Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters

Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters in the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice

JudCoopAFSJ – Recent Developments and Topical Issues 2020/2021

The JudCoopAFSJ project was successfully implemented by EIPA Luxembourg – European Centre for Judges and Lawyers (ECJL) in collaboration with KSSIP – Krajowa Szkola Sadownictwa I Prokuratury in Poland, the Consejo General Del Poder Judicial – Escuela Judicial in Spain, IGO-IFJ Belgium, and Fair Trials.

Project Description

The project addressed recent developments and topical issues concerning judicial cooperation in criminal matters within the European Union’s Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice (AFSJ). It focused on the challenges faced by the principles of mutual recognition and mutual trust, which have traditionally been the foundation of AFSJ and its judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Notably, the project analysed the impact of several landmark cases, including C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU Aranyosi and Caldaruru, C-216/18 PPU LM, and C-220/18 PPU ML. These cases prompted a reevaluation of the application of the mutual recognition principle and eliminated the previous insulation of EU or Member State actions from scrutiny regarding fundamental rights.

One critical concern discussed in the project was the European Arrest Warrant, where fundamental rights and the rule of law arose regarding the surrender to the issuing Member States. The European Investigation Order, which includes coercive investigative measures, also presented challenges in guaranteeing fundamental rights while executing the order. Detention, especially pre-trial detention, has long been a concern for Member States regarding complying with fundamental rights.

To address these challenges, the project highlighted the relevance of EU procedural guarantees legislation, which aims to elevate the procedural standing of suspected and accused individuals and provide consistent levels of fundamental rights protection across EU Member States.

The project aimed to provide legal practitioners, including judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, working on cross-border criminal cases with guidance on applying EU criminal law faithfully while ensuring full respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law.

Project outcomes

As part of the JudCoopAFSJ project, four training activities were organised:

  1. The European Arrest Warrant and fundamental rights
    Online, 6 – 7 October 2020
  2. EU procedural guarantees for suspected and accused persons in criminal proceedings
    Online, 23 – 24 February 2021
  3. The European Investigation Order
    Online, 29 – 30 June 2021
  4. The Council Framework Decisions on detention and transfer of prisoners (including a visit to the CJEU)
    Luxembourg, 19 – 20 October 2021

The activities contributed to increased knowledge and a 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.

Furthermore, the project successfully increased awareness of the added value, scope, and application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The project demonstrated how EU criminal law instruments are integrated into the EU fundamental rights protection framework through training activities. Additionally, the project fostered improved mutual trust and cooperation among legal professionals involved in cross-border cases.

Finally, a dedicated website was developed and made available throughout the project’s duration to facilitate continued access to project resources. Following its conclusion, an introductory online lecture and training materials in five languages (English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Polish) were accessible on the E-justice portal.

This project is co-funded by the European Union


EIPA Luxembourg
European Centre for Judges and Lawyers

Christiane Lamesch
Mail: c.lamesch@eipa.eu

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