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NEWS

Short Update: French Emergency law - impacts on criminal law and criminal procedure

Under emergency legislation (passed on 23 March 2020) an Order was issued on criminal law and procedure. This applies for the duration of the state of emergency (currently, to 25 June 2020). 

Key changes include: (a) suspending limitation periods on criminal prosecutions; (b) doubling of period allowed to file appeals and relaxing rules on filing; (c) allowing documents to be sent by electronic means; (d) hearings may take place in closed courts or public access may be limited; (e) lawyers may assist detainees during hearings by telephone or other confidential electronic means. 

The Order includes several concerning powers automatically to extend periods of detention. Powers were also created to allow certain prisoners with less than two months of their sentence remaining to serve the rest of their sentence at home. 

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