Legal aid: Impact assessment of substantial amendments

18-07-2016

This study was requested by the European Parliament's Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) as part of the Parliament's general commitment to improving the quality of EU legislation, and in particular its undertaking to carry out impact assessments of its own substantial amendments when it considers it appropriate and necessary for the legislative process. The aim of this ex-ante impact assessment is to evaluate seven substantial amendments to the Commission’s proposal for a directive on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European Arrest Warrant proceedings, adopted by the LIBE Committee in its report of May 2015. The study concludes that the adoption of these amendments would have a generally positive impact on the fundamental rights of suspects and accused persons. The right to legal aid, and thus, equal access to justice, would be further enhanced. In particular, the ‘practical’ enjoyment of the right of access to a lawyer (Directive 2013/48/EU) by indigent people would be ensured. Overall, the justice systems of the Member States investigated in this study would benefit from the adoption of the legal aid guarantees provided by the amendments. Evidence shows that a well-functioning legal aid system can streamline the proceedings, reduce the length of time suspects are held in police stations/detention centres, and limit the number of wrongful convictions, prison overcrowding and congestion in courts. The amendments would, however, imply certain additional cost burdens for Member States’ administrations. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

This study was requested by the European Parliament's Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) as part of the Parliament's general commitment to improving the quality of EU legislation, and in particular its undertaking to carry out impact assessments of its own substantial amendments when it considers it appropriate and necessary for the legislative process. The aim of this ex-ante impact assessment is to evaluate seven substantial amendments to the Commission’s proposal for a directive on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European Arrest Warrant proceedings, adopted by the LIBE Committee in its report of May 2015. The study concludes that the adoption of these amendments would have a generally positive impact on the fundamental rights of suspects and accused persons. The right to legal aid, and thus, equal access to justice, would be further enhanced. In particular, the ‘practical’ enjoyment of the right of access to a lawyer (Directive 2013/48/EU) by indigent people would be ensured. Overall, the justice systems of the Member States investigated in this study would benefit from the adoption of the legal aid guarantees provided by the amendments. Evidence shows that a well-functioning legal aid system can streamline the proceedings, reduce the length of time suspects are held in police stations/detention centres, and limit the number of wrongful convictions, prison overcrowding and congestion in courts. The amendments would, however, imply certain additional cost burdens for Member States’ administrations. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format