Police Custody: Legal Opinion

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 16th September 2021.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure legal defence practitioners are able to provide in-person attendance to all suspects in police custody.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, The Solicitor-General

In April 2020 the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), Crown Prosecution Service, The Law Society, Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association and London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association agreed a joint protocol to facilitate the provision of remote legal advice for suspects being interviewed under caution in police stations during the pandemic. As a contingency measure, the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) agreed temporarily to pay for remote police station work as if it were provided in person.

From 17 May 2021 children under 18 and vulnerable adults were removed from the scope of the protocol and receive in-person advice.

The protocol is expected to be modified further shortly, at which point legal advice will be provided in person at a police station and in interview other than in rare and extraordinary circumstances (as defined in a revised protocol).

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