Second Regional Consultation “Access to a Lawyer”
In Bucharest, experts discussed how a defence for all suspects in police investigations can be legally and practically anchored.
As part of the EU-wide consultation series of the project “From Law to Practice: Strengthening Procedural Rights in Police Custody”, the second regional consultation with the thematic focus on the “Right to Access to a Lawyer” took place in Bucharest from Tue, 17 May 2022- Wed, 18 May 2022. The project, implemented by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights (LBI-GMR) and partner organisations from Spain, Romania, Ireland and Belgium, aims at strengthening the rights of suspected persons in the early stages of criminal proceedings.
The consultation provided an opportunity for criminal justice actors and academics to exchange views through presentations and discussions. The topics discussed included:
- good practice examples
- implementation difficulties with regard to a speedy and effective provision of legal aid
- benefits of specialisations of lawyers
- appointment procedures
- essential elements of an effective defence
In view of the importance of lawyers for securing and enforcing the rights of the suspects, the participants came to the conclusion that these and all other actors in criminal law should be given incentives (including financial) in order to legally and practically anchor a necessary defence for all suspects in police custody. As long as waiving legal assistance is allowed, it should only be possible after an initial consultation with a lawyer. To ensure that all persons, regardless of income, have access to adequate legal aid, a functioning legal aid system is also essential.
The launch consultation on the Right to Information (Vienna, Tue, 5 April 2022 – Wed, 6 April 2022) and the consultation on Access to a Lawyer (Bucharest, Tue, 17 May 2022- Wed, 18 May 2022) will be followed by consultations on Legal Aid (Madrid, Tue, 21 June 2022- Wed, 22 June 2022) and Audiovisual Recordings (Dublin, Mon, 18 July 2022 – Tue, 19 July 2022).