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    Workshops at ECBA Conferences

Strengthening suspect's right in pre-trial proceedings through practice-oriented training for lawyers. 

The ECBA is an Associate Partner in the SUPRALAT project.

The SUPRALAT-project specifically aims to:

  • Develop a practice-oriented training programme for lawyers, that focuses on proceedings in the police detention stage, and pilot it in four EU Member States. The selected Member States are Belgium, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands.
  • Advocate for practice-oriented training on facilitating suspects’ rights in pre-trial proceedings to become part of professional training curricula for criminal lawyers in EU Member States.
  • Contribute to the exchange of best practices on facilitating the rights envisaged in the Directives among lawyers across the EU.
  • As a result of SUPRALAT-project, to which the ECBA is partner, we will organise a workshop in which we will test/simulate a part of the innovative training program, intended to equip lawyers with the necessary skills to effectuate the rights of suspects at the early stages of the criminal proceedings in practice.

The project contributes to the implementation of newly-adopted EU Directives on suspects’ procedural rights – and especially the Directive on the right of access to a lawyer – in EU Member States.

To learn more about the project, please visit the website: www.salduzlawyer.eu

SUPRALAT workshop at the bi-annual ECBA conference in Prague

On 21 April, members of the SUPRALAT team (Rebecca Heemskerk, Anna Pivaty and Taru Spronken) delivered a workshop for members of ECBA to demonstrate parts of the SUPRALAT training program.

Specifically, the workshop focused on active and effective representation during suspect interrogation by the police. Active and effective legal representation during police interrogation is the requirement of the EU Directive on the Right of Access to a Lawyer, which entered into force on 26 November 2016.

Another goal was to stimulate a reflective approach to one’s professional practice. This involves raising awareness of one’s motives for making certain professional choices, own professional style, and the underlying values.

The workshop was hosted by the Czech Bar Association in its headquarters in Prague, a beautiful 18th century Baroque building. It was attended by lawyers from the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Germany, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

The workshop programme consisted of interactive exercises: discussion of a video fragment of an interrogation, and a roleplay. In the roleplay, participants were asked to reproduce an actual interrogation - based on an authentic case scenario – by playing the roles of the police, suspect and a lawyer. The roleplay was then analysed by the group using reflective and self-reflective skills.

The workshop highlighted once again the need for a practical, (self-)reflective approach to training criminal defence lawyers in the EU. Only a minority of the workshop participants had experienced this kind of training in the past. Yet, all participants agreed that this type of training was critical for the development of effective defence and representation skills.

As one participant noted: “Even experienced lawyers like me have a lot to learn from being thrown into an interrogation situation. We all know in theory what is active defence. Being active in practice – for example, knowing how to spot and stop unfair interrogation tactics - is quite different.”

The SUPRALAT training program will be available for dissemination across the EU in October 2017.