The European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA) is a leading group of independent criminal defence lawyers in the Council of Europe

The European Commission is working on a Directive on legal aid. Due to the huge differences in our legal systems it is a very complex but also a very important subject for the citizens of the EU: will they have access to effective legal assistance should they become suspect or accused of a criminal offence?

The ECBA is aiming to be closely engaged in the construction of the draft Directive. It is only through the input of practitioners in the field of criminal law, that the practical effectiveness of any new regulations can be ensured.  For this the ECBA needs to get familiar with the different systems of legal aid as in place in the different Member States of the EU.

The ECBA has prepared a questionnaire and have asked one or two of her members in each jurisdiction to fill it in.

A presentation was given at the ECBA conference in Tallinn and the final results will be presented shortly.