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Judging the Charter

The Charter in judicial practise with a special focus on the case of protection of refugees and asylum seekers

Article 47 Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial


Everyone whose rights and freedoms guaranteed by the law of the Union are violated has the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal in compliance with the conditions laid down in this Article.

Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law. Everyone shall have the possibility of being advised, defended and represented.

Legal aid shall be made available to those who lack sufficient resources in so far as such aid is necessary to ensure effective access to justice.


The first paragraph is based on Article 13 of the ECHR. However, in Union law the protection is more extensive since it guarantees the right to an effective remedy before a court. The Court of Justice enshrined that right as a general principle of Union law. According to the Court, that general principle of Union law also applies to the Member States when they are implementing Union law. The inclusion of this precedent in the Charter has not been intended to change the system of judicial review laid down by the Treaties, and particularly the rules relating to admissibility for direct actions before the Court of Justice of the European Union. The European Convention has considered the Union's system of judicial review including the rules on admissibility, and confirmed them while amending them as to certain aspects, as reflected in Articles 251 to 281 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular in the fourth paragraph of Article 263. Article 47 applies to the institutions of the Union and of Member States when they are implementing Union law and does so for all rights guaranteed by Union law.

The second paragraph corresponds to Article 6(1) of the ECHR. In Union law, the right to a fair hearing is not confined to disputes relating to civil law rights and obligations. That is one of the consequences of the fact that the Union is a community based on the rule of law as stated by the Court in Case 294/83, ‘Les Verts’ v European Parliament (judgment of 23 April 1986, [1986] ECR 1339). Nevertheless, in all respects other than their scope, the guarantees afforded by the ECHR apply in a similar way to the Union.

With regard to the third paragraph, it should be noted that in accordance with the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, provision should be made for legal aid where the absence of such aid would make it impossible to ensure an effective remedy. There is also a system of legal assistance for cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Official Journal of the European Union C 303/17 - 14.12.2007

Related Legal Documents

Asylum Procedures Directive 2013/32/EU (Recast)

Council decision of 22 September 2015 on relocation

Directive on access to a lawyer and to have a third party informed 2013/48/EU

Directive on procedural safeguards for children 2016/800

Directive 2016/343 on the presumption of innocence

Directive on the right to interpretation and translation 2010/64/EU

Directive on the right to information 2012/13/EU

Directive 2016/1919 on legal aid

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Related Exercises and Training Materials

Actiones - Handbook Module 3 Right to an Effective Remedy

Actiones - Handbook Module 5 Asylum and Migration

Actiones - Handbook Module 7 Criminal Law

Actiones - Handbook Module 4 Consumer Protection

The application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to asylum procedural law

An Introduction to the Common European Asylum System for Courts and Tribunals. A Judicial Analysis

Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration

Applicability – Yes or no? Entry refusal decision based on state security grounds

Applicability - Yes or no? Right to be heard in return proceedings

Case study - Transfer under Dublin regulation – appeal procedures

Case study - Exclusion from being refugee under secret evidence

Case Study - Ensuring the Effectiveness of EU Law

Case Study - In Custody Forever?

Case Study - The Agreement with the Prosecutor

Case Study - No Lawyer for those who cannot be held criminally liable?

Case Study - An American in Custody in Austria

Directives on Access to a Lawyer and on Procedural Safeguards for Children

Directive on Legal Aid - Presentation

Case Study - The Lawyer of the Absent

Case Study - The Statement of the Minor

Case Study - Legal Aid

Case Study - Presumption of Innocence

Case Study - Procedural Safeguards for Children