The European Commission has proposed a new Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings. The main provisions are:
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.