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Justice                                                                                                  an overview of ch...
This report addresses matters related to the right to an effective remedy and to a fair     trial (Article 47) falling und...
Access to justice in Europe:an overview of challenges         and opportunities                           
ForewordThepossibilityofenforcingarightiscentraltomakingfundamentalrightsareality.Accesstojusticeisnot...
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contentsForEword ...........................................................................................................
Figures and tables      Table1:     EUMemberStatesaspartiestotheUNConventions...................................
List of abbreviationscAt        ConventionagainstTortureandOtherCruel,InhumanorDegrading           Treatmentor...
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Executive summaryThisreportprovidesanEU-widecomparativeanalysis       operateas‘subsidiary’meansofobtainingre...
AccesstojusticeinEurope:anoverviewofchallengesandopportunities              Therearetwomainavenuesthroughw...
opinionsTheEuropeanUnionAgencyforFundamentalRightshasformulatedthefollowingopinionsbasedonthe              ...
AccesstojusticeinEurope:anoverviewofchallengesandopportunities              MemberStatesshouldensurethattim...
1	                      	       Access	to	justice	–		       Situating	the	concept	in	the	EU                               ...
AccesstojusticeinEurope:anoverviewofchallengesandopportunities              • developingindicatorsforthepro...
Accesstojustice–SituatingtheconceptintheEU                                                                      ...
AccesstojusticeinEurope:anoverviewofchallengesandopportunities              Figure 1: Access to justice and rela...
Accesstojustice–SituatingtheconceptintheEU                                                                      ...
AccesstojusticeinEurope:anoverviewofchallengesandopportunities              InstitutionsoftheCommunity.”32In...
Access To Justice
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  1. 1. Justice an overview of challenges access to justice in europe: and opportunities A ccess to j u st i ce i n E u ro p e : a n ove r v i ew of c h a l l e n g es a n d o p p o r t u n i t i es
  2. 2. This report addresses matters related to the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial (Article 47) falling under Chapter VI ‘Justice’ of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Europe Direct is a service to help you find answers to your questions about the European Union new freephone number (*): 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 (*) Certain mobile telephone operators do not allow access to 00 800 numbers or these calls may be billed. In certain cases, these calls may be chargeable from telephone boxes or hotels.Cover picture: iStockphotoMore information on the European Union is available on the Internet (http://europa.eu).FRA - European Union Agency for Fundamental RightsSchwarzenbergplatz 111040 WienAustriaTel.: +43 (0)1 580 30 - 0Fax: +43 (0)1 580 30 - 691Email: information@fra.europa.eufra.europa.euCataloguing data can be found at the end of this publication.Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2011ISBN 978-92-9192-676-3doi: 10.2811/171© European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2010Reproduction is authorised, except for commercial purposes, provided the source is acknowledged.Printed in Luxembourg by Imprimerie CentralePrinted on white chlorine‑free PaPer
  3. 3. Access to justice in Europe:an overview of challenges and opportunities 
  4. 4. ForewordThepossibilityofenforcingarightiscentraltomakingfundamentalrightsareality.Accesstojusticeisnotjustarightinitselfbutalsoanenablingandempoweringrightinsofarasitallowsindividualstoenforcetheirrightsandobtainredress.Inthissense,ittransformsfundamentalrightsfromtheoryintopractice.Researchandevidence-basedadviceonaccesstojustice,therefore,alsosupportmakingotherrightseffective.ThisreportisanintroductoryoverviewonaccesstojusticethataddstothefourreportsoftheEuropeanUnionAgencyforFundamentalRightsonthe‘fundamentalrightsarchitectureintheEuropeanUnion’,publishedin2010.ItdoessobyprovidingcorefindingsonthechallengestoandopportunitiesfortherealisationofaccesstojusticeinEurope.BuildingontheAgency’sEuropeanUnionminoritiesanddiscriminationsurvey(EU-MIDIS)–whichconcluded,amongotherthings,thatlevelsofawarenessandconfidenceincomplaintsmechanismswerelowamongstethnicminoritiesandimmigrantgroupswhowerevictimsofdiscrimination–thisreportprovidesinsightintothenatureandfunctioningofjudicialmechanismsintheEuropeanUnion(EU).TheparticularfocusofthereportisonjudicialmechanismsatnationallevelinEUMemberStates.Thisisaddressedthroughdiscussionofnationalpracticesandproceduresapplicableintheareaofnon-discriminationlaw.ThisfocuswaschosensincetheMemberStatesareunderanobligationtoprovideeffectiveremediesaspartoftheirimplementationofEUlawinthisarea.Apartfromthenationallevel,avenuesavailableattheEuropeanandinternationallevelsarealsodescribed,namelythroughtheCourtofJusticeoftheEU,theEuropeanCourtofHumanRightsandthemonitoringbodiesofUnitedNationshumanrightstreaties.Thereportexplainshowthesemechanismsworkanddealswiththeircomparableadvantages.ChangesintroducedbytheTreatyofLisbon,suchasaccessionoftheEUtotheEuropeanConventiononHumanRightsandalterationstorulesonlegalstandingarehighlighted.However,fundamentalrightsaremostcommonlyanissueatthenationallevel,andforthisreasonthereportfocusesondomesticjudicialmechanismsandtheirchallenges.Atnationallevel,thereportpointsoutconcernsandconcreteobstaclestoaccessingjusticebutalsohighlightsactualpractices.Someofthekeyconcernsincludeunnecessarilystricttimelimitsonbringingclaims.Thisis,forinstance,thecasein22ofthe27EUMemberStates.Othernotabledifficultiesincluderestrictiverulesonwhocanmakeaclaim,excessivelegalcosts,andthecomplexityoflegalprocedures.ThisreportisthefirststudybytheEuropeanUnionAgencyforFundamentalRightsdealingprimarilywithaccesstojustice.Itwillbefollowedbyareportfocussingontheroleofequalitybodiesandsimilarentitiesinfacilitatingaccesstojusticeandtheexperiencesofequalitybodies,claimantsandthoseactorsprovidingsupporttoclaimants.Thesereportsarecomplementaryinnature,focussingrespectivelyonthecourtsystemandonequalitybodiesintheirfunctionofassistingclaimantsorprovidinganalternativeavenueofredress.Thisreflectsabroadconceptionofaccesstojustice.Byhighlightingwheretheprincipalchallengesexist,aswellasexamplesofgoodpractice,thisreportcancontributetoabetterunderstandingofhowimprovementscanbemadeinordertoallowindividualstoenforcetheirfundamentalrightsinpractice.Morten KjaerumDirector 3
  5. 5. 4
