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 The right to a fair trial

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Number of posts : 399
Location : Glasgow
Registration date : 2008-09-03

PostSubject: The right to a fair trial   Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:50 pm

Everyone has the right to a fair trial, and the courts have a duty to uphold this.

Things that make a trial fair include:

being held in public
being held within a reasonable time
being independent and impartial, and
the presumption of innocence.

If you are charged with a criminal offence, you have the following minimum rights:

to be told promptly, in a language you understand and in detail, the accusation against you and why you have been accused
to remain silent
to have adequate time and facilities to prepare your defence
to have access to all relevant information
to defend yourself in person or choose who will defend you
to be given free legal assistance if you cannot afford it
to have witnesses for and against you treated in the same way, and
to have the free assistance of an interpreter if you cannot understand or speak the language used in court.

If any of these rights is not observed, your trial may not be fair.

The right to a fair trial goes beyond matters being properly dealt with in a court hearing: the whole legal process must be considered. For example, considering whether or not a trial is fair can include making sure that proper procedures have been followed by the police at the investigation and charging stages. It can require that any decision-making process should include an appeal stage.

The right to a fair trial also includes making sure you have access to the courts in the first place. Find out more about the right to a fair trial.
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