The Dutch Government has moved to strengthen access to legal advice in criminal cases

The Dutch Government aims to enhance access to free legal assistance in criminal cases by introducing new regulations, requiring suspects to receive information from a lawyer about consequences before waiving their right to consultation assistance, a move supported by the Netherlands Bar Association (NOvA). This legislation addresses concerns where suspects could previously waive legal assistance without lawyer consultation.

While endorsing the bill’s objectives, the NOvA advises the government to ensure sufficient availability of lawyers, particularly for those on duty, to meet increased demand. Additionally, the proposal extends free legal assistance to minors and vulnerable adult suspects, appointing them lawyers for consultation and interrogation. However, the NOvA urges the minister to consider extending this provision to summoned adult non-vulnerable suspects in specific cases, ensuring those lacking resources are not denied legal aid.

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