21 June 2019

Despite positive developments, hurdles to justice remain

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.

Judicial independence continues to cause concerns

  • Europeans rank respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law as EU’s primary asset
  • Challenges to judicial independence continue to grow, underlining the need for effective coordination of efforts in this area in the EU and beyond
  • Citizens and companies see government and political interference as the main reasons for the lack of independence of courts and judges

Advancing victims’ rights

  • EU law sets minimum victims’ rights standards but shortcomings remain
  • 2 out of 3 Member States adopted legislation to strengthen application of the Victims’ Rights Directive
  • This includes more victim-friendly initiatives such as establishing separate waiting areas or better financial compensation for victims
  • Some Member States also introduced or further strengthened victims’ rights awareness training for practitioners

Violence against women

  • 20 EU Member States have ratified the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention to prevent and combat violence against women
  • The EU continued ratifying the convention
  • But, opposition remains at a political level and from national courts who are sometimes more lenient in their sentencing