Bringing directives on procedural rights of the EU to police stations

Date01 September 2017
Published date01 September 2017
Subject MatterAnalysis/Opinions
Bringing directives on
procedural rights of the EU to
police stations: Practical training
for criminal defence lawyers
Violet Mols
Antwerp University, Belgium; Maastricht University, the Netherlands
Although national laws implementing Directive 2013/48/EU on the right of access to a lawyer
provide a legal framework, the protection of the rights of suspects must be carried out by defence
lawyers in their day-to-day practice. National legal frameworks may be internally inconsistent or
may fall short of European Union requirements. Research shows that, for these or other reasons,
defence counsels may encounter a variety of difficulties in fulfilling their role at police interviews,
which often leads them to adopt a passive approach. An approach focused on adherence to new
regulations appears insufficient to prepare lawyers for this role. It is essential that lawyers are given
practical tools to effectively fulfil their role, especially where regulations do not provide any gui-
dance. To this end, a new practical training programme has been developed and piloted in four
countries, with these initial experiments providing promising results.
Access to a lawyer, interview of a suspect, legal assistance, training
On 1 March 2017, Directive 2013/48/EU on the right of access to a lawyer (hereinafter – the
Directive) effectively entered into force in most European Union (EU) countries.
Directive strengthened the rights of criminal suspects in order to obtain (effective) legal
Corresponding author:
Violet Mols, Antwerp University, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium; Maastricht University, Minderbroedersberg
4-6, 6211 LK Maastricht, the Netherlands.
1. With the exception of Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, which have opted out of the Directive Official Journal
of the European Union (OCJ) 2013 L 294/1.
New Journal of European Criminal Law
2017, Vol. 8(3) 300–308
ªThe Author(s) 2017
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/2032284417723421

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