Article 6 - Right to a fair trial

In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law...

What does this right mean?

This right is about a fair and public hearing and due process. In certain situations, not only in criminal cases, but also in processes which determine civil rights (such as employment, property disputes and benefits claims etc) the right to a fair trial will apply. It is not always easy to determine whether Article 6 applies but applying the principles can demonstrate good practice in decision making in many of instances.

When could this be relevant?

  • Ensuring a person subject to a decision making process is supported and given adequate time and facilities to present their case

  • Ensuring a fair process in disciplinary proceedings, particularly where an individual may lose their job

  • Having an opportunity to be heard or participate at some stage in the decision making or adversarial process

  • Having a right of appeal to an independent body.

Story example of Article 6 issue

Daniel is a care worker working for a care at home provider. Recently the relatives of a man he cares for have accused him of administering non prescribed, and potentially dangerous, medicine to their father. Daniel is very distressed about this because believes the accusations to be entirely false and enjoys his job. His employers have an internal disciplinary procedure and while the allegation is being investigated he is suspended from his post and informed that he has been provisionally placed on the Protection of Vulnerable Adults List. Daniel waits several months but hears nothing about the investigation. He is upset as he has had no opportunity to give his side of the story and refute the allegations being made against him. Meanwhile he cannot work and knows his reputation with his colleagues has been ruined.