The victim's lawyer has the responsibility to help the victim throughout the criminal proceedings: they explain the different phases of the proceedings and their development, provide advice, inform the victim about their rights and how they can exercise them, and defend the victim’s interests.
The lawyer's role in the proceedings depends on the victim’s own role in the process. To learn more about the role of victims, click here.
- If the victim participates in the process as a witness only, their lawyer can accompany them when the victim’s participation is requested, and may inform the victim of their rights, but cannot intervene.
- If the victim participates in the proceedings as a civil party in order to claim compensation for damages caused by the crime they suffered, it is the lawyer’s responsibility to submit the claim and evidence of harm incurred by the victim, participate in the trial by questioning the defendant, the witnesses and the experts on aspects related to the claim for compensation, and appeal they do not agree with the decision.
- If the victim takes on the role of assistant in the process, it is mandatory that they be represented by a lawyer. It is the lawyer who, for example:
- Presents or requests the collection of important evidence.
- Questions the defendant, witnesses, and experts when participating in the interrogations.
- Appeals against the decisions they do not agree with.
- The victim’s lawyer can also accept or decline the temporary suspension of the process at the end of the pre-trial phase.
It is important to remember that:
If you are a victim of crime and you do not have the financial means to support the costs associated with representation by a lawyer, you can apply for legal aid. To learn more, click here.