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From law to practice: Strengthening procedural rights in police custody (ProRPC)

The EU legal instruments in the area of procedural rights in criminal proceedings are an important source of minimum standards for protection against arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and other human rights violations throughout the EU. However, research has demonstrated that even if appropriate legislative measures are taken this does not mean that the requirements of the EU Directives on procedural rights are adequately implemented in practice.

The project aims to fill the gaps in the practical implementation of the EU procedural directives by applying the recommendations from the previous project “Inside Police Custody 2: An empirical study of suspects’ rights at the investigative stage of the criminal process in nine EU countries“ (2018), ensuring the exchange of best practices and developing effective strategies for the implementation of the recommendations and good practice examples together with the relevant actors.

The project contributes to an effective and human rights-compliant application of EU procedural directives and thus to strengthening mutual trust in the legal systems of the Member States. The results of the project will help to develop initiatives to strengthen the practical implementation of the directives.

Focus areas:

  • Access to a lawyer
  • Right to legal aid
  • Right to information (including the Letter of Rights)
  • Audiovisual recordings
  • Procedural rights of children



The overall aim of the project is to fill gaps in the practical implementation of the EU procedural directives. This is to be achieved in concrete through the following objectives:

Elaboration of good practice examples
Even if good practices have been identified, they do not yet contain the necessary degree of technical specificity nor do they sufficiently emphasize the relevance for state and non- state actors. They also need to be more carefully differentiated in terms of target groups (such as children). There is therefore a need to better understand and illustrate the concrete challenges of introducing and implementing good practices and their direct and indirect benefits for suspects, national authorities and other relevant actors.

Engaging key stakeholders in the reform efforts
Even where good practices have been identified, their implementation requires the involvement of relevant stakeholders. This commitment is a key element of this project. Moreover, efforts to find practical solutions will only be successful if they address the challenges practitioners face in their daily lives.

Involving civil society organizations
Civil society organizations across the EU have extensively researched the implementation of procedural rights, identified best practices and developed recommendations. They are therefore ideally placed to facilitate reforms by supporting national policy-makers and practitioners in the decision-making process. However, a clear understanding of the role of civil society organizations in change processes is still needed.




EU, mainly Austria, Spain, Romania and Ireland
Persons involved: 

Nora Katona, Giuliana Monina, Helmut Sax

Project Advisory Board

Marine Braun, Edward Lloyd-Cape, Ivar Fahsing, Gwen Janssen 

External Consultants: 

Walter Suntinger and Moritz Birk, Systemic Consultants

Contact persons: 
Lead Organisation: 
Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Grund- und Menschenrechte
Partner organisations: 
Rights International Spain (Spanien), APADPOR-CH (Rumänien), Irish Council for Civil Liberties (Irland), Fair Trials Europe (Belgien)
Project start: 
Project end: 
Funded by: 
Co-funded by the Justice Programme of the European Union
Human Dignity and Public Security

Co-funded by the Justice Programme of the European Union (2014-2020)