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“My lawyer, my Rights”, report on children access to lawyers

The HFHR has published a report prepared as part of the European project “My lawyer, my Rights” designed to map children access to a defence lawyer in juvenile justice proceedings and criminal proceedings.

The study included interviews with 13 experts in the areas of social rehabilitation, human rights, criminal proceedings and children’s rights, 6 children staying at juvenile institutions and 5 lawyers representing children in criminal proceedings and juvenile justice proceedings. The report also features a review of legal provisions on children’s right to criminal defence, an overview of the phenomenon of juvenile delinquency and anti-social behaviour as well as the characteristics of legal representation presented from the three perspectives, namely those of lawyers, experts and children themselves. The document’s summary includes recommendations regarding legislation and practice.

“It is impossible to discuss the fairness of criminal proceedings and juvenile justice proceedings that involve children without referring to their right to a defence. This right exists and is real only if an individual has the opportunity to talk with a lawyer, from the very moment they start to be processed by law enforcement authorities”, reads the report. Unfortunately, as the interviews with children show, their attorneys are not always willing to hear what the children are saying. “The attorney did not understand anything. He didn’t ask anything. He was saying something to the court but not to me”, interviewers learned during an interview.

HFHR’s report can be downloaded from here.

Country reports from other organisations participating in the project are available here.


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