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Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Procedural Safeguards for Children Who Are Suspects or Accused Persons in Criminal Proceedings

Council of the European Union



The directive is another step taken by the EU towards establishing a full catalogue of procedural rights for suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings. However, the document in question includes various important additional safeguards specific to children involved in criminal proceedings.

The underlying purpose of this legislative act is to ensure that children in conflict with the law are correctly protected, able to understand, follow the proceedings and  exercise their right to a fair trial, and, in broader strokes, to prevent children from re-offending and foster their social integration. Additionally, this directive aims to strengthen the trust of Member States in each other’s criminal justice systems and thus improve mutual recognition of decisions in criminal matters. 

The main novelty of the directive has to do with the role of lawyers in relation to suspected or accused children. Member States shall ensure that children are assisted by a lawyer where necessary, by providing legal aid, unless assistance by a lawyer is not proportionate in light of the circumstances of the case. Other important conditions outlined by the directive concern the provision of information on rights, and the rights to an individual assessment, to a medical examination and to audio-visual recording of questioning. It also provides special safeguards for children deprived of their liberty, in particular during pre- and post-trial detention.


Thu, 04/21/2016


European Union

Year Language

2016 English

Category Type

International Texts Code of conduct


Court, Criminal, Good practices, Judicial, Juvenile, Law, Legislation, Prosecution, Public policies, Rights


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  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Armand Campenhout, nº 72 bte 10. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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