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Key EU terms: A

19 February 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 19 February 2010

A list of key EU legal terminology: A


Access to justice

One of three priorities set out by the EU to enable individuals and companies to exercise their rights in a Member State other than their own. Other priorities are mutual recognition of judicial decisions and increased convergence in procedural law.

Acquis communautaire


The entire body of legislation of the European Communities and Union, of which a significant body relates to justice and home affairs. Applicant countries must accept the acquis before they can join the EU.


Administrative infringements

Failure to comply with the administrative requirements of a State: under the EU Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, national authorities can cooperate to secure prosecutions for an administrative infringement in any EU Member State.


Alternative Dispute Resolution: extra-judicial procedures used for resolving civil or commercial disputes.


Anti-Fraud Information System: terminals in Member States through which information in the customs information system (CIS) is accessed.




A core principle of European Community law, meaning the shaping of national rules in a comparable way throughout the European Union in order to meet common objectives.


Intervention of a third party to solve a civil or commercial dispute under the alternative dispute resolution methods being developed by the EU.


An EU action programme for administrative cooperation in the fields of external borders, visas, asylum and immigration.


In the event that an EU citizen is arrested while outside the EU, he or she has the right to seek assistance from any EU Member State embassy, if his or her own country is not represented.


Examples of areas in which the EU provides for assistance to its citizens are access to help from any EU embassy while outside the EU and legal aid in cross-border litigation.


Asylum is a form of protection given by a State on its territory based on the principle of 'non-refoulement' and internationally or nationally recognised refugee rights. It is granted to a person who is unable to seek protection in its country of citizenship and/or residence in particular for fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

Source: European Commission - Justice and Home Affairs

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