Legal Aid

The ECBA has long campaigned that there are no real procedural rights to defendants and accused persons, without access to a lawyer to advise on and assert those rights on behalf of the individual.

In order to ensure access to justice and a lawyer, there is also a need for access to free legal advice through availability of legal aid. In particular, where there are increasing mutual recognition instruments, there is generally a need for advice in both the issuing and executing states to ensure that procedural safeguards are not breached.

Measure C of the Roadmap of Procedural Safeguards introduced by the Stockholm Programme is “Legal Advice and Legal Aid”.

The ECBA was involved in advising the Commission and gathering information to assist in the drafting of this proposal.

The ECBA was also involved in various projects related to legal aid, including the current project with Justice on legal aid in European Arrest Warrant cases.

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Rapporteur: Cornelis de Jong

Please click here for the document.

Please click here for the ECBA comments and recommendations following the proposed instruments on legal aid (part of the five proposals in the field of procedural safeguards) published by the European Commission in November 2013.

The ECBA had already published its position paper “ECBA Touchstones - Minimum Standards for the right to Legal Aid” (click here for the document  or see below)  in June 2013, in anticipation of the proposal for a directive on legal aid.

Both papers are a result of intensive and careful consideration of the European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA) working group on Legal Aid composed of ca 10 practitioners from different jurisdictions all over Europe.
It was sent to Mrs Reding, Vice-president and Commissioner responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship and to Oliver Tell, Director Unit B.1, Directorate General Justice on 12 May 2014.