Survey on the impact of remote legal assistance in police custody in England and Wales

Article by Fair Trials

Fair Trials is looking for lawyers in England and Wales to tell us about your experiences of providing remote legal assistance to suspects in police custody during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The findings of the survey will feed into a research project being carried out by Fair Trials, Northumbria University, De Montfort University and University of Sunderland, which will look at the impact of people receiving legal assistance in police custody via phone and video-link rather than in person.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, police interviews and other interactions in the UK were carried out in person and usually in a police station. Legal assistance (provided free of charge to suspects in police custody) was normally provided in person, with a legal expert meeting their client in person before a police interview and sitting alongside them during the interview. Since March 2020, many lawyers have provided support to suspects by phone or video. Until now, there has been limited research on the impact of this.

The evidence collected during the research will be used to draw up recommendations for any future proposed use of remote interviews, including during future pandemic situations, ensuring standardisation across the global policing and law enforcement community.

Lawyers can fill in and share the survey here:

Click here to read more about the research project.

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