  6. 6. contentsForEword .......................................................................................................................................................3List oF AbbrEviAtions....................................................................................................................................7ExEcutivE suMMAry .......................................................................................................................................9opinions ......................................................................................................................................................111 AccEss to JusticE – situAting thE concEpt in thE Eu ...........................................................................13 1.1.  heFRAresearchonaccesstojustice....................................................................................................................13 T 1.2. Reportbackground....................................................................................................................................................14 1.3. Theconcept................................................................................................................................................................14 1.4. elatedresearchandinstrumentsbytheCouncilofEurope..............................................................................16 R 1.5.  ccesstojusticeinEuropeanlaw............................................................................................................................17 A 1.6.  ccesstojusticeinEUpolicy .................................................................................................................................. 20 A . 1.7. Summary.....................................................................................................................................................................222 AvAiLAbLE MEchAnisMs At EuropEAn And intErnAtionAL LEvEL ........................................................23 2.1.  ommonfeaturesanddistinctions..........................................................................................................................23 C 2.2.TheUNtreatybodies ................................................................................................................................................25 . 2.3. heCouncilofEuropemechanisms........................................................................................................................ 30 T 2.4. ourtofJusticeoftheEuropeanUnion...................................................................................................................33 C 2.5.Summary................................................................................................................................................................... 363 AccEssing JusticE At nAtionAL LEvEL .....................................................................................................37 3.1. Limits......................................................................................................................................................................... 37 3.2.Alternatives..............................................................................................................................................................44 3.3.Summary....................................................................................................................................................................464 LEgAL Aid At nAtionAL LEvEL ..................................................................................................................47 4.1.  atureandscopeoflegalaid.................................................................................................................................49 N . 4.2.Eligibilityforlegalaid................................................................................................................................................51 4.3.Complementaryschemes.........................................................................................................................................53 4.4.Summary.................................................................................................................................................................... 545 rEdrEss At nAtionAL LEvEL ....................................................................................................................55 5.1. Natureofredress...................................................................................................................................................... 56 5.2. eveloffinancialcompensation............................................................................................................................. 58 L 5.3.Paymentoflegalcosts............................................................................................................................................. 59 5.4.Evidence.....................................................................................................................................................................61 5.5.Executionofjudgments............................................................................................................................................ 62 5.6.Summary....................................................................................................................................................................64concLusions .................................................................................................................................................65 5
  7. 7. Figures and tables Table1: EUMemberStatesaspartiestotheUNConventions................................................................................................ 26 Table2: NumberofStatepartiesamongtheEU-27thathaveacceptedindividual complaintsproceduresundertherespectiveTreatybodies................................................................................... 27 Table3: Acceptedindividualcomplaintsprocedures,byEUMemberState..................................................................... 28 Table4: EUMemberStatespartiestotheAdditionalProtocolundertheESC.................................................................32 Table5: OverviewofprovisionsprovidingforaccesstojusticebeforetheCJEU.......................................................... 34 Figure1: Accesstojusticeandrelatedterminology..........................................................................................................................16 Figure2: Overviewofselectedmechanisms..........................................................................................................................................23 Figure3: ThetwomainroutestoaccesstheCJEU..............................................................................................................................33 Figure4: RestrictionsonaccesstojusticeinEUMemberStates............................................................................................... 38 Figure5: ViolationsconcerninglengthofproceedingsasapercentageofallECtHR’sjudgmentsfinding violationsoftheECHR,byEUMemberState(%),duringtheperiod1959–2009.......................................41 Figure6: PossibilityofwaivingtherightofaccesstoajudicialbodyinEUMemberStates....................................44 Figure7: Possibilityofaccessingnon-judicialproceduresinEUMemberStates............................................................ 45 Figure8: AvailabilityoflegalaidinMemberStates.......................................................................................................................... 49 Figure9: EligibilitytestsforlegalaidinEUMemberStates.......................................................................................................... 51 Figure10: NatureofredressinEUMemberStates............................................................................................................................... 57 Figure11: AvailabilityofpunitivedamagesinEUMemberStates............................................................................................. 58 Figure12: Levelofcompensation:thehighestrecordedamountsinEUMemberStates(€)................................... 59 Figure13: Rulesregardingpaymentoflegalcosts,byEUMemberState.............................................................................. 60 Figure14: ExecutionoffinalawardsinEUMemberStates............................................................................................................. 636
