'The Right of Access to a Lawyer in Europe: A Long Road Ahead?'

This article explores the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings as a fundamental right in the European area. After noting the divergence of national legal systems in respect to the scope and practical exercise of this right, it discusses the ECtHR’s recent case-law on Article 6(3) c of the Convention and the EU-Directive, which was recently adopted. The lengthy debate over the Commission’s ambitious Proposal has highlighted five major issues, which are critically addressed in the text: time and scope of the right of access to a lawyer, derogations, confidentiality of communications, remedies, European Arrest Warrant proceedings. The article concludes that the Directive, though less strong than desirable in some respects, is a step forward on the long road to achieving effective defence in Europe.

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