The European Commission proposed legislation today that will help people exercise their fair trial rights anywhere in the EU when they cannot understand the language of the case. EU countries would be obliged to provide full interpretation and translation services to suspects. It is the first step in a series of measures to set common EU standards in criminal cases.
The proposal strengthens citizens’ right to interpretation and translation in three ways:
- Interpretation would have to be provided for communication with lawyers as well as during investigations – such as police questioning – and at trial.
- To make sure that proceedings are fair, the proposal covers written translation of all essential documents such as the detention order, the charge sheet or indictment or vital pieces of evidence. Citizens should not have to rely only on an oral translation that summarises the evidence.
- Citizens must have the right to legal advice before waiving the right to interpretation and translation. People should not be pressured into giving up their rights unless they have spoken to a lawyer.
The IP (in all languages) and MEMO (in English) are now available on the following links :
Matthew Newman +32 498 962 406 – +32 2 296 24 06 – Matthew.Newman@ec.europa.eu
Mina Andreeva +32 498/991 382 – +32 2 299 13 82 – Mina.Andreeva@ec.europa.eu
Official information of the European Commission is available at any time at http://europa.eu/rapid/
Les informations officielles de la Commission européenne sont accessibles à tout moment sur http://europa.eu/rapid/