Key facts of the case:
Request for a preliminary ruling from the Amtsgericht Laufen (Germany).
Judicial cooperation in criminal matters — Directive 2010/64/EU — Right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings — Possibility of bringing an appeal against a judgment delivered in criminal proceedings in a language other than the language of the proceedings — Directive 2012/13/EU — Right to information in criminal proceedings — Judgment delivered in criminal proceedings served on a person authorised to accept service and sent by ordinary post to the person accused — Period for bringing an appeal against that judgment running from the service of the judgment on the person authorised to accept service.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
119. ...I suggest that the Court answer the questions referred by the Amtsgericht Laufen as follows:
(1) Articles 1(2) and 2(1) and (8) of Directive 2010/64/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings are to be interpreted as not precluding legislation of a Member State, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which provides for the use of a certain language as the language of the proceedings before the courts of that State. However, those same provisions are to be interpreted as permitting an individual against whom a judgment has been delivered in criminal proceedings and who does not have a command of the language of the proceedings to bring an appeal in his own language against such a judgment, and it is the responsibility of the competent court, pursuant to the right to interpretation enjoyed by the accused person under Article 2 of that directive, to provide appropriate resources for the translation of the appeal into the language of the proceedings.
(2) Articles 2, 3(1)(c) and 6(1) and (3) of Directive 2012/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 on the right to information in criminal proceedings are to be interpreted as not precluding legislation of a Member State, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, under which an accused person in criminal proceedings who does not reside in that State appoints a person authorised to accept service of a penalty order adopted against him, after which that order is sent by the authorised person to the accused person by ordinary post, provided that procedural mechanism does not prevent that accused person from benefiting from the statutory period of two weeks, provided for by the legislation of that State, for lodging an objection against that penalty order, and that period must run from the time that person becomes aware, by any manner, of that order.
114. In the first situation, the individual against whom a penalty order has been made receives the order within the period of two weeks running from the service of that order on the authorised person. In that situation, the statutory period for appeal within which the accused person may challenge the order cannot be reduced by the number of days between the service on the authorised person, who is domiciled in the place where the court is based, and the receipt by the individual concerned of the letter containing the criminal conviction against him. The mechanism by which the penalty order is served on an authorised person, after which it is forwarded by ordinary post to the accused person, would otherwise have the effect of drastically cutting the statutory period within which that person may challenge the penalty order against him, as that mechanism would then be likely to prevent him from having the necessary time to prepare his defence. If it had the effect of depriving the accused person of the benefit of the entire statutory period for lodging an objection against a penalty order, such a mechanism would impair the rights of the defence which, under Article 48(2) of the Charter, must be guaranteed for anyone who has been charged.