The Right to Custodial Legal Assistance in Europe: In Search for the Rationales

Anna Pivaty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Following national transposition of procedural rights' Directives, various EU and domestic authorities would need to interpret their provisions, including those concerning the right to custodial legal assistance. To inform this interpretation, account must be taken of the relevant ECtHR case law. However, many of the Directives' provisions are so unclear, and the ECtHR approach is so inconsistent, that to achieve a coherent interpretation, it appears necessary to first identify the principles behind this right. This article examines these principles, in the form of rationales, from the theoretical, jurisprudential, and EU law perspectives. It concludes that the right should be conceived as grounded in a range of rationales, notwithstanding an alternative view that it serves (only) to protect the privilege against self-incrimination. The article fleshes out the consequences of this conclusion for interpreting some of the relevant Directives' provisions, and for criminal defence practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-98
Number of pages37
JournalEuropean Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • right of access to a lawyer
  • custodial legal assistance
  • EU procedural rights' Directives
  • Salduz
  • criminal defence practice
  • LAW


Dive into the research topics of 'The Right to Custodial Legal Assistance in Europe: In Search for the Rationales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this