On the 27th of September, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published its report ‘Rights in practice: access to a lawyer and procedural rights in criminal and European Arrest Warrant proceedings’. It outlines how member states apply certain key criminal procedural rights in practice.

Protecting the rights of anyone suspected or accused of a crime is an essential element of the rule of law. Such rights include the presumption of innocence until found guilty, the individual’s right to know the reason for their arrest and what they are charged with, and the right to a lawyer. Without safeguards in place to protect these rights, trust in the courts, prosecutors and police authorities who enforce the law can be quickly eroded.

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.

Read the full report on the FRA website.


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