Proposal to guarantee citizens’ rights to access a lawyer formally adopted

Proposal to guarantee citizens’ rights to access a lawyer formally adopted

Following the approval by the European Parliament on 10 September, the Council of Ministers has formally adopted today the proposal of the European Commission guaranteeing the right of all citizens in the EU to be advised by a lawyer when facing criminal proceedings. In practice, this means that all suspects – no matter where they are in the European Union – in future will be guaranteed the right to be advised by a lawyer from the earliest stages of proceedings until their conclusion. Where a suspect is arrested, the new rules would ensure that the person has the opportunity to communicate with their family. If they are outside of their home country, citizens would have the right to be in contact with their country’s consulate.

The law will be published in the EU’s Official Journal within weeks, after which Member States will have three years to implement it in national law