EU courts must offer interpreting and translation services during proceedings

The Council of the European Union has adopted rules that will make interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings compulsory, if these services are required.

An agreement has been reached with the European Parliament in first reading. Member states will now have to transpose the directive into national law. The directive is based on an initiative taken by 13 Member States (Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Hungary, Austria, Portugal, Romania, Finland and Sweden).

The new directive will substantially enhance the rights for suspected and accused persons. Where necessary for the purpose of ensuring the fairness of the proceedings, interpretation will also be available for communication between the suspected or accused person and his legal counsel in direct connection with any questioning or hearing during the proceedings or with the lodging of an appeal or other procedural applications, such as for bail.”