Studio Neetje — € Before the Law,-

Published: Thursday 12th November

Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights begins thusly: “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence”.

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The presumption of innocence is a valuable asset in our justice system. If I’ve noticed anything in the years that I’ve been working as a courtroom sketch artist, it is the fact that anyone can come into contact with the law. You don’t have to have bad intentions.

But hiring a lawyer is expensive. Are you struggling to make ends meet? Then the Dutch government can partly subsidise legal aid. But now Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker is introducing questionable changes in the system that subsidises legal aid. Budget cuts that enlarge inequality.

The result is that very minimal compensation remains for lawyers who work for this vulnerable group. The workload is high, there is a lot of overtime, and a large number of these lawyers are considering quitting.

If this continues, it will be very difficult to fight for your rights, unless you have deep pockets.

• Neetje - € Before the Law,-

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