Just culture

Finding the right balance between the aviation, judicial and political authorities.


Operators, irrespective of whether they are front-line operators or not, cannot be punished for actions, omissions or decisions which are commensurate with their experience and training. However, gross negligence, wilful violations and destructive acts cannot be tolerated. This is what Just Culture is about.


Just culture implies growing recognition of the need to establish communication and training initiatives and develop arrangements amongst people working in the aviation safety sector in regulation, law enforcement and the judiciary in order to avoid unnecessary interference and to engender mutual trust in, and an understanding of, the relevance of their respective activities and responsibilities.

In this context, Just Culture is about striking the right balance between the aviation, judicial and political authorities.

EUROCONTROL has put in place a number of  initiatives to promote “Just Culture” at State and international level.

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EUROCONTROL's Just Culture Task Force, its model policy and list of experts

Over the last few years, EUROCONTROL has championed developments in this crucial safety area with a dedicated EUROCONTROL Just Culture Task Force (JCTF). Since 2007, JCTF has been promoting debate about the legal questions relating to safety and justice, to foster and support dialogue between safety and judicial experts, and to develop relevant guidance material and policies in order to support the implementation and dissemination of a Just Culture concept.

The JCTF has developed a “model policy” regarding criminal investigation and prosecution of criminal offences further to the reporting of civil aviation incidents and accidents. The objective of this policy is to provide direction regarding the criminal investigation and prosecution of potential criminal offences resulting from aviation accidents or which come to the attention of prosecutors through the reporting of civil aviation incidents.

EUROCONTROL supports Member States and their judiciaries in finding safety experts trained to assist national prosecutors in such cases. It remains the decision and choice of any prosecutor to avail themselves of an expert from the list, thus leaving them the freedom of action in full respect of the independence of the justice system. If you would like to seek EUROCONTROL’s support in finding aviation safety experts trained in Just Culture principles, please contact us by using the dedicated button below.

Our policy

The Just Culture concept has become a cornerstone of both the Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC)’s and the Network Manager (NM)’s approach to safety where a new Just Culture policy has been introduced.


Together with IFATCA and the ECA, EUROCONTROL has devised and delivered special Just Culture courses for aviation experts and prosecutors. These courses, held twice a year, seek to provide national legal systems with uniform evaluation criteria of the events involving the aviation field, with due regard to the specificities of the various European Union countries.


EUROCONTROL is also committed to organising regional and/or local workshops all over Europe, with the aim of spreading the message of the real essence of the Just Culture concept as widely as possible. These workshops are essentially aimed at the judiciary of the European countries.