fair trial

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A right set out in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act1998. The right to a fair trial applies in civil and criminal proceedings and includes the right to a public hearing (subject to some exceptions) by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. It has been interpreted as requiring that the state may sometimes need to provide legal aid for a litigant: Airey v Ireland App No 6289/73 [1981] ECHR 1. In criminal cases there are the following specified rights: the presumption of innocence; the right to be told the details of the case; to have time and facilities to prepare a defence and to instruct lawyers (with financial support where necessary); to call witnesses and examine the witnesses for the prosecution; and to have the free assistance of an interpreter. See also equality of arms.

Subjects: Law.

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