Defending theHuman Rightto a Fair Trial
March 31, 2015
In the last decade, the EU Member States have been cooperating closely on cross-border issues, principally through the European Arrest Warrant. Such systems rely on mutual confidence between judicial authorities that each will respect the rights of those concerned, in particular as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’).
However, cooperation has been undermined by the fact that judicial authorities called upon to cooperate with one another do not, in reality, have full confidence in each other’s compliance with these standards. In order to strengthen the system, the EU has begun imposing minimum standards to regulate certain aspects of criminal procedure through a programme called the ‘Roadmap’.
Whilst these measures have their origin in ensuring mutual trust, the result is a set of directives binding national authorities in all cases, including those which have no cross-border element. These cover the right to interpretation and translation, the right to information, and the right of access to lawyer (collectively, the ‘Directives’).
This toolkit discusses Directive 2010/64/EU on the Right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings (the ‘Directive’), which should have been transposed into domestic law by 27 October 2013. It governs 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. This toolkit should be read together with the online training video produced by Fair Trials.
This is a central measure as increasing mobility comes increased presence of suspects who do not speak the local language, and who depend upon effective language assistance in order to be able to exercise other rights, such as that to participate in their own trial, confer with their lawyer etc.
In order for the Directive to achieve its purpose, the Directive must be invoked by lawyers in individual cases to ensure courts uphold its standards. This Toolkit is designed to give you practical advice as to how to use the Directive in practice. It should be read together with the ‘Using EU Law in Criminal Practice’ Toolkit and the online training video on the Court of Justice of the EU.
You can download the toolkit here.
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