§ Viscount Simon
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What investigations they have conducted to ensure United Kingdom motorists receive access to justice in foreign courts; and [HL1739]
In what circumstances a United Kingdom citizen, disqualified from driving by a foreign court, would be able to appeal to a United Kingdom court against disqualification; and [H17409]
Whether translation facilities are available to United Kindom citizens charged with motoring offences in other European member states. [HL1741]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin)
A defendant's right to a fair hearing and to the assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court are both enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, to which all the member states of the European Union are signatories.
Following a consultation exercise in 2001, the Govenment have introduced measures to implement the 1998 EU Convention on Driving Disqualifications in the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill currently before Parliament. Under the convention, a disqualification imposed in another member state will also be recognised and enforced in the driver's state of residence.
The Bill provides a right of appeal for any UK resident aggrieved at the decision to enforce a foreign disqualification in the UK. An appeal may be made on any of the grounds laid down in the Bill for recognising a disqualification. This includes determining whether a defendant was duly notified by the state of the offence of the proceedings against him and entitled to take part in them, which provides an important safeguard where a disqualification has been imposed in absentia. The appeal will not extend to the circumstances of the original offence. Rights of appeal against conviction will already have been dealt with in the state of the offence.