Access to justice
For the FRA, access to justice is vital because it is a core fundamental right. On the other hand, it is a right which, according to the FRA research, has proven problematic throughout the EU:
- awareness of this right is low,
- knowledge of mechanisms is poor and,
- faith in institutions that are to provide justice is far from solid.
Access to justice is one of the rights in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which also has a significant bearing on many of the other fundamental rights. It is an important aspect of actually realising rights: it enables those who perceive their rights as having been violated to have their case heard in one way or another. Access to justice often means having a case heard in a court of law; however, it can also be achieved through various other mechanisms, such as national human rights institutions, equality bodies and ombudsperson institutions such as the European Ombudsman.
If access to justice is meant to be truly effective, it must also be affordable and function swiftly. The FRA seeks to improve access to justice by providing evidence-based advice on removing existing obstacles and incentives for improving the situation. On top of this, the FRA presents examples of good practices to serve as a basis for future policy improvements.
The FRA carries out a series of research projects related to access to justice:
- accessing efficient and independent justice – a legal and sociological analysis
- awareness of rights and redress mechanisms addressing minorities based on EU-MIDIS: the FRA European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey;
- national human rights institutions;
- data protection authorities;
- equality bodies;
- asylum seekers, perception of access to justice;
- extent to which persons with mental health problems maintain their legal capacity - for instance in accessing justice.
FRA takes part in think-tank discussions on EU mechanism to monitor rule of law and justice in Member StatesDate: 28 June 2012
Location: The Hague
Location: The Hague
FRA meeting on victim support services in the EU: an overview and assessment of victims’ rights in practiceDate: 10 - 11 November 2011
Today, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is launching its report Access to justice in Europe: an overview of challenges and opportunities. The report will be launched in Budapest at the conference ‘Protecting victims in the EU: the road ahead', hosted by the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, with the support of the FRA. The report provides a comparative analysis of access to justice across the EU Member States and finds that there are many obstacles that make it difficult for victims to enforce their rights. This report relates mainly to civil and administrative procedures available to victims of discrimination. Although its focus is the area of non-discrimination law, its findings are generally applicable to civil and administrative procedures as a whole.
Country thematic studies: These national thematic studies constitute the background information drawn on by the FRA in order to compile its comparative report on ‘Access to justice in Europe: an overview of challenges and opportunities'
This report provides an EU-wide comparative analysis of the effectiveness of access to justice, across the EU Member States. Launched on 23 March at the conference "Protecting victims in the EU: the road ahead" hosted in Budapest by the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the EU with the support of the FRA, the report emphasises obstacles making it difficult for victims to enforce their rights.