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UK right not to adopt EU justice measure - Lords Committee

Publish date: 02 May 2012
Issue Number: 3025
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: Legislation

European Union (EU) laws setting minimum rights for defendants and victims are in the interests of British citizens, but the UK Government was right not to sign up to a Lisbon Treaty proposal guaranteeing suspects access to a lawyer, a committee of peers has said.

According to a Law Gazette report, the Lords Justice and Institutions EU sub-committee reported that British citizens, who are 'accustomed to high standards of legal protection at home', may find themselves with fewer rights than they would expect in their own country, the report says. The report follows the committee's inquiry into the growing body of EU criminal justice legislation and its likely effect on British citizens, during which it heard evidence from the Law Society and the Bar Council. The committee welcomed the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, which put in place 'road maps' of planned legislation to secure defendants' and victims' rights. However, it accepts that there are problems in incorporating the rules into the UK's criminal law systems and agrees with the government that the proposal for access to a lawyer in the current road map proposal would be 'too disruptive for the UK criminal justice systems', supporting its decision not to opt in, the report notes. Full Law Gazette report Lisbon Treaty