2017
Diverse efforts at both EU and national levels sought to bolster fundamental rights protection in 2016, while some measures threatened to undermine such protection.
30
May
2017
Diverse efforts at both EU and national levels sought to bolster fundamental rights protection in 2016, while some measures threatened to undermine such protection.
22
February
2017
Around 2.5 million children participate in judicial proceedings across the European Union (EU)
every year, affected by parental divorce or as victims of, or witnesses to, crime. Although their
effective participation in such proceedings is vital for improving the operation of justice, the
treatment of children in justice systems remains a concern.
22
February
2017
Around 2.5 million children participate in judicial proceedings across the European Union (EU) every year, affected by parental divorce or as victims of, or witnesses to, crime. Although their effective participation in such proceedings is vital for improving the operation of justice, the treatment of children in justice systems remains a concern. FRA investigated to what extent children’s rights to be heard, to be informed, to be protected, and to non-discrimination are fulfilled in practice.
10
November
2016
EU Member States have largely implemented, and started applying, three instruments on transferring prison sentences, probation measures and alternative sanctions, as well as pre-trial supervision measures, to other Member States. This report provides an overview of their first experiences with these measures, highlighting both best practices and shortcomings.
10
November
2016
Protecting the human rights of individuals subject to criminal proceedings is an essential element of the rule of law. Persons who are suspected or accused of crimes in countries other than their own are particularly vulnerable, making appropriate procedural safeguards especially crucial. This report reviews Member States’ legal frameworks, policies and practices regarding the important rights provided in these directives, including with respect to individuals whose needs may require additional attention, such as persons with disabilities and children.
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.
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.
30
May
2016
The European Union (EU) and its Member States introduced and pursued numerous initiatives to safeguard and strengthen
fundamental rights in 2015. Some of these efforts produced important progress; others fell short of their aims. Meanwhile,
various global developments brought new – and exacerbated existing – challenges.
On 6 April, FRA joined the informal videoconference of EU Ministers of Justice to discuss crisis coordination during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 31 March, FRA took part in a meeting of the Research Advisory Group on mapping child protection data systems across EU Member States.
FRA outlined the main findings from its facial recognition technology paper during a European Parliament hearing in Brussels on 20 February.
Crimes violate people’s fundamental rights. Therefore, victims have a right to criminal justice. European Day for Victims of Crime, on 22 February, offers the chance to examine the protection Member States offer to safeguard victims’ rights.
The European Commission held a meeting on the rule of law on 6 February in Brussels.
Europol held a meeting to on 24 January in the Hague boost internal security innovation.
A book launch looking at FRA’s impact took place at the European Commission on 22 January in Brussels.
On 11 December in Brussels, FRA presented its work in the area of the European arrest warrant, mutual trust and criminal detention.
This year FRA looks forward to a new decade for fundamental human rights across Europe, as the new European Parliament and Commission hit the ground running with a raft of new strategies promoting and protecting rights.
Overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions and limited time outside cells in prisons violate detainees’ rights and jeopardise rehabilitation, finds a new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report. The findings and supporting database will help judges and lawyers assess shortcomings in prison conditions when deciding on cross-border cases.
The handbook on European non-discrimination law examines law stemming from the complementary systems of the EU non-discrimination directives and the European Convention on Human Rights, drawing on them interchangeably to the extent that they overlap, while highlighting differences where these exist.
FRA’s guidance on Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in law and policymaking at national level is now also available in Swedish.
On 6 November, FRA contributed to a High Level Experts’ Meeting, organised by the European Commission on ‘What future for victims’ rights?’
Everyone wants a fair trial when it comes to judicial proceedings. But in practice shortcomings sometimes fail to deliver on the rights of victims and defendants. European Day of Justice is a time to reflect on challenges to ensure Europe offers fair justice for all.
FRA took part in a regional policy meeting of about 70 experts from EU Member States and international organisations on rights of victims of violent crime suffered in immigration and pre-trial detention.
Poor information and inadequate access to legal assistance often prevent defendants in criminal proceedings from full access to justice, as FRA latest report reveals. It points to where Member States should improve information flows and legal representation to uphold defendants’ rights.
On 6 September in Brussels, FRA presented its work in the area of the European arrest warrant, mutual trust and criminal detention to the Council of the EU’s working party on criminal cooperation (COPEN).
Many people across the EU risk being left behind, as growing intolerance and attacks on people’s fundamental rights continue to erode the considerable progress achieved to date, finds FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2019.
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.
The European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) will host a session during EU Regions Week to discuss how best to safeguard the rights of mobile EU citizens in post-pandemic times.
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FRA will present its new report on business and human rights during a workshop at conference entitled ‘Global Supply Chains, Global Responsibility’
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On 8-9 October, FRA will present an overview of its activities at the Eurostat Working Group meeting on Statistics on Crime and Criminal Justice.
The regular study visit of judges and prosecutors to FRA, organised by the European Judicial Training Network, takes place this time as a virtual meeting.
FRA’s Director will focus on child rights in emergency situations and what can we learn from COVID-19 in his address to the 13th European Forum on the rights of the child on 30 September.
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FRA will chair a session on business and human rights during this year’s European Law Institute’s conference.
On 27 July, FRA will take part online in the first meeting of the European Economic and Social Committee’s study group on the Victims’ Rights Strategy.
On 22 July, FRA is going to publish ‘Your rights matter: Security concerns and experiences’ paper which looks at people’s security concerns and their worries about experiencing certain crimes.
On 9 July, FRA’s Director will participate in a virtual meeting of the Heads of EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies.
On 6 July, the FRA Director will take part in the informal meeting of EU Justice Ministers.
FRA will exchange views with the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee on establishing an EU Mechanism on democracy, the Rule of Law and fundamental rights.
On 29 June, FRA will take part in the European preparatory meeting for the 2021 World Congress on Justice with Children.
FRA will take part in a workshop to raise awareness on discriminatory and unlawful profiling.
On 4 June, FRA will discuss the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the justice system and on detainees with EU Justice Ministers.
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In order to inform its strategy on the effective implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to be adopted later this year, the European Commission launched four targeted consultations with key actors in the Charter’s enforcement chain:
On 16 March, FRA will be a panellist at an event on internal and external rule of law challenges for the European Union.
The EU Justice Commissioner, Didier Reynders, will visit FRA on 21 February, for the first time.
FRA will speak at a judicial independence workshop in Florence on 14 February.
On 5 February, civil law students from Utrecht’s Molengraaff Dispuut association will visit FRA.