All constitutional orders, whatever their nature, share a commitment to providing a system of justice, which includes protecting the rights and legitimate interests of their citizens within the law. Accordingly, corruption of the system of justice, including access of citizens to justice, is likely to damage the very foundations of the constitution and in turn threaten order and stability.

Access to justice means the provision, either by the state or privately, of mechanisms and institutions:

  • for the fair, impartial, and timely resolution of disputes involving rights or other grievances, and
  • to which anyone alleging the violation of rights or grievances have free, easy, and genuine access.

Researchers on the Justice & Dispute Resolution programme have acquired expertise, and conducted research, in relation to access to justice generally, and with particular reference to anti-corruption and consumer access to justice such as the use of online methods of dispute resolution.

The EU has been engaged for many years in dealing with issues of corruption within the Union and the Member States. One lesson the EU has learnt is that corruption, whatever form it takes, puts risk at order and stability, the maintenance of which are essential to any constitutional order and its system of government.It has learnt that corruption occurs in many forms and in different context and acquired wide practical experience in controlling corruption. It has made significant progress in devising suitable principles and practices for that purpose.

One issue of urgency and rapidly growing importance is access to justice for consumers. These arise within national borders or, increasingly, across national borders.The problem of access to justice for consumers is added to by the rise of commerce generally and in particular of e-commerce, which knows no boundaries.

Traditional forms of redress centred on the courts, still have a role to play, but are no longer an adequate means for resolving the different kinds of disputes characteristic of modern life. The limitations of the judicial process and the wide demand for resolution and redress have led to the development of other mechanism and institutions.The research on consumer redress has provided to the governments and society more comprehensive information, knowledge and advanced experiences of best practice in the global context. In addition this project has also established a platform for the academics, specialists and officials of governments and organisations to discuss current issues on consumer redress and protection and to find best solutions.