The Supreme Court has announced it will present to the Grand Bench a controversial case concerning the rights of criminal suspects held in detention to meet with lawyers.

The case centers on whether a law that allows prosecutors to limit lawyer interviews with suspects violates the constitutional right of a criminal suspect to be defended by a lawyer.

The Supreme Court’s Grand Bench, which is to decide on the case, is utilized only when opinions on a petty bench are divided, cases involve constitutionality, or the top court hands down new legal interpretations. All 15 Supreme Court justices participate on the Grand Bench.

The court’s decision, announced Tuesday, to move the case to the Grand Bench means it must for the first time rule on the constitutionality of a clause of the Criminal Procedures Law.

The case was filed by two lawyers from Fukushima Prefecture in December 1987 after their request to meet with their client, who had been detained at the Koriyama Police Station in the prefecture, was turned down, according to the court.

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