The right to a lawyer and the right to legal aid is increasingly seen as a vital component of a fair and accessible justice system, and necessary for redressing situations where rights are denied or violated. Fairness and accessibility of the justice system are especially important for the individuals subject to criminal proceedings. They justly expect to understand and the charges against them, and to effectively exercise their right to defence.
The access to judicial proceedings may be impeded if such persons are denied access to a qualified legal advice or such access is reserved exclusively to the ones who have enough funds to pay for it. In the recent years, the European Union made a number of steps to strengthen procedural rights for suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings, including by adopting a directive on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings.
This study aims to assess how the right of access to a lawyer and the right to legal aid in criminal proceedings, as provided for in the EU directives and recommendations, have been implemented in Lithuania. It is a part of a larger regional project, aimed at determining the impact of secondary EU laws in the EU member states and the quality of its implementation in the everyday life.