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Joint Investigation Teams (JITs)

General background

A joint investigation team (JIT) is an international cooperation tool based on an agreement between competent authorities - both judicial (judges, prosecutors, investigative judges) and law enforcement - of two or more States, established for a limited duration and for a specific purpose, to carry out criminal investigations in one or more of the involved States. JITs constitute an efficient and effective cooperation tool that facilitates the coordination of investigations and prosecutions conducted in parallel in several States or in cases with a cross-border dimension.

The possibility of setting up JITs between Member States is provided for in Article 13 of the 2000 MLA Convention. In view of the slow progress towards its ratification, on 13 June 2002 the Council adopted the Framework Decision 2002/465/JHA on joint investigation teams, which the Member States were to implement by 1 January 2003.

To promote the setting up of such teams, the Hague Programme (November 2004) called for the designation of national experts on JITs by each Member State with the goal of encouraging the use of JITs and exchanging best practice. In July 2005, the Article 36 Committee (CATS) agreed that an informal JITs Experts Network should be established (see Council Document 11037/05 and dedicated webpage).

To facilitate the setting-up of JITs, a model agreement* has been developed. Another supporting tool for practitioners is the JITs Practical Guide* developed by the JITs Network - in cooperation with Eurojust, Europol and OLAF –to provide information, guidance and advice to practitioners on the formation and operation of JITs.

Since 2009, Eurojust has been supporting the operational activities of JITs by providing financial and logistical support. The objective of this funding programme is to promote the setting up of JITs by reducing the impact on national budgets of costs incurred due to the transnational dimension of these cases. For more details, please see our dedicated webpage.

For more information on JITs, please consult the dedicated sections accessible via the left-hand side navigation menu or click here.

* The model agreement and the JITs Practical Guide are available in all official EU languages in the Document library.