When a person is subject to criminal charge, Australian law provides a set of minimum guarantees for that person while criminal proceedings are taking place, without discrimination.
So why do we have minimum guarantees for people in criminal proceedings? Well, these guarantees are a part of human rights, and Australia is a party to several core international human rights treaties.
The justification for minimum guarantees in criminal proceedings can be found in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which states:
“All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”
What Minimum Guarantees Does A Person Have?
A person has the right to the following minimum guarantees in criminal proceedings:
- to be informed promptly of the charge
- to have adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence and to communicate with counsel
- to be tried without undue delay
- to be tried in person
- to legal assistance and to have legal assistance assigned to the accused, where the interests of justice so require, and without payment if the accused is unable to pay for it
- to cross-examine prosecution witnesses and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on behalf of the accused on the same conditions as the prosecution
- to have the assistance of an interpreter
- to be free from self-incrimination
- to have a conviction and sentence reviewed by a higher court
- to be paid compensation where a criminal conviction has been overturned or where a person has been pardoned in situations involving a miscarriage of justice
- not to be tried or punished more than once.
How Criminal Lawyers Can Protect Your Minimum Guarantees
If you require aid in facing criminal charges Legal Pathways can make sure your rights are being preserved and your minimum guarantees have been applied.
Legal Pathways is a team of first-class criminal lawyers who not only have extensive courtroom/advocacy experience, but hold related qualifications and experience in the areas of forensic science and criminal investigation. As such, our criminal lawyers can provide you a comprehensive, unparalleled and unique legal service.