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Event

Defence Rights in Evidentiary Procedures

Regional Report Launch Event

Friday, 22 Oct 2021 10:30 - 15:30 CEST

Online

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Evidence forms the basis of a criminal case. It must be gathered lawfully, respecting the proper procedures and the rights of the suspect or accused person. But what happens when procedural safeguards are violated? For instance, can a statement given without access to a lawyer or without proper notification of the right to remain silent be included in evidence and used in a trial?

Admissibility of evidence has been under the spotlight in recent years, with the EU’s expansion of cross-border evidence gathering and its emphasis on electronic evidence in criminal cases. When evidence is gathered illegally or improperly, what remedies are in place and how effective are they?

As part of the Defence Rights in Evidentiary Procedures (DREP) project, Fair Trials and its national partners - Croatian Law Centre (Croatia), Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania), Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) and Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden) and our academic partner the Catholic University of Leuven - have sought to answer these questions.

The DREP project explored whether existing rules and practice on the admissibility of evidence are sufficient to address violations of procedural rights in evidence-gathering procedures, offer meaningful remedies, and prevent future violations. It aimed to improve the implementation of the EU Procedural Rights Directives and determine if EU action is needed. The project was led by Fair Trials and funded by the European Commission’s Justice Programme. 

During this launch event, we will present our Regional Report and convey the main findings of the project, followed by two discussion panels on the current state of play and the possible solutions to improve access to effective remedy in evidentiary proceedings. We will then open discussions about the admissibility of illegally or improperly obtained evidence in the EU. Panellists will explore current approaches and examine their impact on the fairness of criminal trials and on fundamental rights. 

The event will be held online via Zoom on 22 October.

Who can attend? 

This online event is open to all, but it primarily aims to inform criminal justice practitioners, national and EU decision-makers, members of regional courts and other stakeholders of the main findings of the project and discuss possible solutions.

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Agenda (CEST) 

10.30 – 11.00 Welcome and overview of the project findings

11.00 – 12.30 Panel 1 - Evidentiary remedies in practice: current state of play  

The first panel will present the findings of the DREP report, discussing regional and national practices and their impact on defence rights protected under EU law. It will focus on the theoretical aspects of remedies, as well as the practice of the European Court of Human Rights and national courts.  

Panellists:

  • Paulo Sérgio Pinto de Albuquerque, Professor of Catholic University of Lisbon  
  • Marcin Wolny, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland  
  • Michele Panzavolta, Associate Professor of Catholic University of Leuven 

12.30 - 13.30 Lunch break  

13.30 – 15.00 Panel 2 – Regional importance and possible solutions 

The second panel will explore whether EU law and guidance on effective remedies for violations of defence rights are sufficient. Panellists will discuss whether more action is needed and what steps can be taken on the EU level. 

Panellists:  

  • Matylda Pogorzelska, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights  
  • Luca de Matteis, European Public Prosecutor’s Office  
  • Fabien le Bot, European Commission  
  • Elizabeta Ivičević Karas, Professor of University of Zagreb, Croatian Law Centre  

15.00 – 15.30 Concluding remarks

Download the full agenda here

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This event is possible thanks to the financial support of the Justice Programme of the European Union (2014-2020).

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Some activities in the following sections on this website are funded by the European Union’s Justice Programme (2014-2020): