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Publication

Effective legal assistance in pre-trial detention decision-making

Regional handbook for lawyers

October 8, 2019 - Pre-trial detention, right to a lawyer
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The decision to order pre-trial detention is one that carries grave consequences for the defendant and places them at a significant procedural disadvantage. The very fact of being in custody adds significant hurdles to organising the defence.

The right to a lawyer is an essential safeguard in criminal proceedings, which enables the exercise of other fair trial rights. A lawyer’s presence at the early stages of criminal proceedings helps a suspect to understand the legal situation and the consequences of choices made at this crucial stage.

In order to support the effectiveness of the legal assistance that suspects or accused persons receive during the pre-trial stages, Fair Trials and four partners from Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary and Greece, started a new project in 2017 entitled “Effective Legal Assistance in Pre-Trial Detention Decision-Making”. The project partners are Bulgaria: Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC); Greece: Centre for European Constitutional Law (CECL); Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC); Romania: Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania – the Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH); and Italy: Associazione Antigone (Antigone).

This handbook is structured in accordance with the different stages of pre-trial detention decision-making, from police custody to judicial review hearings of pre-trial detention orders. Recognising the crucial role of lawyers in the pre-trial decision-making process, the objective of the handbook is to offer lawyers guidance on the relevant regional standards to address legal, procedural and cultural barriers to effective representation in the pre-trial detention decision-making process and encourage the use of alternatives to pre-trial detention.

Access the handbook in different language versions here:

 

This project was funded by the European Union’s Justice Programme (2014–2020). The content of the publications represents the views of the authors only and is their sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

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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