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NEWS

Fair Trials and LEAP Launch Roadmap Practitioner Toolkits

editor - April 16, 2015 - European Arrest Warrant, European Commission, European Parliament, interpretation and translation, LEAP, legal aid, legal experts advisory panel, right to information, roadmap rights, toolkits

European union concept, digital illustration.With two of the new Roadmap Directives transposition deadlines having already passed, and the other deadline due next year, Fair Trials have been working with LEAP to ensure all the tools and materials are available and easily accessible to defence lawyers to allow for effective and immediate implementation. These practitioner Toolkits can act as a key guide for criminal lawyers to utilise the Directives to protect individuals defence rights across the EU.

Fair Trials has released a series of practitioner Toolkits designed to act as a guide for defence practitioners around the use of the new Directives, and to encourage courts to rely upon them. The Toolkits are the outcome of our Legal Experts Advisory Panel (LEAP) Roundtable meeting in October 2014, which outlined a strategy for the effective implementation of the directives.

Fair Trials and LEAP have been working to encourage EU action to create binding EU-wide minimum protections for basic fair trial rights, and this resulted in the adoption of three directives, under the 'Roadmap' for strengthening procedural rights in criminal procedures.

Member States are now working to implement the three new directives; the right to interpretation and translation, the right to information and the right of access to lawyer, with transposition deadlines of 27 October 2013, 2 June 2013 and 6 November 2016 respectively.

To ensure the Directives have full effect they need to be relied upon by the national courts of each EU member state. The direct application of EU law is an area of law which has the potential to affect the lives of thousands of people accused of crimes each year. It is not something, however, that many criminal defence practitioners have started to take full advantage of yet, a challenge which Fair Trials is working hard to overcome.

With the support of the Legal Education Foundation and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer we have also created a series of online training courses and host regular training events, the next in Budapest in June, to further help criminal lawyers understand and fully utilise the new Directives.

These Toolkits provide a reminder of essential EU law ideas and structures, as well as practical advice for the use of both the right to interpratation and translation directive and the right to information directive. The Toolkits also provide some advice on the use of Access to a Lawyer Directive, in anticipation of it's forthcoming transposition deadline.

 More information about each Toolkit can be found below:

1. Right to Interpretation and Translation Toolkit: An 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, the transposition deadline of which was some distance away at the date of publication.

Update: 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 be transposed into national law by 27 November 2016.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on 020 7822 2370 or 07950 849 851.

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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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