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NEWS

Short Update: Courts remain closed in France and access to a lawyer is restricted due to COVID-19

FairTrialsAdmin - April 15, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Access to a lawyer, Court closures, Remote Justice

All courts in France remain closed, except for specific applications which have to be made in person. Some courts are allowing for various formalities and actions to be made via email or fax, even if the legal provisions specifically require the defendant or his/her lawyer to come in person. But as it is determined on a case by case basis for the time being, it is very uncertain.     

Access to a lawyer is necessarily restricted due to the present circumstances, as lawyers, like all others, are asked to remain confined. It was announced that during police custody, assistance via videolink would be permitted, the specific provisions in that respect are not yet known.   

In Paris, the Bar council decided to stop appointing state-paid lawyers (commissions d’office) as they stated that no measures had been taken by courts to effectively protect lawyers (no masks, no gel, etc.). This could potentially lead to defendants not being assisted by a lawyer. 

In this sense, it is expected that videoconference would be extended to the whole of criminal proceedings, from police custody to the hearing. 

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected]  

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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