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Legal Assistance for Accused and Victims in Austrian Pre-Trial Criminal Proceedings

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Author(s): Alois Birklbauer | Richard Soyer | Christoph Weber

Journal: Beijing Law Review
ISSN 2159-4627

Volume: 03;
Issue: 04;
Start page: 213;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Pre-Trial Criminal Procedure | Legal Assistance | Accused | Victim | Law in Practice

ABSTRACT
Based on two research projects this paper evaluates the legal assistance for accused and victims in pre-trial criminal proceedings in Austria after the implementation of a revised law on pre-trial proceedings in 2008. The research projects combined legal and empirical research. The project for scientific evaluation of the realization of the criminal procedure reform law (PEUS) analysed approx. 5000 pre-trial files and has additionally conducted 85 interviews with police officers, prosecutors, judges and lawyers. The results of the empirical research provide insight into which extent in practice in Austrian criminal proceedings the accused has access to legal advise. The paper comes to the conclusion that by strengthening victims’ access to legal representation in Austrian criminal proceedings in numerous cases the actual division of power to influence the proceedings has shifted from the accused to the victim.
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