EU MEPs Vote for Strong Safeguards for the Right to a Lawyer

August 01, 2012 - 5:40pm

A Committee of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted to support European Commission proposals on giving anyone arrested in the EU the right to a lawyer. The draft measure, as approved by the MEPs on July 10, would give anyone suspected or accused of a criminal offence in the EU the right to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible, and before police questioning starts. It would also give suspects and accused persons the right to inform someone of their choice (family, or an employer) of their arrest, as well as their consulate if they were outside their country. The text adopted by the MEPs’ vote retains most of the key protections contained in an earlier proposal published by the European Commission in June 2011. This paves the way for negotiations to begin with the European Council with a view to a first-reading agreement.