Directorate-General for Justice was created on July 1 2010, following the division of the former Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security into two separate Directorates-General. At the same time, Ms Francoise Le Bail, the Director-General for DG Justice, took office.
The Directorate-General consists of four directorates – Civil Justice, Criminal Justice, Fundamental Rights and Union Citizenship and, since January 2011, the directorate for Equality.
Justice, fundamental rights and citizenship policies are based on Europeans' most cherished values and principles, such as democracy, freedom, tolerance and the rule of law.
In today's Europe, millions of citizens are involved in cross-border situations - either in their private lives, through their work or studies, or as consumers.
The creation of the Directorate-General Justice reflects the new opportunities of the Lisbon Treaty to improve the everyday lives of EU citizens. We offer practical solutions to cross-border problems, so that citizens feel at ease about living, travelling and working in another Member State and trust that their rights are protected no matter where in the European Union they happen to be.
To this end, the Directorate General seeks to:
- Promote and enforce the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: such as personal data protection, the rights of the child, the rights laid down in Chapter VI of the Charter, like the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial, as well as the rights of persons belonging to minorities.
- Coordinate and promote policy developments to combat discrimination on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. Promote awareness on gender equality and non-discrimination. Coordinate policy developments in respect of the Roma.
- Enhance citizenship by promoting and protecting citizens' rights in their daily lives, ensuring they fully benefit from European integration, in particular from the right of free movement within the European Union.
- Develop the European area of justice, based on mutual recognition of judicial decisions, mutual trust between justice authorities achieved through common rules and by building on the legal traditions of the EU Member States.
- Ensure legal certainty and a level-playing field for citizens, consumers and businesses (especially small and medium-sized businesses) in enforcing their rights within, and across, national borders, and developing citizen's access to justice through e-justice.
- Strengthen the single market for cross-border transactions by a better harmonisation of consumer, contract and marketing laws, by developing an EU contract law and by reducing procedural obstacles.
- Develop a coherent criminal policy for the EU based on mutual recognition of judicial decisions, approximating substantive and procedural criminal law, enhancing mutual trust between criminal justice authorities, and strengthening Eurojust and combating fraud against the financial interests of the Union by means of criminal law.
- Develop a global, coherent and balanced drugs policy.
- Engage in a close dialogue with the EU institutions and national Parliaments on the development of sound justice policies.
- Engage with our partners in non-EU countries and international organisations, as the political objectives outlined above cannot be fully achieved without a strong external dimension and support.
For more information you can refer to the programme website http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/justice/index_en.htm