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Document 32016L0800

Criminal proceedings — procedural safeguards for children who are suspected or accused of crimes

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Criminal proceedings — procedural safeguards for children who are suspected or accused of crimes

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive (EU) 2016/800 on procedural safeguards for children who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

  • It establishes procedural safeguards* for children* who are suspected or accused of a criminal offence. The safeguards are in addition to those which apply to suspected or accused adults.
  • It is the fifth in a series of measures to establish minimum rules for procedural rights across the European Union (EU) in accordance with a 2009 Roadmap.

KEY POINTS

The key elements of the directive are that children have the right of access to a lawyer and the right to be assisted by a lawyer. The assistance by a lawyer is mandatory when they are brought before a court to decide on pre-trial detention and when they are in detention. A child who has not been assisted by a lawyer during the court hearings cannot be sentenced to prison.

EU countries must also ensure that deprivation of liberty, and in particular detention, is imposed on children only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period. Children who are detained should be held separately from adults, unless it is considered to be in the child’s best interest not to do so.

The directive also includes other safeguards, such as the right to:

  • be promptly informed about their rights and about general aspects of the conduct of the proceedings;
  • have information provided to a parent or another appropriate adult;
  • be accompanied by that person during court hearings and at other stages of the proceedings;
  • an individual assessment by qualified personnel;
  • a medical examination if the child is deprived of liberty;
  • protection of privacy during criminal proceedings;
  • appear in person at trial;
  • effective remedies*.

Judges, prosecutors and other professionals who deal with criminal proceedings involving children should have a specific competence or access to specific training.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It has applied since 10 June 2016. EU countries have to incorporate it into national legislation by 11 June 2019.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

* KEY TERMS

Procedural safeguards: in this case, safeguards that ensure that children are provided with the necessary information to understand how the procedure works and their legal rights.

Children: people below the age of 18.

Effective remedies: the means by which a court enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes another court order to impose its will.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive (EU) 2016/800 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on procedural safeguards for children who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings (OJ L 132, 21.5.2016, pp. 1–20)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Directive 2010/64/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings (OJ L 280, 26.10.2010, pp. 1–7)

Directive 2012/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 on the right to information in criminal proceedings (OJ L 142, 1.6.2012, pp. 1–10)

Directive 2013/48/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and in European arrest warrant proceedings, and on the right to have a third party informed upon deprivation of liberty and to communicate with third persons and with consular authorities while deprived of liberty (OJ L 294, 6.11.2013, pp. 1–12)

Directive (EU) 2016/343 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings (OJ L 65, 11.3.2016, pp. 1–11)

last update 28.11.2016

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