Fair Trials and LEAP have produced a series of new practitioner toolkits to accompany the free innovative e-training courses produced at the end of last year,  designed to educate UK lawyers about EU defence rights. The courses provide practical guides to the Right to Information in Criminal Proceedings Directive,the Right to Interpretation and Translation Directive, and the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in criminal proceedings.

The direct application of EU law is an area of law which has the potential to affect the lives of thousands of people accused of crimes each year. It is not something, however, that many criminal defence practitioners have started to take full advantage of yet. It is hoped that through this training and the access to practical information and advice it provides, the UK legal community will be given the tools to strengthen their knowledge and capacity to uphold suspects’ rights within their day-to-day casework.

The toolkits are the outcome of a roundtable meeting held by LEAP, our Legal Experts Advisory Panel – a network of criminal justice experts coordinate by Fair Trials Europe – which outlined a strategy for the effective implementation of the Directives. Fair Trials and LEAP have been working to encourage EU action to create binding EU-wide minimum protections for basic fair trial rights, and this has so far resulted in the adoption of three directives under the ‘Roadmap’ for strengthening procedural rights in criminal procedures.

The series of e-training courses provide practical guides to the Right to Information in Criminal Proceedings Directive, the Right to Interpretation and Translation Directive, and the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in criminal proceedings.  The three courses are introduced by Fair Trials’ CEO Jago Russell, and are delivered by the Fair Trials’ legal and policy team in an engaging tutorial format, complete with sections, which will allow participants to test their knowledge. The training is available electronically through the Fair Trials website, and allows for navigation within the training, meaning you can focus on areas, which are of most relevance, or return to particular areas for future reference.

These accompanying toolkits provide a reminder of essential EU law ideas and structures, as well as practical advice for the use of both the right to interpretation and translation directive and the right to information directive. They also provide some advice on the use of Access to a Lawyer Directive, in anticipation of its forthcoming transposition deadline.

Fair Trials is a human rights charity that works to protect the right to a fair trial around the world and campaigns for fairer criminal justice systems. If you’d like to find out more, you can contact Alex Mik.

You can find the e-training and the toolkits here.