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The Champion

April 2016 , Page 57 

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Informal Opinion - Communicating Miranda Rights to Non-native Speakers Of English

By Aneta Pavlenko, Diana Eades, and Margaret van Naerssen

Suspects’ interview rights, referred to as Miranda1 rights in the United States and as police cautions in Australia, England and Wales, are country-specific interpretations of the rights embodied in the 1966 International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, signed by the majority of the world’s countries. The purpose of the requirement to communicate these rights/cautions to suspects is to ensure that those in criminal proceedings know their fundamental rights under the law. Yet even native speakers of English do not always understand the rights delivered to them. Their ability to understand is affected by level of education, cognitive abilities, the context and manner of communication of the rights, and the wording used to express individual rights. The problems are even greater among speakers with limited English proficiency (LEP).

Research shows that LEP speakers who can hold a conversation in English may still experience difficulties understanding the delivery

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