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Joint Investigation Teams (JITs)

Historical background

A joint investigation team (JIT) is a team consisting of judges, prosecutors and law enforcement authorities, established for a fixed period and a specific purpose by way of a written agreement between the States involved, to carry out criminal investigations in one or more of the involved States. 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, the Council adopted on 13 June 2002 a Framework Decision on JITs 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).

Another efficient tool to increase the use of the instrument was provided by Eurojust’s First and Second JITs Funding Projects, based on grants of the European Commission under the Prevention of and Fight against Crime (ISEC) programme, which allowed the operational activities of JITs to be supported financially and logistically since 2009.

Following completion of the second JITs Funding Project in 2013, Eurojust continues to finance the activities of joint investigation teams (JITs) from its regular budget (see dedicated webpage) Eurojust and Europol also jointly produced a ‘JITs Manual (later renamed Practical Guide)’*, which is intended to inform practitioners of the legal basis and requirements for setting up a JIT and to provide advice on when a JIT can be usefully employed.


* The manual is available in other official EU languages in the Document library.