The European Commission has proposed a directive to set common minimum standards for the right to information in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union. According to the proposal Member States must ensure that any person who is suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence is provided promptly with information on his procedural rights in simple and accessible language, including as a minimum:
– the right of access to a lawyer, where necessary free of charge,
– the right to be informed of the charge and, where appropriate, to be given access to the case-file,
– the right to interpretation and translation,
– the right to be brought promptly before a court if the suspected or accused person is arrested.
The Commission says that a number of recent studies have shown that the way suspects are informed of their rights varies widely and that in the majority of cases information on rights is only provided orally, which decreases its effectiveness and makes it more difficult to monitor. The proposal naturally invokes the comparison with the Miranda warning in the US.