DIGICRIM

Digital learning paths – EU criminal law

Implementation
The project is being implemented by EIPA Luxembourg – European Centre for Judges and Lawyers (ECJL) in partnership with KSSIP – Krajowa Szkola Sadownictwa I Prokuratury in Poland.

Introduction
EU criminal law has reached the point when all its major tenets namely, judicial cooperation in criminal matters, substantive criminal law and procedural guarantees in criminal procedures have been addressed with comprehensive legislative instruments supported with ample judicial practice both at the European and at the national level. EU criminal law has gradually become a complex regulatory field of the EU, the understanding of which requires a more structured approach in training activities as well. While trainings for legal professionals tackling specific themes of EU criminal law remain important there is a parallel need to ensure the general understanding of EU criminal law in a more systematic fashion. Simply building on pre-existing knowledge of national criminal law and explain individual EU criminal law instruments so that they fit in to the overall understanding of the law to be applied to the underlying case is not sufficient anymore to appreciate the effective reach and designated features of EU criminal law. The proposed action is designed to specifically address this gap by offering a guided learning paths to ensure a general understanding of EU criminal law, explaining EU competences, principles, regulatory choices and instruments so that the drivers and current issues of EU criminal law are fully appreciated.

The Digital leaning path in criminal law, in this vein, intends to offer a guided learning experience for those legal professionals who wish to have the ‘full picture’, to benefit from a structured EU criminal law curriculum tailored made to their needs, or simply explore ideas in a systemic and comprehensive fashion and at the same time benefit from the flexibility offered by the online learning environment.

The second rationale of the Digital learning path in EU criminal law is to ensure heightened awareness of the tumbling blocks that EU criminal law faces today.Principles of mutual recognition and mutual trust being the cornerstones the EU’s Area of Freedom Security and Justice (AFSJ) and within that judicial cooperation in criminal matters, are in peril. The Aranyosi case law (C-404/15 Aranyosi and Cladaruru case law (see also C‑220/18 PPU ML; C‑128/18, Dumitru-Tudor Dorobantu;– hereinafter Aranyosi case law) and the Deficiencies in the system of justice cases (C-216/18 PPU LM and C‑354/20 PPU L and C‑412/20 PPU Phereinafter Deficiencies in the system of justice 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 and rule of law 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 has become a subject that calls for comprehensive and systematic understanding which can be acquired through well calibrated and structured training adapted to these needs.

The third driver of the Digital learning path in EU criminal law is that the COVID 19 period provoked a great transformation in teaching and learning methods. Out of necessity trainings, among other professional events, have been forced to be delivered online through various conference platforms, and teaching and learning methods had to be adapted to this new environment with a great pace. This change however only accentuated the shift in professional training from face-to-face to online methods which has been already taking place. Based on this experience expectations and attitudes towards professional trainings have changed and returning to classroom format face-to-face training will not be possible. Therefore, radically new teaching and learning methods must be offered which allow a great degree of flexibility and reduce incremental logistics, yet at the same time ensure direct professional exchanges.

The general objectives of this learning path is

firstly, to offer a guided learning experience for those legal professionals who wish to have a comprehensive and systematic training on EU criminal law on a module-based system, where enough time is spend on explaining the relevant instruments and the related issues so that the entire domain of EU criminal law can be mapped out in a reflected fashion.

Secondly to ensure heightened awareness that the principles of mutual recognition and mutual trust, once unquestioned tenets of EU criminal law, are under stress today in EU judicial cooperation and foster resistance by deepened understanding of EU criminal law instruments in a holistic fashion

The target audience of the project are legal practitioners having a criminal law background and working in the EU Member States’ justice system, either in the capacity of a judge, prosecutor or defence lawyer.

Legal practitioners linked to any of the project partner institutions personally participating in the training activities will directly and concretely benefit from the projects’ expected results regarding increased and substantiated knowledge, improved mutual trust and cooperation.

In addition, legal professionals linked to any of the project partner institutions, but not participating in the training activities will be benefiting from the project through the digital training materials, which will be translated into the official languages of the participating partner institutions i.e. English and Polish, made available via the EIPA’s learning management system (Moodle) and later at the partner institutors’ platforms (websites and/or intranet).

The wider audience of legal professionals not linked to any of the project partner institutions will as well benefit from the project through the digital training materials, which can will be made available to the general public at the end of the project.

Training activities details

The project includes:

E-module 1 – EU competence on criminal law, institutions, procedures, and actors, intervention logic, relevant CJEU case law
E-module 2 – European Arrest Warrant role of issuing and executing authorities, grounds of refusal
E-module 3 – European Investigation Order
E-module 4 – The so called ‘Alternative measures’ (FD Transfer of prisoners, FD European supervision Order, FD European Probation Order)
E-module 5 – Procedural guarantees instruments
  • Directive 2012/13/EU on the right to information in criminal proceedings
  • Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings;
  • Directive 2013/48/EU on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and in European arrest warrant proceedings, and on the right to have a third party informed upon deprivation of liberty and to communicate with third persons and with consular authorities while deprived of liberty;
  • Directive (EU) 2016/19 on legal aid for suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings and for requested persons in European arrest warrant proceedings and related aspects as regards
  • Directive 2013/48/EU on the right of access to a lawyer – hereafter EU procedural guarantees legislation
  • Right to be present at trial
  • Directive (EU) 2016/343 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings;
E-module 6 – EU substantive criminal law – PIF crimes
E-module 1 – The relevance of the EU Charter of Fundamental rights in relation to EU criminal law – discussion standards of protection in the context of national constitutional law traditions the EU charter and the European Convention on Human Rights
E-module 2 – Dealing with the effects of the Aranyosi case law in relation to the EAW, selected issues in relation to the EAW: issuing authority, trial in absentia, relations with third countries and dealing with the effects of the Deficiencies of the system of justice case law in relation to the EAW
E-module 3 – Power and competences of the EPPO from the viewpoint of participating and non-participating EU MS
1. Group discussion: Case study regarding the EAW
2. Group discussion: Case study regarding the EIO
3. Group discussion: Case study regarding presumption of innocence
4. Group discussion: Case study regarding PIF crimes

This project is co-funded
by the European Union

Contact

EIPA Luxembourg
European Centre for Judges and Lawyers

Blanka Opletalova
Tel: +352 426 230 305
Mail: b.opletalova@eipa.eu

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