Due Process Rights Before EU Agencies: The Rights of Defense

This Faculty Working Paper has been updated and posted within the Faculty Scholarly Works Series. It is currently available here.


This Article discusses the procedural safeguards that have been recognized in the EU and the parallels between procedural due process in the United States and the rights of defense in the EU. It compares these respective rights and safeguards and explains how U.S. and EU procedures for agency adjudications are converging. Part II sets out the fundamental principles of American due process and EU right to be heard jurisprudence. Part III provides a detailed analysis of the rights of defense in the EU and highlights how this bundle of rights parallels the rights to notice and opportunity to be heard in the United States. Part IV discusses four of the significant components of the rights of defense: adequate notice, the opportunity to make one's views known to the administration, the right of access to documents in the administration's files, and the requirement of reasoned decisions. The Article concludes that notwithstanding the infrequent utilization of adversarial hearings in EU administrative adjudications, the procedural safeguards provided in adjudicative proceedings before the Commission and EU agencies satisfy the U.S. conception of procedural due process. These procedures are essential for protecting and maintaining the rule of law in the EU, as well as in the United States.