  8. 8. List of abbreviationscAt ConventionagainstTortureandOtherCruel,InhumanorDegrading TreatmentorPunishment/CommitteeAgainstTorturecEdAw ConventionontheEliminationofAllFormsofDiscriminationagainstWomen / CommitteeontheEliminationofDiscriminationAgainstWomencEpEJ EuropeanCommissionfortheEfficiencyofJustice(oftheCouncilofEurope)cErd CommitteeonEliminationofRacialDiscriminationcFr CharterofFundamentalRightsoftheEuropeanUnioncJ CourtofJustice,whenneededtodistinguishfromtheGeneralCourt–boththese courtsjointlyconstitutingtheCourtofJusticeoftheEuropeanUnioncJEu CourtofJusticeoftheEuropeanUnion(formerlytheCourtofJusticeof theEuropeanCommunities),hereinreferringbothtotheGeneralCourt andtheCourtofJusticeoftheEuropeanUnion,unlessspecifiedcrc ConventionontheRightsoftheChildcrpd ConventionontheRightsofPersonswithDisabilitiesEchr ConventionfortheProtectionofHumanRightsandFundamental FreedomsorEuropeanConventiononHumanRightsEcsr EuropeanCommitteeofSocialRightsEcthr EuropeanCourtofHumanRightsEsc EuropeanSocialCharterEu EuropeanUnionEu-Midis EuropeanUnionMinoritiesandDiscriminationSurveyFrA EuropeanUnionAgencyforFundamentalRightsFrALEx FRAnetworkoflegalexpertsgc GeneralCourt(formerlyCourtofFirstInstance)iAchr Inter-AmericanCommissiononHumanRightsiActhr Inter-AmericanCourtonHumanRightsiccpr InternationalCovenantonCivilandPoliticalRightsicErd InternationalConventionontheEliminationofAllFormsofRacialDiscriminationicEscr InternationalCovenantonEconomic,SocialandCulturalRightsicpEd InternationalConventionfortheProtectionofAllPersonsfromEnforcedDisappearance InternationalConventionontheProtectionoftheRightsofAllicrMw MigrantWorkersandMembersofTheirFamiliestEc TreatyestablishingtheEuropeanCommunitiestEu TreatyonEuropeanUniontFEu TreatyontheFunctioningoftheEuropeanUnionudhr UniversalDeclarationofHumanRightsun UnitedNationsun hrc UnitedNationsHumanRightsCommittee 7
  9. 9. 8
  10. 10. Executive summaryThisreportprovidesanEU-widecomparativeanalysis operateas‘subsidiary’meansofobtainingredress.oftheeffectivenessofaccesstojusticeasameans Thatis,beforehavingrecoursetotheseprocedures,ofensuringindividuals’rightsintheareaofnon- individualsareunderanobligationtopursueremedies,discriminationlaw.Theareaofnon-discriminationlaw, sofarastheyareeffective,atthenationallevel.InasembodiedintheRacialEqualityDirective,Gender thisway,statesaregiventheopportunitytoremedyEqualityDirective(recast),GenderGoodsandServices breachesoftheirobligationsinternally,beforeanDirectiveandEmploymentEqualityDirective,provided internationalbodymaytakejurisdiction.afocusforthereport,intermsofthecasessampledandrulesandpracticesthatwereobserved,aswell TheUNmonitoringbodiesresponsibleforoverseeingasensuringthattheenquiryfellwithinthescopeof theimplementationofhumanrightstreatiesofferaEUlaw.Becausetheapplicablerulesandpractices relativelyaccessiblequasi-judicialmechanism.Sometendedtorelatenotonlytonon-discriminationlaw ofthesebodiesaremandatedtodealwithindividualbutciviland/oradministrativelawmoregenerally, complaints,suchastheCommitteeonEliminationofhowever,thepresentfindingsintermsofchallenges RacialDiscrimination(CERD)undertheConventiononandgoodpracticesarelikelytoapplybeyondthis theEliminationofAllFormsofRacialDiscriminationareaofsubstantivelaw.Itshouldalsoberecalledthat (ICERD)ortheHumanRightsCommittee(UNHRC)theresearchwasconfinedprincipallytocivillaw,and undertheInternationalCovenantonCivilandPoliticalmayalsoincludeadministrativeprocedures,where Rights(ICCPR).TheICERDwasthefirstoftheUNhumanapplicable,butdidnotcovercriminallaw. rightstreatiesthatprovidedforaspecificmonitoring body–CERD–andservedastheprecursortothoseTheresearchforthecountryreports,whichconstitute undertheotherconventions,includingtheUNHRC.thebackgroundinformationforthisreport,was SpecialfeaturesoftheICERDincludetheabilitytoconductedthroughanalysisoflawsandrulesof receivecomplaintsnotonlyfromindividualsbutalsoprocedureaswellasaselectionofcasesineachof groupsofindividuals.However,theUNHRCisthethe27EUMemberStates,inthelightoftheconceptof monitoringbodythathasbuiltupthegreatestvolumeaccesstojustice.Thisconceptisbrokendownthrough ofdecisionsonindividualcomplaints.Atthesameatypologyofthecomponentsofthisbroaderidea. time,itshouldbenotedthatstateshavenotexpresslyAsfortheEUandinternationalelements,itisbased recognisedtheviewsofthetreatybodiesaslegallyonavailableliteratureandanalysisofcaselaw. binding.However,theydorepresentauthoritative interpretationsoftherelevanttreaties.Thereportshowsthataccesstojusticeisaconceptwithmanynuanceswhichincludes,firstandforemost, TheEuropeanCourtofHumanRights(ECtHR)haseffectiveaccesstoanindependentdisputeresolution responsibilitytodecideoncomplaintssubmittedinmechanismcoupledwithotherrelatedissues,such respectoftheEuropeanConventiononHumanRightsastheavailabilityoflegalaidandadequateredress. (ECHR).Inrecentyears,theECtHRcaseload,relativeTherearevariousavenuesavailableatbothnational toitscapacitytodeliverjudgmentshasbecomeandEuropean/internationallevels. unsustainable,causingdelaysintheresolutionofcases. ProtocolNo.14totheECHRhasintroducedarange ofmeasuresdesignedtoaddressthis,includingtheEuropean and ‘pilot’procedurefordealingwithrepeatviolations– similarcasesduetosystemicproblemsatnationalinternational level level.Consideringthesereforms,thesignificanceofThereportanalysesjudicialandquasi-judicial therolethattheECtHRwillplayappearstobeshiftingmechanismsatEuropean(EUandCouncilofEurope) fromprovidingindividualswitharecourseoflastandinternational(UnitedNations)levels.Eachofthese resorttowardsamoreconstitutionalroleindeliveringlevelshasbothcommonanddivergentcharacteristics decisionsonlegalissuesofbroaderimportanceandinrelationtorulesonlegalstanding,thenatureof ofrelevancetoanumberofcomplaints.Inthecontextproceedings,theremediesavailable,andapplicable ofsocialrights,theECtHRiscomplementedbythefollow-upmechanisms.SavefortheCourtofJusticeof EuropeanCommitteeofSocialRights(ECSR),whichtheEU(byreasonofthewaythatEUlawisintegrated monitorsimplementationoftheEuropeanSocialintonationalsystems),allthemonitoringmechanisms Charter(ESC). 9
