Tuesday 18 December 2007, by Schutter (de) Olivier
This briefing note defines the contribution of courts and independent human rights institutions (including both ombudsperson and national human rights institutions) to the protection and promotion of fundamental rights at the national level, and how the tasks these actors fulfill fit into the framework of the protection of fundamental rights in the EU legal order.
The note is divided in three sections. First, it describes the position of national courts, taking into account the requirements which follow from the case-law of the European Court of Justice, which insists on the obligation of the EU Member States to provide remedies sufficient to ensure effective legal protection in the fields covered by Union law. However, for a number of reasons, courts may not be adequately equipped to effectively protect fundamental rights, since these require also the establishment of preventive mechanisms (addressing, ex ante, the risk of violations) functioning on the basis of more liberal rules relating to standing, and mechanisms providing remedies to victims in non-judicial, but more accessible and flexible, settings.
Therefore, the second section of the note reviews the contribution of both ombudspersons’ institutions and national human rights institutions established according to the 1991 Paris Principles to the protection and promotion of fundamental rights in the EU Member States. Finally, the third section of the note offers a number of conclusions, by relating these mechanisms existing at national level – both judicial and non-judicial – to the future role of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency.
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