European Parliament / News
Imagine you were on holiday in Spain and were accused of committing a crime - understanding the complex language used in criminal proceedings would be a challenge. Factor in the fact that each member state has its own legal rules and the challenge multiplies. MEPs want to help clear a way through this legal jungle.MEPs are set to change the situation so that any suspect or person accused of breaking the law would be informed of their rights in easy-to-understand language, according to a draft law voted on Tuesday.
Under current legislation in some EU countries, it is only necessary for suspects to receive oral information about procedural rights, while in others, the information is written in technical language and only provided if requested. A "letter of rights" would help ensure trials are conducted fairly throughout the EU."Being aware of your rights is the first step towards having them respected. The letter of rights will inform people arrested about their rights in a language they understand, including the right to interpretation and translation and the right of access to a lawyer," according to German Socialist Birgit Sippel, who is guiding the legislation through the EP.
What's next?The draft law also needs to be endorsed by the EU Council of Ministers. Once adopted, member states will have two years to transpose it into their national laws.
The UK and Ireland will participate, Denmark will not.