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Everybody who is arrested or questioned by the police on suspicion of involvement in a criminal activity has certain rights, such as the right to remain silent or to consult a lawyer. One of the key factors in ensuring fair proceedings is whether suspects have a sufficiently detailed knowledge of their rights. It cannot be presumed that suspects know their rights at the moment they are confronted with a criminal investigation. Especially in situations where they are deprived of their liberty during arrest or police custody, suspects might find themselves in a stressful situation unaware of their rights or without knowledge of how they can invoke them. Provision of information of rights is therefore a prerequisite to accessing them.
This report presents the results of the research project ‘EU-wide Letter of Rights in Criminal Proceedings: Towards Best Practice’. In this study information has been gathered on the way suspects in the EU Member States are informed in writing of their rights in criminal proceedings. Subsequently a normative framework has been developed based on the jurisprudence of the ECtHR to establish standards and a legal basis for information that should be given to the suspect in the initial phase of police investigations. Finally a model has been developed for an EU-wide Letter of Rights to be applicable throughout the EU that can function as an inspiration for initiatives on the national level as well as on the EU level. The book provides the complete research results in its annexes and an insight into the way suspects are informed of their rights throughout the EU and is essential reading for academics, researchers, students, defence lawyers and policy-makers working in the area of criminal justice in Europe.