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Publication

Position paper on legal aid

May 13, 2015 - LEAP, legal aid, legal experts advisory panel

Working with Fair Trials, The Legal Experts Advisory Panel (‘LEAP’) has published a position paper on the proposed directive establishing provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings, which was proposed by the European Commission in November 2013 (the Proposed Directive). The Proposed Directive represents a key step forward under the Roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings (“the Roadmap”). The provision of legal aid for anyone who cannot afford legal representation is necessary to ensure that all suspects and accused persons can enjoy their rights under the Directive on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and European arrest warrant Proceedings (the “Access to a Lawyer Directive”), irrespective of their financial resources. Further, the eventual adoption and implementation of a directive on legal aid will help to ensure a level of rights protection that will enhance mutual trust and recognition in judicial cooperation, and promote human rights standards in the EU. However, the Proposed Directive does not assure this level of rights protection at present. Fair Trials and LEAP have made recommendations to ensure that the proposed Directive, informed by the Commission’s Recommendation on the right to legal aid, provides an effective level of protection for the right to legal aid which addresses current concerns from across the EU. The new position paper on legal aid can be accessed here.

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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