Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters

in the European Union’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: Recent Developments and Topical Issues 2020/2021

Introduction

This project seeks to provide hands on training on the flagship instruments of EU criminal law: the European Arrest Warrant, the European Investigation Order, the EU procedural guarantees legislation, and the Council Framework Decisions on detention and transfer of prisoners.

Presentation

We have come to the point when the principles of mutual recognition and mutual trust being the cornerstones of the EU’s Area of Freedom Security and Justice (AFSJ) and within that judicial cooperation in criminal matters, are in peril.
The C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU Aranyosi and Caldaruru, C-216/18 PPU LM and the C 220/18 PPU ML cases recalibrate the application of the mutual recognition principle and put an end to the era of when mutual recognition insulated EU or Member State actions from fundamental rights scrutiny.

This question is the most striking in the context of the European Arrest Warrant, where surrender to the issuing Member States has become tainted by fundamental rights and rule of law concerns in relation to that state. But the European Investigation Order also encompasses a number of investigative measures, which are of a coercive nature hence may well cause friction between the issuing and executing authorities when it comes to the guarantee of fundamental rights.

Detention and especially pre-trial detention also have long caused a particular concern for Member States how to execute the required measure and to comply with fundamental rights at the same time.
Consequently, the EU procedural guarantees legislation elevating the procedural standing of suspected and accused persons is ever so relevant, providing the EU level and standards of fundamental rights protection when concerns are raised regarding certain EU Member States’ practices.

All this brings a very new challenge for practitioners, judges, prosecutors and defence attorneys working in EU cross border criminal cases. The dilemma that legal practitioners’ face today is how to apply the EU criminal law acquis faithfully when the underlying principles of cooperation – mutual recognition and mutual trust – are at the risk of erosion. To put it more broadly how to apply EU criminal law fully, while ensuring full respect of fundamental rights and rule of law considerations.

Better understanding

The overall expected result of the project will be the increased knowledge and better understanding of the most important fields of EU criminal law – the European surrender procedure through the European Arrest Warrant, the European collecting evidence procedure through the European Investigation Order, the European legal instruments on detention and transfer of prisoners and the European level procedural guarantees in criminal proceedings.

Increasing awareness and improvement

The project will result in the increased awareness of the added value, scope and application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as the training activities carried out in the framework of the project will present and explain how EU criminal law instruments are embedded in EU fundamental rights protection. The project will also result in the improvement of mutual trust and cooperation between legal professional in cross border cases.

The project’s website, developed for the purposes of this project, and the training materials will be available during the lifespan of the project. After the closure of the project, the introductory online lecture and the training materials in five languages (English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Polish) will be made available on the E-justice portal.

Coordinator

Stakeholder

This project is funded by
the European Union’s Justice
Programme (2014-2020)

Partners

“This website and its contents are produced with the financial support of the Justice Programme of the European Union. The website and the said contents are the sole responsibility of the project’s implementing team and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.”