equality of arms

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A concept that has been created by the European Court of Human Rights in the context of the right to a fair trial (Article 6). Equality of arms requires that there be a fair balance between the opportunities afforded the parties involved in litigation (for example, each party should be able to call witnesses and cross-examine the witnesses called by the other party). In some circumstances this may require the provision of financial support to allow a person of limited means to pay for legal representation (Airey v Ireland (App no 6289/73) [1981] ECHR 1).

Subjects: Law.

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