Welcome to EmpRiSe project pages

We are an international research project which aims at improving the policy discourse around the right to silence in criminal proceedings in the European Union.

About Us

Our Project

The EmpRiSe (‘Right to silence and related rights in pre-trial suspects’ interrogations in the EU. Legal and empirical study and promoting best practice’) project seeks to examine the issues surrounding the implementation, in law and in practice, of the right to silence and other relevant rights, such as the right of access to a lawyer and to legal aid, and the right to information and access to material evidence, at the investigative stage in four jurisdictions: Belgium, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands.

Our Activities


We carry out socio-legal research into the meaning of the right to silence and the consequences of its exercise, in law and in practice, at the investigative stage of criminal proceedings in the four participating jurisdictions: Belgium, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands. We also examine the relationship between the right to silence and other rights, such as the right to information and to legal assistance.


We engage with national and EU policy-makers, judicial councils and Bar Associations to bring nuance into the current political discourse on the right to silence. We challenge popular assumptions about (guilty and innocent) criminal suspects and police interrogations. We provide advice on how to effectuate the ‘nemo tenetur seipsum accusare’ principle in everyday criminal justice practice.


We provide training, in the train-the-trainer format to criminal defence lawyers with the goal of equipping them with practical strategies to ensure better enforcement of the right to silence at the investigative stage. We deliver training to judges, which aims at raising awareness of implicit assumptions concerning defendants who choose to remain silent, and the influence of these assumption on judicial decision-making.

Quick facts

Did You Know?

Only between 3 and 5 percent of criminal suspects refuse to respond to all police questions about the alleged offence, according to various studies looking into how often the right to silence is used at the investigative stage.

The level of comprehension of the right-to-silence caution among average adults is between 4 and 50 procent depending e.g. on its verbal complexity, according to different studies.

The comprehension levels are lower among former suspects, and they do not correlate with the experience of arrests.



  • Closing webinars of EmpRiSe project
    On 28-29 June 2021 we held two successful webinars, which marked the end of the EmpRiSe project. The webinars, attended by about 100 participants, brought together academics, policy-makers and practitioners to discuss issues around the protection of the right to silence in police interrogations from an interdisciplinary perspective and investigate possibilities for an EU action. The first webinar discussed the national findingsContinue reading “Closing webinars of EmpRiSe project”
  • EmpRiSe Ireland Report
    The right to silence is a constitutionally protected right in the Irish legal system and is a critical component of the right to a fair trial. Its rationale is linked to the broader concept of the presumption of innocence, ensuring that the burden is on the state to prove that an individual has committed anContinue reading “EmpRiSe Ireland Report”
  • EmpRiSe Panel at SLSA 2021 Conference
    On 31 March 2021 the EmpRiSe project team (Professor Yvonne Daly, Diletta Marchesi and Dr Anna Pivaty) presented the preliminary results of the empirical research in the Netherlands and Ireland viewed against the background of our comparative legal findings from Belgium, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands in a pre-arranged panel ‘Police Interrogations: The Guilty SoundContinue reading “EmpRiSe Panel at SLSA 2021 Conference”

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The project is implemented by Maastricht University (Netherlands), Antwerp University (Belgium), Dublin City University (Ireland) and Leuven University (Belgium).