International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

ACCESS TO JUSTICE AS HOPE IN THE DARK IN SEARCH FOR A NEW CONCEPT IN EUROPEAN LAW
M. Elvira Méndez Pinedo

Abstract
This study elaborates on the concept of “access to justice” and analyses it in the framework of European law.2 It complements existing research in the field of EU law by offering a broad overview of the concept in European human rights law and in international law. This exercise is necessary to build a new and better concept in European law. The author argues that the concept commonly used in EU law is not broad nor comprehensive enough as access to justice is understood in a limited way as equivalent to access to courts and effective judicial remedies. It is argued that a new concept is needed in European law which goes beyond formal aspects of procedural law and reflects better all stages of the justice process, such as awareness, information, rights and remedies, A second necessary dimension is to move from formal justice towards substantive justice and aim for legal and judicial outcomes that are just and equitable, thus reconciling law and justice together. By providing a higher firm standard that EU and Member States must comply to we will serve the real needs of citizens and the true purpose of the law. Revealing the shortcomings of the concept in EU law is not an end in itself, the ultimate aim of this contribution is to pave the way for the construction of a new theory and methodology on access to justice in Europe.

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