  11. 11. AccesstojusticeinEurope:anoverviewofchallengesandopportunities Therearetwomainavenuesthroughwhichan bodyandsettlethedisputeoutsidethecourt,subject individualcanaccesstheCourtofJusticeofthe tocertainsafeguards. EuropeanUnion(CJEU)inpursuingaremedyagainst theEUitself:direct(throughtheactionforannulment) Legalaidisgenerallyavailableforapartyto andindirect(throughpreliminaryrulings).While proceedingsintheareaofnon-discriminationlawinall therulesrelatingtolegalstandingundertheaction EUMemberStatesthroughtheapplicationof‘means’ forannulmenthavebeenloosenedbytheLisbon or‘meansplusmerits’tests.Nevertheless,agreater Treaty,accesstotheCJEUremainsrelativelynarrow. allocationofresourcesappearstobeneeded.Particular concernhasbeenraisedregardingbudgetcutsdueto TheTreatyofLisbonhasalsointroducedother theeconomiccrises.Thesedifficultiesappeartobe significantchanges.Firstly,theCharterofFundamental partiallyoffsetinsomeMemberStatesthroughthe RightsoftheEuropeanUnionhasacquiredlegally existenceofinitiativescomplementarytolegalaid, bindingstatus.SecondlythejurisdictionoftheCJEU suchasfreelegaladviceservicesorlegalinsurance. hasbeenbroadenedtoallowforreviewinareasof EUlawthatwereformerlybeyonditsremit.Thirdly, Accordingtotherelevantresearchfindings,financial itmandatestheEUtoaccedetotheECHR,whichwill compensationistheprimarymeansofcompensating conferjurisdictionontheECtHRinrelationtobreaches victimsofdiscriminationinall27EUMemberStates.In oftheECHRbytheEUitself. themajorityofEUMemberStates,furthermore,such financialcompensationissupplementedbyothernon- financialformsofreparation(suchasreinstatement inthecaseofdismissalfromemploymentthatwas national level discriminatory). Sincetheprotectionoffundamentalrightsshould firstandforemostbeprovidedatthenationallevel, Asfortheleveloffinancialcompensation,thereare judicialmechanismsinindividualEUMemberStates considerablevariationsamongEUMemberStates. constitutethefocusofthereport.Themainissues Therelevantresearchfindingsshowedthatthe coveredincludeconcretelimitsinthecontextof averageamountoffinancialcompensationawarded accessingjusticeatnationallevel,existingregimesof bydomesticcourtsvariesgreatly,andthatthisdoes legalaidanddifferentmeansofcompensatingvictims notappeartobeowedentirelytofactorssuchas ofdiscriminatorytreatment.Specificpracticesthatcan variationsinlivingcosts.OnlytwoMemberStates befoundindifferentEUMemberStatesinrelationto allowfortheawardofpunitivedamages. theseissuesarelikewiseidentified.Inaddition,these chaptersrefer,whererelevant,toexistingpractices MostEUMemberStatesoperatea‘loserpays’rule thatoftenintendtofacilitateaccesstojustice. wherethelosingpartyisexpectedtocoverthelegal costsoftheotherside.Atthesametimeinsome Fromtheresearchfindingspresentedinthereport, MemberStatesthejudiciaryhasdiscretionnotto itcanbeconcludedthatexcessivelyshorttime applythisrule.Itappears,however,thatlegalcosts limitsforbringingaclaiminordertoinitiatejudicial maybeofsuchalevelastoconstituteabarrierto proceedings,restrictiveconditionsoflegalstanding accesstojusticeinsomeMemberStates. (includingabsenceorrigidapplicationofpublic interestcomplaintruleswhichareusuallylimitedto Thereportidentifiednumerousgoodpracticesthat environmentalcases)aswellasunduedelaysinnon- hadthepotentialtofacilitateaccesstojusticefor discriminationproceedings,representmajorobstacles complainants.Theseinclude:simplifiedandless forindividualswhenaccessingjusticeinthedomestic formalisticproceduralrulesmakingiteasiertoenforce courtsofindividualMemberStates.Inthecontext rights;E-justiceinitiativesthataimtomakerelevant ofunduedelaysinparticular,itshouldbenotedthat jurisprudencewidelyaccessibleatnocost;generous althoughdomesticlawsofmostMemberStates rulesonlegalstanding(suchaspublicinterestactions); containprovisionsforthespeedyresolutionofurgent theavailabilityofredressotherthancompensation;pro orsensitivecases,itremainsunclearwhetherin bonoinitiativesandlegaladvicecentres. practicesuchexpeditedproceduresdoactuallyreduce thelengthofthelegalprocess. Inlightofthefactthatthereisgreatdivergence betweentheMemberStatesintermsofthe Inordertoreducerelianceoncourtproceedings, challengesthattheyfaceandpracticestheyadopt, whichmaybelengthyandcostly,manyEUMember theresultsoftheFRAresearchatnationalleveldonot Statesprovidevictimsofdiscriminationwith alwaysallowfordirectcomparison.Inordertoensure alternativenon-judicialroutesthroughwhichtheycan ascompleteapictureaspossiblefurtherinformation obtainredress.InadditionsomeEUMemberStates isavailableviatheFRAwebsitecontainingdetailson allowvictimstowaivetherightofaccesstoajudicial accesstojusticebyMemberStateandcorecategories.10
  12. 12. opinionsTheEuropeanUnionAgencyforFundamentalRightshasformulatedthefollowingopinionsbasedonthe Legal aidfindingsandcomparativeanalysisinthisreport. Highcostsassociatedwithlegalproceedings,suchas courtandlawyers’fees,maydeterindividualsfromAccesstojusticeisacrucialrightsinceallother pursuingremediesthroughthecourts.Althoughlegalfundamentalrightsdependuponitfortheir aidisavailableinallMemberStates,ofitselfthisenforcementintheeventofabreach.Analysing maynotbesufficienttoallowallvictimsofbreachesthesituationintheEUMemberStates,there ofnon-discriminationlawtobringclaims.Rulesisaneedforrevisitingprocedureswithaview surroundingthedeterminationofeligibilityforlegaltoensuringthataccesstojusticeismade aidshouldbeformulatedinsuchawayastoensuremoreeffectiveacrosstheEuropeanUnion. thatthosewithoutsufficientfinancialmeanshave accesstoadequateassistance.Accordingly,Member Statesshouldconsiderre-examiningthethresholds setfor‘means’testing,ortheformulationsappliedLegal standing in‘meansandmerits’testinginsuchawayastoNarrowrulesrelatingtolegalstandingprevent guaranteeaccesstojusticeforall.civil societyorganisationsfromtakingamoredirectroleinlitigation.EUnon-discriminationlaw TheintroductionofalternativedisputesettlementrequiresMemberStatestoallowassociations,such mechanisms,suchasquasi-judicialproceduresasnon-governmentalorganisations(NGOs)or availablebeforesomeoftheequalitybodies,maytradeunions,toengageinjudicialoradministrative helptoensureaccesstojusticebyprovidingafasterproceedingsonbehalfoforinsupportofclaimants. andcheaperalternativetoclaimants.ThoseMemberBeyondthisareaoflawsuchentitiesareallowed Statesthathavenotendowedequalitybodieswithtoinitiate legal proceedingsinonlysome thesepowerscouldconsiderdoingso.InthisregarditMember States.MostMemberStatesallowfor shouldbenotedthatequalitybodiesrequireadequatepublicinterestactions(actio popularis)inrelationto resourcestocarryoutthisfunction.environmentalcasesaccordingtotheirobligationsundertheAarhusConvention.Thissuggeststhat Considerationshouldbegiventoalternativeorbroaderrulesonlegalstandingareacceptablein complementarymeasuresavailableinsomeMemberprinciple,andMemberStatesshouldconsiderwidening States,suchas:agreedlimitsonlegalfees,waivingtheirrulesonstandinginotherareasoflaw. courtfeesforclaimantsinfinancialdifficulty,and legalinsurance.Considerationshouldalsobegivento promotingpracticessuchasthedeliveryofsupport throughlegaladvicecentresorprobonowork,whilewaiver of rights ensuringthatthesearecomplimentarytoandnotInthelawofsevenMemberStates,itispossible asubstituteforanadequatelyresourcedlegalaidtowaive,atleastpartially,therightofaccess system.Theintroductionofsimplifiedprocedurestoajudicialbodyby,forinstance,concludingafriendly whereindividualsarenotrequiredtoberepresentedsettlementorthroughanarbitrationormediation throughalawyershouldalsobeconsidered,whileclauseinacontract,solongastherearenoelements ensuringthatadequatesafeguardsareinplacetoofcoercioninvolved.Incontrast,13MemberStates guaranteetheirrightsandtheirabilitytoparticipateprohibitcontractualtermspurportingtolimitor effectivelyinproceedings.excludeanindividual’srightofaccesstoacourt.Whileofferingalternativemeansofobtainingaremedythatarelesscostlyorlengthythanjudicialproceedings,itisdesirabletheseshould statutes of limitationsbeappliedinsuchawayastoavoidoverridingan Timelimitationsforclaimsareneededforindividual’srightofaccesstojustice.Inaddition, the sake oflegalcertainty,however,thismustanyremediesagreeduponthroughmeanssuch bebalancedagainsttherightoftheclaimantasarbitration,mediation,orconciliationshould toobtainaremedy.Unnecessarilyshorttimefullyreflecttheentitlementoftheclaimanttoan limitsappeartoconstituteamajorobstacletoeffectiveproportionateanddissuasiveremedy. accessing justice acrosstheEUMemberStates. 11
