If people are interrogated by the police without getting the benefit of legal assistance, this could be a violation of their fundamental right to a fair trial. Since 2008, the court has reiterated the Salduz standard time and time again, in a consistent line of jurisprudence.
These “Salduz” reforms, as they are widely known, are finally taking hold. Faced with a binding law and criticism for failure to fall in line, numerous governments—including France, the Netherlands, Scotland and Belgium—are currently in the process of implementing far-reaching reforms to bring their justice systems in line with the European minimum standards.
The issue of early access to counsel for criminal suspects has gained enormous momentum across Europe in 2011. To keep you abreast of these exciting developments, the Justice Initiative is presenting short “country snapshots”, showing how European countries are changing their systems and giving people who are suspected or accused with crimes the right to speak to a lawyer from the outset of police custody, both before and during the first questioning by police.