A Language you Understand

EU Justice Ministers have agreed on a “Letter of Rights” proposed by the Commission.  Once voted upon by the European Parliament, this will provide that suspects will have to be informed in writing of their rights in a language they understand.  Anyone arrested, or the subject of a European Arrest Warrant, will have to be given, whether they ask for it or not, and translated if necessary, the Letter of Rights, listing their basic rights, in simple, everyday language, ie their rights to a lawyer, to be informed of the charge, to interpretation and translation, and to be brought promptly before a Court following arrest, and giving practical details. The Lisbon Treaty enables the EU to adopt measures to strengthen the rights of EU citizens, in line with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, particularly the rights of individuals in criminal procedures. The right to a fair trial and defence are set out in Articles 47 and 48 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; as well as in Article 6 of the ECHR.

James Goudie QC