‘The EU works towards achieving common minimum standards of procedural rights in criminal proceedings to ensure that the basic rights of suspects and accused persons are protected sufficiently’ [Source: ec.europa.eu].

More information, list relevant legal documents and summary of legislation, here:

See especially Articles 5, 6, 7.

Especially Chapter VI – Justice: Articles 47-50 (Right to an effective remedy; fair trial; presumption of innocence; right of defence; principle of legality; principle of proportionality; double jeopardy).

The purpose of this Directive is to ensure the effectiveness of the right of access to a lawyer as provided for under Directive 2013/48/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (3) by making available the assistance of a lawyer funded by the Member States for suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings and for requested persons who are the subject of European arrest warrant proceedings pursuant to Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA (4) (requested persons).

The purpose of this Directive is to establish procedural safeguards to ensure that children, meaning persons under the age of 18, who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings, are able to understand and follow those proceedings and to exercise their right to a fair trial, and to prevent children from re-offending and foster their social integration.

The Directive ‘aims to guarantee: the presumption of innocence of anyone accused or suspected of a crime by the police or justice authorities; the right of an accused person to be present at their criminal trial’. ‘The directive applies to any individual (natural person) suspected or accused in criminal proceedings. It applies at all stages of the criminal proceedings, from the moment a person is suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence to the final verdict.’ [Source: eur-lex.europa.eu]

‘This European Union (EU) law ensures that suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings and requested persons in European arrest warrant proceedings (hereafter ‘citizens’) have access to a lawyer and have the right to communicate while deprived of liberty’. [Source: eur-lex.europa.eu]

‘The directive sets out minimum standards for all EU countries regardless of a person’s legal status, citizenship or nationality. It is designed to help prevent miscarriages of justice and reduce the number of appeals’. [Source: eur-lex.europa.eu]

‘It establishes minimum EU-wide rules on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings and in proceedings for the execution of the European Arrest Warrant. It is the first step in series of measures to establish minimum rules for procedural rights across the EU in accordance with a 2009 roadmap. It was followed in 2012 by the directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings’. [Source: eur-lex.europa.eu]

Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA ‘improves and simplifies judicial procedures to speed up the return of people from another EU country who have committed a serious crime. (…) The European arrest warrant replaces the extradition system. It requires each national judicial authority to recognise and act on, with a minimum of formalities and within a set deadline, requests made by the judicial authority of another EU country. (…) The warrant applies in the following cases: offences punishable by imprisonment or a detention order for a maximum period of at least 1 year; where a final custodial sentence has been passed or a detention order has been made, for sentences of at least 4 months. Proportionate use of the warrant: EU countries must take the following into consideration (non-exhaustive list): the circumstances and the gravity of the offence; the likely sentence; less coercive alternative measures. [Source: eur-lex.europa.eu]

See also:

  • European Union, European Commission, GREEN PAPER Strengthening mutual trust in the European judicial area – A Green Paper on the application of EU criminal justice legislation in the field of detention, COM (2011) 327, 14 June 2011