Analysis on access to a lawyer during the first hours of custody in Mexico

Monday, April 1, 2019

The APT is pleased to announce the publication of its new document "Access to a lawyer during the first hours of custody in Mexico - A Situation Analysis". The document analyses the implementation of the right of access to a lawyer in the first hours of detention in Mexico, identifying the main obstacles and gray areas as well as ways forward that may contribute to reduce the gap between law and reality.

The study was carried out between August and December 2018, as part of a project that seeks to contribute to closing the gap that exists between law and practice in Mexico and to guarantee that all persons deprived of liberty have access to a lawyer in the first hours of detention. The document focuses on the first hours of custody and, in particular, on arrests in flagrante delicto, that is, from the moment the police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office detain a person until he or she is brought before the judge. In particular, the study focused on the implementation of the right of access to a lawyer in Mexico City and in the states of Nuevo León and Oaxaca.

The methodology used for the study included a desk review, questionnaires addressed to the 32 State Public Defender’s Offices of the country and interviews with key actors, including authorities, human rights institutions and civil society. Together with the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), an expert meeting was also held in November 2018 in Mexico City, whose conclusions are included in the present study. The event brought together a wide range of participants from several Mexican states, including public defenders, public prosecutors, representatives of the NPM, civil society organizations, judges, representatives of law enforcement agencies and state human rights commissions. .

Based on this study, in the following months the APT will continue to promote the effective implementation of the right of access to a lawyer in Mexico. A partir de este análisis, en los próximos meses la APT seguirá trabajando para promover la implementación efectiva del derecho de acceso a un/a abogado/a en México.

The APT conducted this study as part of a project funded by the Ford Foundation.