Procedural Safeguards - Measure C

Press release from the Council of the European Union - 7 October 2013

Please click here to read the press release.

Please click here to read the press release.

Enhanced rights for accused persons agreed by Irish Presidency

The Irish Presidency today secured agreement with the European Parliament on a new Directive which guarantees those suspected or accused of a crime the right to access a lawyer.
The proposed Directive aims to set common minimum standards on the rights of suspects and accused persons in criminal and European Arrest Warrant (EAW) proceedings throughout the European Union to have access to a lawyer and to have a third party informed when they have been detained.  Enhancing the rights of citizens and the rule of law is an important priority of Ireland’s Presidency. Read the full Presidency programme.

Minister Shatter – “This measure is a further step to ensuring common standards in criminal proceedings across the EU. These standards are essential to ensuring mutual trust between Member States and the protection of the rights of all our citizens.”
Welcoming the agreement Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter said:
“Procedural rights and the rule of law are at the very heart of justice systems across the EU.  We can only be certain of achieving fair and robust judicial decisions where the rights of the accused are adequately protected. This measure is a further step to ensuring common standards in criminal proceedings across the EU. These standards are essential to ensuring mutual trust between Member States and the protection of the rights of all our citizens.”
This proposal is one of a number of measures forming part of the procedural rights roadmap which was adopted in the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November 2009.  The Roadmap invited the Commission to bring forward legislative proposals on various procedural rights of suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings, including the measure agreed today.  Other measures under the Roadmap concerning the right to information and the right to interpretation and translation have already been adopted.

The Presidency’s agreement with the European Parliament will now have to be confirmed by the Council and by the European Parliament before the measure is adopted. (29 May 2013)

The Irish Presidency today secured agreement with the European Parliament on a new Directive which guarantees those suspected or accused of a crime the right to access a lawyer. The proposed Directive aims to set common minimum standards on the rights of suspects and accused persons in criminal and European Arrest Warrant (EAW) proceedings throughout the European Union to have access to a lawyer and to have a third party informed when they have been detained.  Enhancing the rights of citizens and the rule of law is an important priority of Ireland’s Presidency.
Read the full Presidency programme.

Minister Shatter – “This measure is a further step to ensuring common standards in criminal proceedings across the EU. These standards are essential to ensuring mutual trust between Member States and the protection of the rights of all our citizens.” Welcoming the agreement Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter said: “Procedural rights and the rule of law are at the very heart of justice systems across the EU.  We can only be certain of achieving fair and robust judicial decisions where the rights of the accused are adequately protected. This measure is a further step to ensuring common standards in criminal proceedings across the EU. These standards are essential to ensuring mutual trust between Member States and the protection of the rights of all our citizens.”

This proposal is one of a number of measures forming part of the procedural rights roadmap which was adopted in the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November 2009.  The Roadmap invited the Commission to bring forward legislative proposals on various procedural rights of suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings, including the measure agreed today.  Other measures under the Roadmap concerning the right to information and the right to interpretation and translation have already been adopted.

The Presidency’s agreement with the European Parliament will now have to be confirmed by the Council and by the European Parliament before the measure is adopted. (29 May 2013)

Click here for the joint NGO briefing of 15 April 2013 submitted to the EP (Rapporteur and shadows) and to the Council ahead of the trilogue on Wednesday, 17 April, by  Amnesty International, European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA), Fair Trials International, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, JUSTICE and Open Society Justice Initiative.

The situation is very serious because there is a concrete danger that the negotiations in the trilogue of EC, EP and Council emerge as a bad compromise weakening the fundamental rights of EU citizens in criminal proceedings.

After the discussions and the very critical General Approach of the Council in June 2012 the Proposal’s text was seriously eroded, setting its reach back to a level that lead the ECBA to consider that it would be preferable to have no Directive at all than having the text resulting from the discussions in the Council. The last hope to attain a satisfactory text is the European Parliament. Meeting its role as the voice of the European citizens, the EP adopted the LIBE report drafted by Oana Antonescu. This report was strongly endorsed by the ECBA since it strived to establish a high standard of protection of the citizens’ rights. We still back and support strongly the Parliamentarians in the current trilogue who are fighting for the fundamental rights of citizens in the EU who are legally guaranteed presumed to be innocent. The most crucial points are: no questionning without access to a lawyer; no exception in terms of absolute confidentiality of defence communication as a suspect’s right (to distinguish from legal privileges of lawyers); no exclusion of minor offences (whatever „minor“ means); „double“ defence in EAW cases in executing and issuing state; remedies. 

