Choice, Privacy and Publicly Funded Legal Advice at Police Stations
Section 58 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 confers on all suspects held in police custody a right to consult a solicitor in private. The free legal advice which suspects arrested for certain minor offences can request is restricted to telephone advice from a call-centre operated by CDS Direct. It is lawful for the Legal Services Commission to restrict the delivery of legal advice in this way. Empirical research, however, reveals that there are police stations that lack the facilities for suspects to speak by telephone with legal advisers secure in the knowledge that what is said will not be overheard. It is unlawful and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights to expect suspects to speak by telephone to a legal adviser under such conditions.
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