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Fair Trials produces toolkit to assist with the right to presumption of innocence

editor - June 13, 2017 - Presumption of innocence

Everyone, no matter who they are, or what they’ve been accused of, is innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, the presumption of innocence is under threat, now more than ever. This was recognised in 2015 when the EU agreed a Directive on the Presumption of Innocence.

14593554_1183417811702155_2070181837_nThe presumption of innocence is a fundamental right and key element at the heart of fair trial rights protection under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights (‘ECHR’) and Article 48 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as in in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a number of other international treaties and covenants.

Fair Trials have produced a toolkit, which aims to help the reader identify areas where current or proposed national law fails to meet the requirements of the Directive. This Toolkit is intended to serve as a tool for lawyers, as well as NGOs, academics and interested parties, to help ensure that these important protections are respected.

The idea that everyone is innocent until proven guilty is an important foundation of fair trials. From the very beginning the court should treat you as innocent, unless and until it can convincingly proven that you're guilty.

This toolkit provides a reminder of essential EU law ideas and structures, as well as practical advice, and adds to Fair Trials' collection of toolkits on EU defence rights.

More information about each toolkit can be found below:

  1. Right to Interpretation and Translation ToolkitAn essential measure with increasing mobility resulting in an increased presence of suspects who do not speak the local language, this Toolkit covers suspected and accused persons’ right to interpretation in police interviews, hearings and in meetings with their lawyer, and their right to translation of essential documents, and should be used alongside our online training video.
  2. Right to Information ToolkitThe measure governs the suspect’s right to be informed about his procedural rights, to information about the charges he is being accused of and to access to the case file and materials in the case. This Toolkit, used alongside our online training video, can help ensure the Directive is invoked by lawyers in individual cases to ensure courts uphold its standards.
  3. Using EU Law in Criminal Practice ToolkitThis Toolkit also includes some general comments on the use of Directives prior to their transposition deadlines, relevant to the Access to a Lawyer Directive.
  4. Access to a lawyer Toolkit is now also available. This Toolkit discusses Directive 2013/48/EU on the Right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings (the/this ‘Directive’), which must have been transposed into national law by 27 November 2016.

To access the Presumption of Innocence toolkit, please click here.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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Presumption of innocence directive agreed

Proposed Directive on the Presumption of Innocence

Presumption of Innocence Toolkit



If you are a journalist interested in this story, please call the media team on +44 (0) 7749 785 932 or email [email protected]

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Some activities in the following sections on this website are funded by the European Union’s Justice Programme (2014-2020): Legal Experts Advisory Panel, Defence Rights Map, Case Law Database, Advice Guides, Resources, Campaigns, Publications, News and Events. This content represents the views of the authors only and is their sole responsibility. It cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.