Police arrest/Assistance of a lawyer

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The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly held that the right of any person charged with a criminal offence to be effectively defended by a lawyer is a fundamental element of a fair trial


  • Possibility of restrictions


While accepting the possibility of restrictions the European Court of Human Rights held that, in the context of application of the 1987 Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act, it was of paramount importance for the rights of the defence for an accused to have access to a lawyer at the initial stages of police interrogation.


E.C.H.R., 25.01.1996, John Murray v. the United Kingdom



  • Pressure exerted in the absence of a lawyer


The European Court of Human Rights found a violation of Article 6 § 1 taken together with Article 6 §3(c) where the applicant had not had the benefit of access to a lawyer who could play the customary role of “counterweight” to the intimidating atmosphere in which he had been held while in police custody, and the statements he had made at that time had been central to his conviction.


E.C.H.R., 06.06.2000, Magee v. the United Kingdom



  • Even though the applicant kept silent in custody


The applicant, who was charged with, and subsequently convicted of, being a Hezbollah member, did not have the assistance of a lawyer while he was in police custody.


The European Court of Human Rights held that that restriction (systematic, as it was prescribed by the relevant provisions of Turkish law) of the right of an individual deprived of his liberty to have access to a lawyer was sufficient for it to be able to conclude that there had been a violation of Article 6, even though the applicant had remained silent while in police custody.


E.C.H.R., 13.10.2009, Dayanan v. Turkey



  • Applican's waiver of a lawyer (no violation)


Where the applicant’s waiver of the right to be assisted by a lawyer has been free and unambiguous, the European Court of Human Rights found that there is no violation of Article 6 §§1 and 3(c).


E.C.H.R., 23.02.2010, Yoldas v. Turkey