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From the Brussels office

17 September 12

Recent EU developments, including access to legal advice in criminal cases; anti-counterfeiting

Committee promotes access to lawyer

On 10 July the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament voted on its report concerning the proposal for a draft directive on the right of access to a lawyer and on the right to communicate on arrest. The rapporteur now has a mandate to enter into trialogue discussions with the other institutions with a view to securing a first-reading agreement. The European Parliament has provisionally scheduled a plenary vote for 21 November 2012. The Council adopted its general approach on 8 June. Contentious issues include the inclusion and scope of derogations on the right of access to a lawyer and on lawyer-client confidentiality.

The proposed directive is the third step in the EU’s procedural rights framework in criminal proceedings. The first two measures, giving EU citizens the right to interpretation and translation and the right to information about rights (“letter of rights”), have already been adopted.

Anti-counterfeiting rejection

At the beginning of July, MEPs declined to give the consent of the European Parliament to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. This decisive rejection, by 478 to 39 votes, came amidst attempts to delay the vote until the Court of Justice of the European Union had ruled on the Agreement’s compatibility with EU law. This move by MEPs was widely anticipated, with five parliamentary committees having already voted to refuse to give the necessary parliamentary consent. MEPs are now expected to encourage the European Commission to propose EU-wide legislation on digital piracy.

 

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