Ensuring access to justice
The respect of fundamental rights in the EU must be effective. This means that when a person’s rights are violated, he or she has the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal.
The right to an effective remedy is enshrined in Article 47 of the Charter. It ensures that in case of violations of rights guaranteed by EU laws, individuals can go before a court to claim that their rights are respected.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also establishes that in all judicial proceedings concerning EU laws, everyone has the right to a fair trial: “A fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law and that everyone should have the possibility of being advised, defended and represented”.
The European Parliament has contributed to the development of the rights of persons who are suspects or accused in criminal proceedings so that they have the same minimum procedural safeguards in all Member States.
- The principle of presumption of innocence should be respected, and suspects or accused persons should be able to understand what is happening in criminal proceedings and have the right to interpretation and translation.
- They should also be informed of their rights when they are brought to justice and should have access to a lawyer. Legal aid should be made available to those who lack sufficient resources.
- In the case of children who are suspects or accused in criminal proceedings, additional safeguards apply.
- The rights of victims should also be protected throughout the EU. Recent legislation adopted by the European Parliament and the Council will ensure that victims of crimes are treated with respect and receive proper protection, support and access to justice.
EU law pays special attention to specific groups of victims such as children, victims of trafficking in human beings and victims of terrorism.