  13. 13. AccesstojusticeinEurope:anoverviewofchallengesandopportunities MemberStatesshouldensurethattimelimitsare extendedtoareasonablelengthsoastocomplywith thestandardslaiddownbytheECtHRinitscaselaw. Length of proceedings Ifanindividualisobligedtowaitforanunreasonably longperiodoftimeforaremedyitrisksrendering theirrightsineffective.Inthelong-runitalsohasthe consequenceofdeterringfutureclaimants.Analysisof judgmentsdeliveredbytheECtHR,aswellassample casescollectedforthisreport,suggestthatsystematic difficultiesexistinsomeMemberStatespreventing thedeliveryofjudgmentswithinareasonabletime. ThecaselawoftheCJEUrequiresthatremedies innationalcourtsforrightsderivedfromEUlaw areeffective.MemberStatesshouldconsider examiningtheorganisationoftheirjudicialsystems andallocationofresourcesinordertoensurethis. international commitments WhilealltheMemberStatesarepartytoacore of UN humanrightstreaties,notallofthemhave consentedtothejurisdictionofthemonitoringbodies tohearindividualcomplaints.Thegenerousruleson legalstandingandaccessibilityoftheproceduresmake theseavaluablealternativetootherfora,suchas theECtHR.Inaddition,someofthesebodiesoversee theimplementationofrightsthatarenotcurrently containedintheECHRortheCharterofFundamental RightsoftheEuropeanUnion,suchascertainsocial rights.FurthermoreonlyoneMemberStatecurrently allowsnationalNGOstobringcasesbeforethe EuropeanCommitteeofSocialRights.Inlightofthe benefitofallowingaccesstodisputesettlement proceduresattheEuropeanandinternationallevels, thoseMemberStatesthathavenotdonesoshould considerconsentingtothejurisdictionofthesebodies.12
  14. 14. 1 Access to justice – Situating the concept in the EU vulnerable groups, such as minorities and immigrants.1.1. he FRA research on T This report on access to justice will be followed by access to justice a study focussing on the role of equality bodies and similar entities in facilitating access to justice and theThis report is about ‘access to justice’ in the European experiences of equality bodies, claimants and thoseUnion – that is, how rights can be enforced in the EU. actors providing support to claimants. These studiesThis is done by analysing mechanisms in Member are complementary in nature, focussing respectivelyStates, as well as mechanisms offered by the EU, on the court system and on equality bodies in theirthe Council of Europe, and the United Nations (UN). function of assisting claimants or providing anHowever, focus is placed on judicial mechanisms at the alternative avenue of redress. In May 2010, the FRAnational level, and the challenges and good practices published a set of reports on how the architecturethat pertain to them. A further delimitation is a focus for the promotion and protection of human rights, inon access to justice in the area of non-discrimination particular National Human Rights Institutions, Datalaw as laid down by the Gender Equality Directives, Protection Authorities, and Equality Bodies, couldRacial Equality Directive and Employment Equality be improved in the EU.3 Other related projects thatDirective.1 This examination is focused principally on address various components of access to justicecivil law remedies and may also include administrative include:law remedies, but excludes the area of criminal law.This comparative report is the first study of the FRA to • the asylum-seeker perspective: access to effectiveexplicitly focus on access to justice.2 remedies and the duty to inform applicants;The report should be seen in the context of a series • access to remedies for irregular migrants;of FRA research projects. The FRA 2009 European • the impact of the Racial Equality Directive – Views ofUnion Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS) trade unions and employers in the European Union;showed that awareness of redress mechanisms (fordiscrimination) is very low, in particular among • the right to political participation of persons with mental health problems and persons with intellectual disabilities; • joined-up governance: connecting fundamental1 Directive 2000/43 implementing the principle of equal treatment rights (including improved access to complaint between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (OJ. L 180, 19 July 2000, p. 22); Directive 2000/78 establishing a general mechanisms at the local level and their links framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation to national and international levels); (OJ. L 303, 02 December 2000, p. 16); Directive 2004/113 implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services (OJ. L 373, 21 December 2004, p. 37); Directive 2006/54 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and 3 Produced in a series as Strengthening the fundamental rights occupation (recast) (OJ. L 204, 26 July 2006, p. 23). architecture in the EU I–III: National Human Rights Institutions2 See also the recently published FRA report on Access to effective in the EU Member States; Data Protection in the European remedies: The asylum-seeker perspective (Vienna, 2010) available Union: the role of National Data Protection Authorities; EU-MIDIS at: http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/attachments/asylum- Data in Focus Report 3: Rights awareness. All available at: access-remedies-report-092010_en.pdf (all hyperlinks listed in http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/research/publications/ the report have been accessed in November 2010). publications_en.htm. 13
