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Improving the protection of fundamental rights and access to legal aid for remand prisoners in the European Union

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Principal(s): 
European Commission
DG Justice & Consumers
Year: 
2017 to 2019
Budget: 
508 898.00 €
Promoter(s) IRCP: 
Vincent Eechaudt
Tom Vander Beken
Summary: 

The project aims at strengthening judicial protection of fundamental rights of remand prisoners in the EU and promoting harmonisation of national legislations in the field of access to rights and to court for remand prisoners. To reach these objectives the project will :

- collect data on main characteristics as to access to legal aid, and as to mechanisms of access to rights and to a lawyer given by institutions and NGO in the EU
- carry empirical studies on the impact of national mechanisms aimed at enabling real access to court in 9 countries (DE, BE, BG, ES, FR, IT, CZ, NL, PL)
- carry a diachronic study of legal aspects within European law and EU paperwork concerning prison conditions of remand prisoners
- make recommendations to national bars on intervention of lawyers in prison
- develop digital resources facilitating access to rights and the intervention of a lawyer.

The persons benefiting from the project are national bars from the 28 member states, and the population of remand prisoners in the EU (ca. 155 000 pers. at a given date). Through these activities :
- the performance of national systems of legal aid available to remand prisoners will be analysed;
- best practice in terms of access to rights and to legal aid for remand prisoners will be promoted;
- the inclusion in European law of procedural obligations regarding legal aid for remand prisoners will be promoted
- a digital juridical library will be set up
- a monitoring body in charge of the issue of access to legal aid for remand prisoners will be formed.

Produced outputs :
- 1 questionary to national bars
- 1 survey on European law regarding access to rights and legal aid
- 9 national studies on the state of legislation and real access to court
- 1 state of the art on available digital resources for detainees and lawyers
- 1 online final report on mechanisms of access to rights and legal aid for remand prisoners in the EU
- 1 internet information portal (9 languages)
- 1 final conference

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De studie heeft als doel de toegang tot juridische bijstand voor gedetineerden in lidstaten van de Europese Unie in kaart te brengen. Bestaand onderzoek in EU-lidstaten toont aan dat de toegang tot juridische bijstand wanneer men zich in een gevangenis bevindt onderling sterk kan verschillen, zowel op het vlak van regelgeving als in de praktijk. Dit leidt er toe dat in de EU fundamentele rechten geschonden worden en dat de toegang tot een rechter niet overal in de EU in de zelfde mate verzekerd kan worden, ondanks het toezicht door het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens en de introductie van EU-wetgeving. De studie dient de consolidatie en harmonisatie van het recht op juridische bijstand en de toegang tot de rechter voor gedetineerden doorheen de EU te verzekeren.

keyword(s): 
prison, access to legal aid, access to justice, pre-trial prisoners, fundamental rights, mutual recognition, cooperation in criminal matters