Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights: Does it Really Grant to the Defendant in a Criminal Process a Real and Effective Choice When it Comes to the Defence?

Criminal Procedure Journal Vol 11, Issue 25, March 11, 2016

Posted: 4 Mar 2016 Last revised: 9 May 2019

See all articles by George Hadjikyprianou

George Hadjikyprianou

Ernst & Young Cyprus | EY LAW ; University College London; Leicester Law School

Date Written: February 18, 2015

Abstract

The criminal process by its nature has the potential to affect several of the basic human rights of the individuals involved in it. Consequently, certain international and national human rights instruments deal with the issue of where the balance shall be drawn between on the one hand the right of society to have a criminal justice system which will seek to punish wrongful activities and on the other the protection of the rights of the persons involved. Amongst those international human rights instruments and the one which arguably has the biggest influence in the criminal justice system of the United Kingdom is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

This paper has as its main focus of attention the right of the defendants in a criminal process, to a fair trial, under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). More specifically it seeks to examine whether Article 6(3)(c) grants the defendant in a criminal process a real and effective choice when it comes to the defense of his/her liberty. In doing so an analysis of the underlying jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the relevant issues is provided together with an assessment of whether the recent legal aid cuts which the government of the United Kingdom is ready to announce have the potential to significantly undermine the effectiveness of such a choice. The examination of those issues precedes a thorough examination of the importance of human rights and of the existence of a criminal process in general together with an evaluation of what the general impact of the European Convention on Human Rights on the English criminal process is. The structure used in this paper has as its main purpose to provide the reader with the contextual background of the right to fair trial under Article 6 since it is in the writers strongest belief that only then an adequate examination of the rights under Article 6(3)(c) can be made. Overall, this paper demonstrates that although the jurisprudence of the ECtHR together with the wording of the Article itself constitute a “shield” for the effectiveness of the rights under Article 6(3)(c), the upcoming legal aid cuts have the potential to significantly undermine such effectiveness and possibly to constitute a violation of the Convention.

Keywords: ECHR, Criminal Process, Article 6, Fair Trial, Article 6(3)(c), Accused, Legal Aid Cuts, Liberty, Defence, Defendant, European Convention on Human Rights, Freedom, Rights

JEL Classification: K00, K1, K14

Suggested Citation

Hadjikyprianou, George, Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights: Does it Really Grant to the Defendant in a Criminal Process a Real and Effective Choice When it Comes to the Defence? (February 18, 2015). Criminal Procedure Journal Vol 11, Issue 25, March 11, 2016 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2690702 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2690702

George Hadjikyprianou (Contact Author)

Ernst & Young Cyprus | EY LAW ( email )

36 Agias Elenis Street
Galaxias Building, Block B - 6th Floor
Nicosia, 1061
Cyprus

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Leicester Law School ( email )

University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
453
PlumX Metrics