  15. 15. AccesstojusticeinEurope:anoverviewofchallengesandopportunities • developingindicatorsfortheprotection,respect 3. therighttotimelyresolutionofdisputes; andpromotionoftherightsofthechildinthe 4. therighttoadequateredress; EuropeanUnion(child-friendlyjustice); 5. theprinciplesofefficiencyandeffectiveness. • HandbookonEuropeanonnon-discrimination Thesewereinturnsub-dividedintomoredetailed case-law.4 points,referredtoasindicators.Forthreeof Thisfirstchapterelaboratesontheconceptofaccess theseindicators,theFRALEXteamswereaskedto tojusticeandsituatesitwithintheframeworkof analyseaselectionof50-80nationalcases.6The Europeanlawandpolicy.Fourchaptersfollow, dealing caseshadtoberelatedto‘civil’rightsasprotected with:(2)accessingmechanismsatEuropean byArticle6(1)oftheEuropeanConventionon and internationallevel,(3-5)accessingjusticeat HumanRights(ECHR)andArticle14ICCPR.7 thenationallevel,includinglegalandavailable remedies.Importantcasesfromnationalcourtsas Non-discriminationwasselectedasafocusareato wellasfromtheCourtofJusticeoftheEuropean reducethescopeofenquirytoafeasiblelevel,but Union(CJEU)andtheEuropeanCourtofHumanRights alsobecausepreviousFRAresearchshowedthe (ECtHR)arepresentedasillustrativeexamples. particularneedforimprovingandfacilitatingaccess tojusticeinthisarea.However,thepurposeofthe studyistocaptureaccesstojusticemorebroadly 1.2. report background andthisreportisonlyafirststepinthisregard. Thisreportdrawsmainlyon27nationalstudies Elementsofthe27nationalstudies,whichprovide producedbytheFRAnetworkoflegalexperts additionalcountry-specificinformationonaccess (FRALEX)5onthebasisofatypologydesignedto tojusticeinthecontextoftheaforementioned allowforacomparativeoverviewonselectedkey typology,areavailableonlineviatheFRAwebsite.8 elementsofaccesstojustice.Forthenationallevel, Thereports,structuredinaccordancewiththe theanalysisandinformationonwhichthisreportis typology,analysethejudicialsystemsinthe basedpresentsthesituationasitstoodattheend respectiveEUMemberStates.Detailsthatwere of2008.Caseassessmentandstatistics,aswell notpossibletocaptureinornotrelevanttothis ashigh-leveladministrativeorpoliticalresponses comparativereportareprovidedinthesenational toaccesstojusticeissues,covertheperiodfrom overviews,whichofferinsightintothemechanisms 2000 to 2009.TheEUandinternationalelements foraccessingjusticeincasesofdiscrimination.9 representthesituationasitstoodon15October2010. Sincethereisnostandardisedconceptof‘accessto justice’,theresearchatnationallevelwasstructured 1.3. the concept aroundafive-parttypologysettingoutitsconstituent Theterm‘accesstojustice’isnotcommonlyused elements.Thiswasdevelopedusingtherighttoa aslegalterminologyandisnotexpresslyused fairtrialaswellasthebroaderrighttoaremedy in,forexample,theECHR.10Instead,theECHR containedinArticles6and13ECHR;Articles2(3) containsprovisionsonfairtrialandtherightto and14oftheInternationalCovenantonCiviland aremedy(Articles6and13ECHR).Similarly,the PoliticalRights(ICCPR);andArticle47oftheCharter UniversalDeclarationonHumanRights(UDHR) ofFundamentalRightsoftheEuropeanUnion(CFR). statesthat“everyonehastherighttoaneffective Onthebasisoftheseprovisions‘accesstojustice’ remedybythecompetentnationaltribunalsfor wasbrokendownintothefollowingelements: actsviolatingthefundamentalrightsgrantedhim 1. therighttoeffectiveaccesstoadisputeresolu- 6 InsomeMemberStatesthisproveddifficultgiventhe tionbody; impossibilityofaccessingcaselawfromlowercourts. 7 Seefurther,UNHumanRightsCommittee(UNHRC)General 2. therighttofairproceedings; Comment No. 32, Article 14, Right to equality before courts and tribunals and to a fair trial,23August2007,CCPR/C/ GC/32,paragraph16;ECtHR,Sporrong and Lonnroth v. Sweden, 4 AllFRAprojectsavailableat:http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/ No. 7151/75,23September1982,paragraphs 79-83.Article47CFR research/projects/proj_accesstojustice_en.htm;andallFRA doesseeminglynothavethesamelimitationbutisapplicableto publicationsat:http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/research/ alltypesofcases. publications/publications_en.htm. 8 Seehttp://fra.europa.eu/. 5 FRALEXwassetupin2007andiscomposedofhighlyqualified 9 ReferencestotheUKprimarilyrefertothesituationinEngland legalexpertsinthefieldoffundamentalrightsineachofthe andWales.However,mostoftherulesandpracticesdiscussed MemberStatesoftheEuropeanUnion.FRALEXdeliversavariety arealsoapplicableinsubstance(ifnotinform)inScotlandandto ofreports,analysesandstudiesatthenationalandcomparative alesserextent,NorthernIreland. level,whichareusedasbackgroundmaterialforFRApublications. 10 Theconceptreceivedexplicitattentioninthelegaldoctrine AseparatereportonaccesstojusticeattheEUandinternational byMauroCappellettiinthe1970’s-1980’s,seeCappelletti, levelwasalsocommissioned.Basedonthese27nationalreports M. (ed.) (1978)Access to Justice,Milan:SijthoffandNoordhoff. andtheEUandinternationalreport,alongwithadditional MorerecentlyseeFrancioni,F.(ed.)(2007)Access to Justice as a research,theFRAproducedthiscomparativereport. Human Right,OxfordUniversity:OxfordUniversityPress(OUP).14
  16. 16. Accesstojustice–SituatingtheconceptintheEU bytheconstitutionorbylaw.”11TheICCPRequally • righttoaneffectiveremedybeforeatribunal;referstoan“effective remedy”(Article2(3a)) • righttoafairandpublichearingwithinaforalltherightsintheconventionandfurther reasonabletimebyanindependentandimpartialguaranteestherightto“takeproceedingsbefore tribunalpreviouslyestablishedbylaw;acourt”(Article9(4)),therighttoa“fairandpublichearing”(Article14(1)),andtherighttobe • righttobeadvised,defendedandrepresented;andtriedwithoutunduedelay(Article14(3c)).12 • righttolegalaidforthosewholacksufficient resourcesinsofarassuchaidisnecessaryHowever,withtheTreatyofLisbon,aspecific toensureeffectiveaccesstojustice.referencetoaccesstojusticewasintroduced:theTreatyontheFunctioningoftheEuropean AttheinternationalleveltheUNHRC,sinceitsUnion (TFEU),Article67(4)stipulatesthat establishmentundertheICCPR,hasleadthe“the Union shallfacilitateaccesstojustice, wayamongtheUNtreatybodiesoninterpretinginparticularthroughtheprincipleofmutual conceptsrelatedtoaccesstojustice.17recognitionofjudicialandextrajudicialdecisionsincivilmatters.”13TheCFRwhich,accordingtothe Alsothe1998AarhusConventiononAccesstoreformsintroducedbytheLisbonTreaty,hasthe Information,PublicParticipationinDecision-MakingsamelegallybindingstatusastheTreaties,provides andAccesstoJusticeinEnvironmentalMatters18forthe“righttoaneffectiveremedyandtoafair isanexampleofanexplicituseof‘accesstotrial”(Article47CFR).14Thethirdparagraphofthat justice’.TheConventiondefinesaccesstojusticeArticlespecificallyreferstoaccesstojusticeinthe as“accesstoareviewprocedurebeforeacourtcontextoflegalaid,butthetermaccesstojustice oflaworanotherindependentandimpartialalsoconcludestheArticleasawhole.15Inthisway bodyestablishedbylaw”(Article9(1)).Moreover,theArticlesummarisesalltheparticularrights withthe2006ConventionontheRightsofenshrinedintheconceptof‘accesstojustice’:16 PersonswithDisabilities,‘accesstojustice’was enshrinedinaUnitedNationsconvention.19 Accordingtocurrentusage,then,accesstojustice isrelatedtoanumberoftermsthatattimes areusedinterchangeablyortocoverparticular elements,suchasaccesstocourt,effective11 UNGeneralAssembly,Universaldeclarationofhumanrights, Resolution217A(III),UNDocumentA/810at71(1948),Article 8. remediesorfairtrial.Figure1offersaschematic12 TheUNHRChasupheldtheviewthatdenialofaccesstojustice overviewofthemostcommonterms. isasufficientlyegregiousbreachofhumanrightsthatitmay giverisetotherighttohaveacriminalconvictionreconsidered iftherighttosubmitanappealhasbeenviolated.UNHRC,Earl Pratt and Ivan Morgan v. Jamaica,CommunicationsNo.210/1986 andNo.225/1987.Viewsadoptedon6April1989,UNDocument A/44/40,Vol.II,222.TheInternationalCourtofJustice(ICJ) has takena similarstance.InAvena (case concerning Avena and other Mexican nationals (Mexico v. United States)31March2004), where anumberofMexicannationalshadbeensentencedto deathintheUnitedStateswithouthavingbenefitedfromthe consularassistancerequiredunderArticle36oftheVienna Conventionof1963.13 Article81(2)(e)referstoaccesstojusticeandArticle81(2)(f)to the“eliminationofobstaclestotheproperfunctioningofcivil proceedings”.14 ThestatusofCFRisprovidedinArticle6(1)TEU.Seethe