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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)