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Year 2014 x
Article

Access_open Legal Advice in Police Custody: From Europe to a Local Police Station

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2014
Keywords legal advice, police interrogation, European Union, England and Wales, France
Authors Anna Ogorodova and Taru Spronken
AbstractAuthor's information

    In October 2013, the European Union adopted a Directive, which guarantees, inter alia, the right of access to a lawyer to suspects of criminal offences from the outset of police custody and during police interrogation. However, adoption of the relevant legislation is not sufficient to ensure that this right becomes effective in practice. A range of practical measures will have to be taken by the Member States’ authorities and the legal profession to effectuate the implementation of the right to custodial legal advice. This article aims to identify the practical factors that may influence the implementation of the Directive, based on the findings of a recent normative and empirical study conducted by the authors. The research was carried out in four European jurisdictions (England and Wales, France, the Netherlands and Scotland), and it consisted of analysis of regulations, observations of daily practice in police stations, accompanying lawyers who provided custodial legal advice, and interviews with criminal justice practitioners. The article provides a range of recommendations on the practical measures to be undertaken by the EU Member States and national Bar associations aiming at improving the protection of suspects’ rights in police custody in practice.


Anna Ogorodova
Anna Ogorodova, LLM is PhD researcher at the University of Maastricht.

Taru Spronken
Dr Taru Spronken is Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at Maastricht University and Advocate General at the Supreme Court in the Netherlands.

    The Versailles Treaty (Art. 227) called for the prosecution of Wilhelm II, the German ex-Kaiser. Because of the refusal of the Dutch Government to surrender Wilhelm, a trial never took place. This paper tries to elaborate some questions concerning this possible trial. What was the background of the said Treaty paragraph? What would have happened when Wilhelm had been surrendered? Based on a report of a special committee to the peace conference, the possible indictment is discussed. The authors try to elaborate some thoughts for answering the question about Wilhelm’s criminal responsibility, especially as author of the war (‘ius ad bellum’) by starting an aggressive war and/or by violating the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg. Wilhelm’s possible responsibility for violations of the ‘ius in bello’ (laws and customs of war) in Belgium, France, and Poland and/or by ordering an unlimited submarine war is discussed as well. It is concluded that it would have been very difficult for the tribunal to have Wilhelm find criminal responsible for the indictment, except for the violation of the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg. But then, the tribunal would have been obliged to answer fundamental questions about the command responsibility of Wilhelm. From a point of view of international criminal law, it is rather unfortunate that the unique opportunity for a ‘Prologue to Nuremberg’ was not realised, although a trial would not have made history take a different turn than it did in the twentieth century after the ‘Great War’.


Paul Mevis
P.A.M. Mevis is professor of criminal law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Prof. Mevis wrote before ‘De berechting van Wilhelm II’, in J. Dohmen, T. Draaisma & E. Stamhuis (ed.), Een kwestie van grensoverschrijding. Liber amicorum P.E.L. Janssen (2009), at 197-231.

Jan M. Reijntjes
J.M. Reijntjes is professor of (international) criminal law at the University of Curaçao.
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