ExplanationsrelatingtotheCharterofFundamentalRightsofthe EuropeanUnion,OJC303/17of14December2007,availableat: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:20 07:303:0017:0035:EN:PDF.15 CFR,ChapterVI,Justice,Article47,Righttoaneffectiveremedy 17 SeeforexampleUNHRC,GeneralCommentNo.32(n.7), andafairtrial:“Everyonewhoserightsandfreedomsguaranteed paragraphs 8-13. bythelawoftheUnionareviolatedhastherighttoaneffective 18 ConventionoftheUNEconomicCommissionforEurope(UNECE) remedybeforeatribunalincompliancewiththeconditionslaiddown concernedwithtransparencyandaccountabilitythatlinkshumanand inthisArticle.Everyoneisentitledtoafairandpublichearing environmentalrights.Thephraseaccesstojusticeisreferredtoin withinareasonabletimebyanindependentandimpartialtribunal thetitle,thepreambleandinArticles1,3,9and10.Itplacespositive previouslyestablishedbylaw.Everyoneshallhavethepossibility obligationsupontheStatespartiesandimportantlyestablishes ofbeingadvised,defendedandrepresented.Legalaidshallbe relativelyfirmparameters,whichmustbesatisfiedinordertofulfil madeavailabletothosewholacksufficientresourcesinsofaras theStates’dutiesandgrantadequateenjoymentoftheright. suchaidisnecessarytoensureeffectiveaccesstojustice.” 19 Article13placesanobligationuponstatestoensureequalaccess16 Indeed,theterms“effectiveremedy”and“accesstojustice” tojusticetothosepersonswithdisabilities,furtherobliging appeartobeusedinterchangeably:theExplanationsrelating thestatestoprovidetheiragentswithappropriatetrainingto totheCharterofFundamentalRights(n.14),p.30:where accomplishthis.UsefulanalysesofarangeofEuropeanand the relevantcaselaw(ECtHR,Airey v. Ireland,No.6289/73, internationalstandardsonaccesstojusticecanbefoundin: 09 October1979)oftheECtHRisreferredtoandtheterm McBride,J.(2009)Access to Justice for Migrants and Asylum Seekers effectiveremedyisusedtoexplainingaccesstojustice. in Europe,Strasbourg:CouncilofEuropePublishing. 15
  17. 17. AccesstojusticeinEurope:anoverviewofchallengesandopportunities Figure 1: Access to justice and related terminology amongotherissues,thefundamentalcriteriaof theruleoflaw,theindependenceofthejudiciary, rule of law accesstojustice,andtheprinciplesofethicsand responsibilityinanationalandinternationalcontext.23 Access to justice TheCommitteeofMinistersoftheCouncilofEurope Effective remedies redress adopted,on24February2010,Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)3oneffectiveremediesforexcessive lengthofproceedings.TheRecommendation Access to court Judicial protection makesreferencetothecaselawoftheECtHRas wellasitspilotjudgmentsintheareaandcalls Fair trial due process onMemberStatesto,amongotherthings,ensure mechanismsthatidentifyexcessivelengthof proceedings;effectiveremediesforatrialwithin Source: FRA, 2010 areasonabletime;compensation,includingnon- pecuniarydamages;andtoconsidernon-monetary redresswheretrialshaverunforanexcessive lengthoftime,suchasreductionofsanctions.24 1.4. related research and ThisFRAreportcomplementsexistingresearchin instruments by the council thisareabyofferingabroadoverviewandanalysis of Europe oftheprincipalchallengesandexistinggood practicesatnationallevelinlightoftherequirements TheCouncilofEurope’sEuropeanCommissionforthe ofEuropeanandinternationalhumanrightslaw. EfficiencyofJustice(CEPEJ)hasdevelopedaseries Inthissenseitisabletocommentonparticular ofstudiesonaccesstojusticeintheMemberStates practiceswhicheitherlimitorhelptocontribute oftheCouncilofEurope.20CEPEJcollectsjudicialdata totherealisationofMemberStates’obligations. fromthe47MemberStates,analysesshortcomings ItwillinthiswayalsofeedintotheFRAresearch andnewtrends,andpromotesamorehomogenous onaccesstojusticewithrespecttocomplainant’s datacollectionatnationallevel.Acomprehensive accesstojusticethroughequalitybodies. report,European Judicial Systems(2008-2010),covers, forinstance,publicexpendituresoncourtsandlegal aid,typesoflegalaidincriminalcases,numberof casesinvolvinglegalaid,conditionsforgranting aid,systemsofcourtfees,lengthofprocedures, availabilityoflegalrepresentationincourt,and executionofcourtdecisions.21CEPEJhasalsoissued areportontheuseofe-justiceinEurope.22 On18November2010,theConsultativeCouncil 23 Forthetext,seehttps://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CCJE- ofEuropeanJudges(CCJE,anadvisorybodyof MC%282010%293&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=original&BackCol theCouncilofEuropeonissuesrelatedtothe orInternet=DBDCF2&BackColorIntranet=FDC864&BackColorLogg ed=FDC864.Inabroadercontext,seealsotheCCJE’sOpinion independence,impartialityandcompetenceofjudges, No. 13ontheroleofjudgesintheenforcementofjudicialdecisions, composedexclusivelyofjudges,adoptedtheMagna whichisanessentialelementofthefunctioningofastate,based CartaofJudges(Fundamentalprinciples).ThisMagna ontheruleoflawadoptedon09December2010,availableat: https://wcd.coe.int/wcd/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CCJE(2010)2&Langua Cartaofjudgeshighlightsthefundamentalprinciples ge=lanEnglish&Ver=original&BackColorInternet=DBDCF2&BackC relatingtojudgesandjudicialsystems.Itreiterates, olorIntranet=FDC864&BackColorLogged=FDC864. 24 SeealsotheRecommendationoftheCommitteeofMinistersof theCouncilofEuropetoMemberStatesonjudges:independence, 20 SeeinparticularEuropeanCommissionfortheefficiencyof efficiencyandresponsibilities,adoptedon17November2010. justice(CEPEJ)European Judicial Systems – Edition 2008 (2006 data): Itplacesemphasisontheindependenceofeveryindividual Efficiency and quality of justice;aswellasAccess to Justice in Europe, judgeandofthejudiciaryasawhole,preciselytoguarantee CEPEJStudiesNo.9.TheEuropeanParliament,initsresolution theindependenceofindividualjudges.Forthefirsttimeever, of 19May2010(2009/2241(INI))ontheaccessionof theUnionto judicial“efficiency”isdefinedinaclearandsimplemanner theECHR,calledontheUniontobecomememberoftheCEPEJ. as“thedeliveryofqualitydecisionswithinareasonabletime Moreinformationavailableat:www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/ followingfairconsiderationoftheissues”.Furthermeasures cepej/series/default_en.asp. proposedconcerningtheselectionandtrainingofjudges,their 21 CEPEJ(2010)European Judicial Systems(2008-2010),Strasbourg: responsibility,aswellasjudicialethics,arefurtherstepstowards CouncilofEurope,availableat:www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/ strengtheningtheroleofindividualjudgesandthejudiciaryin cepej/evaluation/default_en.asp. general.CEPEJalsohostsacentreforjudicialtimemanagement, 22 CEPEJ(2008)Use of information and communication technologies SATURN,thatprovidesstatisticsontimemanagementand (ICT) in European judicial systems, Strasbourg:CouncilofEurope, supportsselectedcourtsinimprovingtimemanagement. availableat:www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/cepej/series/ See furtherwww.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/cepej/Delais/ Etudes7TIC_en.pdf. default_en.asp.16
