The Salduz bis law coming in on Sunday should be better accepted than the first draft, which came in in 2012. From now on, people suspected of a crime that could lead to a jail sentence can ask for assistance from a lawyer during a hearing, even if they are not in jail. This would be whatever the prison term handed down. “We acted a little in haste, but now everything is sorted, the plans are ready”, Muriel Clavie explained on Friday. She is a judicial help coordinator and Salduz coordinator for Avocats.be.
Training and information sessions have been planned. “We need to change mentalities so that lawyers are prepared to do everything required. This especially applies in cases that involve children (as they can no longer refuse the help of a lawyer)”, Muriel Clavie said. The lawyer has said it is possible that several suspects could find themselves without a lawyer over the next few days, as no volunteer is available. But they can ask for their hearing to be delayed.
“Not every suspect will ask for a lawyer, even if they’re allowed one. I don’t think the number of requests will dramatically increase”, she added.
Muriel Clavie thinks police officers could have more practical difficulties than lawyers, as they will have more formalities to check. Despite this, “there is now much more real collaboration with police compared to 2011”, she said.
Lawyers are worried about the impact of the Salduz bis law on the judicial aid budget. “The number of judicial aid requests will increase, that’s a certainty. Difficult to say by how much, but I don’t think the increase will be huge”, Muriel Clavie. She hopes that the promised complimentary budget will still be available.
Maria Novak (Source: Belga)