EU Charter on Fundamental Rights

The protection of fundamental rights has formed a core pillar of the general principles of EU law since the establishment of the European Community.   All members of the EU are required to respect the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights became binding in December 2009 when the Lisbon Treaty came into force.   It codifies the rights which bind the member of the Union and its institutions in the making of law, policy and practice within the range of its activities.

The EU Charter offers a wider set of rights than the European Convention on Human Rights and, where rights overlap with the Convention, the Court of Justice of the European Union has used it in some circumstances to provide greater protection.

Where an issue is within the scope of EU law, the Charter has direct effect in the UK by virtue of the European Communities Act 1972.

JUSTICE works to help support a better understanding of the EU Charter for our members, providing regular training and briefing on its scope and application by courts in the UK and by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Its provisions inform each of the distinct strands of our work;  from research on the operation of the European Arrest Warrant and its compatibility with the Charter in European Arrest Warrants: Ensuring the best defence, to providing in-depth briefing on new European legislation for MEPs, MPs and Peers.   Where relevant, the Charter informs our work on third party interventions in the UK courts, highlighting, for example, where case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union might assist domestic judges in their consideration of an issue.