Directive on the Right of Access to a Lawyer and to Communicate Upon Arrest

For the past two years the EU Institutions have been considering the adoption of the third measure on a Roadmap to strengthen procedural safeguards for suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings. The proposed directive on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and on the right to communicate upon arrest (Measure C1) aims to provide comprehensive and binding rules that the EU member states must implement regarding when and how suspects and accused persons in criminal cases shall have access to a lawyer. The measure also covers access to consular officials when abroad and contact with relatives or friends. JUSTICE, together with a number of prominent NGOs, has been following the progress of this instrument closely and preparing briefings to call for the strongest rights provision. It is expected that the Directive will be adopted by the end of June, with three years then allowed for implementation. At this stage, the UK has not opted in to the measure, but can do so at any time once it is adopted.