  18. 18. Accesstojustice–SituatingtheconceptintheEU  influencedbythecaselawoftheECtHR.30TheCJEU1.5. Access to justice in hastraditionallyusedtheconstitutionaltraditions European law commontotheMemberStatesandArticles6 and13ECHRasabasisfortherighttoobtainanInEurope,therighttoaccesstojustice–specifically effectiveremedybeforeacompetentcourt.toacourtoratribunal–wasdevelopedbytheECtHRinthecontextofArticle6ECHRandhassince AdvocateGeneralRuiz-JaraboColomerhasstatedinbeenextensivelydealtwithinscholarlydoctrine.25 hisOpinioninRoda Golf & Beach Resort SL:“AccesstoArticle6ECHRappliesonlyto“civilrightsand justiceisafundamentalpillarofwesternlegalculturecriminalcharges”.AlthoughECtHRjurisprudencehas, [...].Thereforetherighttoeffectivelegalprotectionovertheyears,continuouslyenlargedthescope isoneofthegeneralprinciplesofCommunityofthenotionof‘civilrights’,sothatnowadaysalso law,inaccordancewithwhichaccesstojusticeisconsiderablepartsofadministrativelawarenow organised[...].Accesstojusticeentailsnotonlycoveredbythesafeguardsofthisprovision,26itis thecommencementoflegalproceedingsbutalsononethelessanotablestepforwardthatArticle47 therequirementthatthecompetentcourtmustbeCFRhasabandonedthisrestriction,deliberately seizedofthoseproceedings.”31Inotherwords,accessgrantingaccesstojusticetoallsortsofrightsand tojusticemustbemuchmorethanamereformalfreedomsguaranteedbythelawoftheUnion.27 possibility,itmustalsobefeasibleinpracticalterms.Accordingtolongestablishedcaselawofthe WithintheEUlegalorder,therighttoeffectivelegalCJEU,accesstojusticeisoneoftheconstitutive protectionequallycoversaccesstotheEUcourtselementsofaUnionbasedontheruleoflaw.28This (here,theCourtofJusticeandtheGeneralCourt),isguaranteedinthetreatiesthroughestablishinga aswellasaccesstonationalcourtsandtribunalsforcompletesystemoflegalremediesandprocedures theenforcementofrightsderivedfromEUlaw.designedtopermittheCJEUtoreviewthelegalityofmeasuresadoptedbytheinstitutions.29Therighttoeffectivejudicialprotectionhasbeenaccepted 1.5.1. rights derived from Eu law inbytheCJEUasageneralprincipleofUnionlaw,as national courts: equivalence and effectiveness TheideathatEUlawmay,incertaincircumstances, giverisetoindividualrightsthatarecapableofdirect enforcementbydomesticcourtshasbeenrecognised sincetheclassiccaseofVan Gend en Loos.Inthis25 StartingwiththeGoldercase(ECtHR,Golder v. the United case,theCJEUconcludedthat:“Communitylaw[…] Kingdom, No.4451/70,21February1975).Seeaswell:Harris, D.J., notonlyimposesobligationsonindividualsbutisalso O’Boyle,M.,Bates,E.P.andBuckley,C.M.(2009)Harris, intendedtoconferuponthemrightswhichbecome O’Boyle and Warbrick, Law of the European Convention on Human Rights,2ndedition,Oxford:OUP,Chapter6;vanDijk,P.,van Hoof, partoftheirlegalheritage.Theserightsarisenot G.J.H.,vanRijn,A.andZwaak,L.(eds.)(2006)Theory and onlywheretheyareexpresslygrantedbytheTreaty Practice of the European Convention on Human rights,Antwerpen: Intersentia,Chapter10;Frowein,A.J.andPeukert,W.(2009) butalsobyreasonofobligationswhichtheTreaty Europäische Menschenrechtskonvention, EMRK-Kommentar,Kehl: imposesinaclearlydefinedwayuponindividuals N.P.EngelVerlag;andGrabenwarter,C.(2009)Europäische aswellasupontheMemberStatesanduponthe Menschenrechtskonvention,4thedition,Basel:HelbingLichtenhahn Verlag.26 TheECtHRhasbeenreluctanttoofferaconcretedefinition of‘civil’rights,inpracticeitsinterpretationseemsconsistent 30 TheapproachoftheCJEUhasgenerallybeentofollowthe withthatoftheUNHRC(seeGeneralCommentNo.32(n.7), reasoningoftheECtHRwithregardtothemeaningoftheright paragraph 16).Seeibid. toafairtrialasageneralprincipleofUnionlaw.Seeforexample27 “InUnionlaw,therighttoafairhearingisnotconfinedtodisputes CJEU,Baustahlgewebe Gmbh,C-185/95,17December1998. relatingtocivillawrightsandobligations.”Thatisoneofthe However,ithasnotbeencommonfortheCJEUtofocusindetail consequencesofthefactthattheUnionisacommunitybasedon uponparticularaspectsofthisright;whereithasdoneso, theruleoflawasstatedbytheCourtofJusticeoftheEuropean thecontextofapplicationhasoftendifferedtothatofthepresent Communities(CJEU),Les Verts v. European Parliament,Case294/83, report.Forinstance,thecaselawoftheCJEUrelatingto 23April1986,ECR1339.ExplanationsrelatingtotheEUCharter thecriteriaof‘reasonabletime’hastendedtofocusuponactions ofFundamentalRights,OJC303/17of14December2007,p. 30, broughtagainsttheUnioninstitutions,whichmayreducetheir availableat:http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ. relevanceforthepresentreport.SeeforexampleCJEU, do?uri=OJ:C:2007:303:0017:0035:En:PDF. Hoechst v. Commission,T-410/03,18June2008,28 Thiscanbeseeninitsreasoningforestablishingthe paragraphs 227-228;CJEU,Limburgse Vinyl Maatschappij principlesofdirecteffect(CJEU,Van Gend en Loos,Case26/62, (LVM) v. Commission and Others,C-238/99P,15October2002, 05 February 1963)andsupremacy(CJEU,Costa v. ENELCase6/64, paragraph 169;CJEU,Chronopost and La Poste v. UFEX and Others, 15July1964),aswellastheconceptofstateliability(Francovich C-341/06P,1July2008,paragraph 45. and Bonifaci v. Italy,CaseC-6andC-9/90,19November1991) 31 OpinionofAdvocateGeneralRuiz-JaraboColomer,CJEU, andtherequirementthatnationalremediesforbreachesof Roda Golf & Beach Resort SL,C-14/08,paragraph29,delivered rightsderivedfromCommunitylawcomplywiththeprinciples on5 March 2009.TheCJdelivereditsjudgmentinthiscase ofequivalenceandeffectiveness(CJEU,Preston v. Wolverhampton on25June2009(notethatthejudgmentdoesnotinclude Healthcare NHS Trust, C-78/98,16May2000). any discussionontheissueofaccesstojusticeraisedby29 Case294/83,Les Verts v. Parliament,No.25,paragraph 23. the AdvocateGeneral). 17
  19. 19. AccesstojusticeinEurope:anoverviewofchallengesandopportunities InstitutionsoftheCommunity.”32Inthiscontext,the Insuchasituation,thenationallegalordermust, CJEUalsoplacedgreatemphasisontherolethat however,complywithtwoprinciples.Thefirstis nationalcourtsplayinthesafeguardingofindividuals’ theprinciple of equivalence:thedomesticprocedural CommunitylawrightsbyrulingthattheTreaty rulesenforcingUnionlawcannotbelessfavourable provisionatissue“producesdirecteffectsandcreates thanthoseappliedtosimilardomesticlawactions. individualrightswhichnationalcourtsmustprotect”. Thesecondisthe principle of effectiveness:the applicationofnationalproceduralrulescannot InitsseminaljudgmentinCosta v. ENELtheCJEU rendertheexerciseofrightsconferredbyUnion furtherheldthattheTEC,nowtheTFEU,hascreated lawvirtuallyimpossibleorexcessivelydifficult.36 “itsownlegalsystemwhich[...]becameanintegral partofthelegalsystemsoftheMemberStates Judgingnationallegalnormsonremediesand andwhichtheircourtsareboundtoapply.”33Itis proceduralandjurisdictionalissuesinthelight alsoimportanttorecognisethecloseconnection ofthesetwoprinciplesisessentiallyamatterof betweeneffectiveprotectionoftherightsofthe contextualcase-by-casedeterminationbydomestic individuals,andtheeffectiveenforcementofUnion courts.Theseprinciplesarecapableofaffecting law,giventhattheconcernofindividualsoftheir arangeofnationalremediesandproceduraland rightsconstitutesanadditionalformofenforcingEU jurisdictionalconditions,suchasdomestictimelimits law.Infact,inCosta v. ENELtheCJEUunderlinedthat andotherlimitationperiods,rulesofevidenceand the“vigilanceofindividualsconcernedtoprotect theburdenofproof,locus standirules,thenational theirrightsamountstoaneffectivesupervision conditionsforreparationoflossanddamage inadditiontothesupervisionentrusted”tothe andarangeofotherremediesandsanctions. EuropeanCommission.InthissenseEUcitizensact likedecentralisedagentscontributingtoanefficient One

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