The Autumn Conference of the European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA), Future challenges in the field of cross-border investigations, prosecutions and defence, took place in Lisbon, Portugal, from 30 September to 1 October 2016.
The theme of the conference attracted a wide range of speakers with diverse expertise and insight into the matter, including representatives from the EU institutions, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and the European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA) itself, as well as academics and practitioners.
Ms Michèle Coninsx, President of Eurojust, was invited to contribute to the first panel of the conference, The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) and Conflicts of Jurisdiction in the European Union.
Ms Coninsx highlighted the fact that the present EU legal framework attributes a major role to Eurojust in preventing and resolving conflicts of jurisdiction and is consequently at the heart of Eurojust’s work. Eurojust supports national authorities with a coordinated approach to avoid ne bis in idem issues by helping to identify parallel proceedings, establishing criteria for deciding which jurisdiction should prosecute and advising on the transfer of proceedings.
In the current security context and in line with the EU priorities, Eurojust has a crucial role to play in the fight against terrorism, cybercrime and illegal immigrant smuggling. A joint EU judicial response to serious organised cross-border crime is indispensable to disrupt criminal networks and ensure convictions and asset recovery.
‘Operational synergies between Eurojust and the EPPO will be crucial to strengthen each other’s effectiveness and the EU judicial sphere as a whole’, said Ms Coninsx. The EPPO can build on the Eurojust example and experiences in judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
The ECBA was founded in 1997 in response to the internationalisation of criminal law and criminal justice policy. This internationalisation has led to continuous changes in this field of law, requiring the establishment of an organisation of defence lawyers able to advocate rights and minimum standards for all persons suspected, accused or convicted. Through its conferences, website and communication by e-mail and on social media, the ECBA provides a suitable forum to access absolutely up-to-date information on legal developments. The ECBA holds two conferences each year, typically the last weekend of April and the first weekend of October.
Conflicts of jurisdiction
Article 85(1)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of European Union (TFEU) expressly refers the task of the resolution of conflicts of jurisdiction to Eurojust. Further specifications on Eurojust’s role in this context can be found in Articles 6 and 7 of the Council Decision on Eurojust and Article 12 of Framework Decision 2009/948/JHA on the prevention and settlement of conflicts of jurisdiction in criminal proceedings.
European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO)
On 17 July 2013, the European Commission presented a legislative package in the area of criminal justice cooperation, including a proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) and a proposal for a Regulation to reform Eurojust. In accordance to Article 86 TFEU, the EPPO is to be established ‘from Eurojust’.