Legal Aid Clinic for Prisoners
Criminal Law and Criminology Department of the Faculty of Law, Maastricht University
Our Values and Principles
Commitment: We know that engaging in the promotion of the rights of the individuals involved in the criminal justice system and striving to facilitate legal aid for all legal matters related to rehabilitation requires long-term dedication.
Integrity and transparency: We are body of the Criminal Law and Criminology Department of the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University, and we work independent of political, economic, or sectarian interests. We are open to share, at all times, what we do and how we do it.
Quality and perseverance: We strive for excellence in seeking the means to communicate prisoners’ rights and in demonstrating the added value of initiatives such as that of our Clinic. We recognise this work requires long-term vision and we focus our efforts accordingly.
Continuous learning and creativity: We share skills, knowledge, experiences and perspectives. We learn from each other and encourage innovation and critical thinking. We continually explore different ways to measure the impact of our work and use these lessons to improve future actions.
During the pandemic, defence rights have been frustrated and the prisoners’ position has become even more vulnerable. We support that remote hearings must remain the exception; appropriate technology must become available, in order to allow for proper participation in the proceedings; adequate facilities must be provided for the review of evidence; the presumption of innocence must be protected at all times; (physical) access to a lawyer; access to case files, and access to interpretation services must be guaranteed; judicial review of prosecutions must be exercised promptly and effectively; independent oversight mechanisms monitoring discriminatory practices must be in place; and minor offences must be decriminalized.