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5 Right to Counsel

From: The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law

Amal Clooney, Philippa Webb

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 18 September 2021

Legal representation, right to — Derogations — Human rights remedies — Choice of counsel — Right to self-representation — Waiver — Remedies — Remedies and costs

This chapter addresses the right to counsel, an important, non-derogable right designed to prevent miscarriages of justice when a defendant faces a state that has greater resources, powers, and access to evidence. Under international human rights law, the right to counsel encompasses five main components: the right to be notified of the right to the assistance of counsel; the right to prompt access to qualified counsel, paid for by the state if the defendant is indigent; the right to choose counsel; the right to communicate confidentially with counsel; and the right to act as one’s own counsel. International bodies have defined the broad scope of protection that is afforded to defendants in broadly consistent terms, but the chapter highlights divergences relating to the right to represent oneself, and the circumstances under which international bodies will find that counsel has not been ‘effective’ in a given case.

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