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Publication

Roadmap Practitioner Toolkit: Right to Information Directive

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’).

The measure discussed in this toolkit is Directive 2012/13/EU on the Right to information in criminal proceedings (the ‘Directive’), which should have been transposed into domestic law by 2 June 2014. The 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 should be read together with the online training video produced by Fair Trials.[5]

The issue of the right to information, particularly in relation to the manner and timing of the notification of procedural rights to suspects, has received less attention in case-law and practitioner training than the right of access to a lawyer, and the Directive clarifies these important protections.

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 pratical 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.

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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