Friday 1 July 2016

Handbook on European Law on Access to Justice

After an early Summer break, I am back at posting on here. Europe's institutions may be under a lot of pressure, but at least cooperation between the European guardians of human rights is still working. The EU's Fundamental Rights Agency and the European Court of Human Rights have just launched together the 'Handbook on European law relating to access to justice'. It is available in online open access format, not just in English, but also in French. Versions in several other language will follow. This is the editors' summary:

Access to justice is an important element of the rule of law. It enables individuals to protect themselves against infringements of their rights, to remedy civil wrongs, to hold executive power accountable and to defend themselves in criminal proceedings. This handbook summarises the key European legal principles in the area of access to justice, focusing on civil and criminal law.

The handbook seeks to raise awareness of the relevant legal standards set by the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe, particularly through the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights. The handbook is designed to serve as a practical guide for lawyers, judges and other legal practitioners involved in litigation in the EU and in Council of Europe member states, as well as for individuals who work for non-governmental organisations and other entities that deal with the administration of justice.

The publication focuses principally on civil and criminal law. It covers such issues as a fair and public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal; legal aid; the right to be advised, defended and represented; the right to an effective remedy; length of proceedings; and other limitations on access to justice. It also examines access to justice in selected areas: victims of crime; people with disabilities; prisoners and pre-trial detainees; environmental law; and e-justice.