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New FRA report on access to justice in cases of discrimination in the EU

December 6th 2012
The Fundamental Rights Agency launches a report looking at some of the practical barriers that people who have been discriminated against face when accessing justice.
The new publication "Access to justice in cases of discrimination in the EU – Steps to further equality" supplements a 2011 FRA legal report, which analyzed national court cases.

Outline of the report

The new report gives a wide overview of the various models of access to justice in cases of discrimination across the EU. To account for the diversity in the systems concerning history, structure, scale and institutional mandate, countries from different European regions were analyzed. The research comprised 371 in-depth interviews, conducted in eight EU Member States - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. Interviews were conducted with persons who had brought a complaint on discrimination grounds, as well as some interviews with persons who had decided not to pursue a complaint further. In addition, lawyers, representatives of NGOs providing advice and support to complainants and representatives of equality bodies were interviewed.

The key issues addressed in the report:

- What are the obstacles for those who have been discriminated against to gain access to justice?
- What incentives exist to encourage potential complainants to try to access justice when warranted?
- What are some of the concrete measures taken to improve access to justice in EU Member States?

Overview of outcomes

The FRA findings reveal what appear to be systemic shortcomings in accessing justice in the EU. These relate to structures and procedures used to claim fundamental rights, as well as to issues of practical support for victims. For instance, almost half of the complainants interviewed said that they were not provided with any institutional support on how to lodge a complaint. Furthermore, the political and social climate was described to be hostile towards many of the groups experiencing discrimination and also towards measures that aim to combat discrimination. FRA findings indicate a great need for improvement in service provision in order to grant better access to justice. The findings will be useful in the EU’s upcoming review of its non-discrimination legislation as well as for EU Member States pursuing reform of their institutions (among others equality bodies).

Note that today, FRA will also launch Fundamental Rights Charter app for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

Download the full FRA report or factsheet below.

FRA 2012 report "Access to justice in cases of discrimination in the EU"
FRA 2012 report "Access to justice in cases of discrimination in the EU"
FRA 2012 factsheet "Access to justice in cases of discrimination in the EU"
FRA 2012 factsheet "Access to justice in cases of discrimination in the EU"