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A year ago, the Constitutional Council declared the system of garde à vue (preliminary police custody) partially unconstitutional, in particular because it did not sufficiently guarantee suspects' defence rights. The law that came into effect on June 1 2011 aims to restrict the number and length of gardes à vue and strengthen suspects' defence rights. It could also impact on proceedings involving gardes à vue that took place prior to June 1.
France is in the midst of a debate over a proposed law reforming its garde à vue (preliminary police custody) procedure. However, even though the current system is heavily criticised, it appears that only modest reform is likely. Although the draft law passed by the National Assembly meets certain EU and constitutional requirements, exceptions remain to allow the right to legal assistance to be deferred.