 

Dual representation

Click here for a presentation on this issue as presented by Vânia Costa Ramos, ECBA Advisory Board Member on 16 May 2013 at the ERA conference 'Making Legal Remedies More Efficient'.

Please click here for the progress report (3 December 2012) on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and on the right to communicate upon arrest [First reading].

The ECBA is extremely concerned about the General Approach of the Member States agreed on 8 June 2012.

The rapporteur of the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament (Ms Antonescu) and the MEPs that are backing her report of 7 February 2012 deserve respect and support in their political fight for the Directive. It is a fight for fundamental rights of innocent European citizens.

Therefore the ECBA has prepared a 2nd Statement on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Right of Access to a Lawyer in Criminal Proceedings and on the Right to Communicate upon Arrest. This Statement will been sent to the Commissioner Mrs Reding and the Ministers of Justice of the Member States.

Please click here for the ECBA Statement and here for the Draft Text Revised by the Council per 31 May 2012 (Council Document 10467/12).

October 2012: You will find the latest text on Measure C following discussions in the first and second trilogue meeting below (click on text and comments).

The text (DS 1650/12) is from the Council Presidency and has been sent to members of the Council (Member States).  It includes comments on the positions taken by the Commission and the Parliament and the paper includes various options for Member States to consider.

JOINT STATEMENT OF NINE ORGANIZATIONS ON MEASURE C1

Please click here to find a joint statement (7 May 2012) addressing the Council of the European Union’s revised text of the Directive on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and on the right to communicate upon arrest. This joint statement makes recommendations for amendments to the revised text, in order to ensure that any resulting Directive upholds the minimum human rights standards for fair trials. This statement has been sent to the Council of the European Union, and the Presidency Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Committee of the European Parliament European Commission, DG Justice.

This joint statement was prepared by the following nine civil society organizations:

Open Society Justice Initiative
European Criminal Bar Association
Fair Trials International
Justice
Irish Council for Civil Liberties
Hungarian Helsinki Committee
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland
Greek Helsinki Monitor
Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Lithuania

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Directive on Measure C of the Roadmap.
The ECBA welcomes the European Commission’s proposal to guarantee suspects’ rights to speak with a lawyer and to inform others of their arrest, however they urge the Member States to also consider the need for guarantees of legal aid for those who are not able to pay for legal assistance.
To read our Press Release, please click here.

For the revised text from 9 March 2012 click here

Please click here for an open letter from 29 September 2011 regarding the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the rights of access to a lawyer and of notification of custody to a third person in criminal proceedings, which is jointly submitted by:

Irish Council for Civil Liberties
JUSTICE
Fair Trials International
Open Society Justice Initiative
Amnesty International, European Institutions Office
European Criminal Bar Association 

To read our Statement sent on 16 September 2011 to all Ministers of Justice of the EU Members States, the Permanent Representatives in Brussels and the Members of the Parliament click here.

For the reply of the Minister of Justice of Romania, Mr. Predoiu click here.

For the reply of the Ministry of Justice of Spain (only available in Spanish), click here.

The draft Directive is available in English at
http://ec.europa.eu/justice/policies/criminal/procedural/docs/com_2011_326_en.pdf

The European Commission Impact assessment accompanying the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the rights of access to a lawyer and of notification of custody to a third person in criminal proceedings is now available at:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SEC:2011:0686:FIN:EN:PDF.

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and on the right to communicate upon arrest - Note by Belgium / France / Ireland / the Netherlands / the United Kingdom - please click here to access the note.

For the document regarding the state of play on Measure C from 21 October 2011 (2011/0154 (COD)) please click here.

Click here for the RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL of 30 November 2009 on a Roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings
(Text with EEA relevance) (2009/C 295/01) 

Click here for the COMMISSION STAFF WORKING PAPER on IMPACT ASSESSMENT
accompanying the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the rights of access to a lawyer and of notification of custody to a third person in criminal prodeedings.