Rights in practice. Access to a lawyer and procedural rights in criminal and European arrest warrant proceedings

European Union Publications Office
Publication date:


Protecting the rights of anyone suspected or accused of a crime is an essential element of the rule of law. Courts, prosecutors and police officers need certain powers to enforce the law – but trust in the outcomes of their efforts will quickly erode without effective safeguards. Such safeguards take on various forms, and include the right to certain information and to a lawyer. This report looks at how these key criminal procedural rights are applied in practice. It is based on interviews with over 250 respondents in eight Member States, including judges, prosecutors, police officers, lawyers, staff of bodies that monitor prisons, as well as defendants. In highlighting diverse challenges, the report aims to spur efforts to ensure that criminal procedural rights are applied both effectively and consistently throughout the EU.

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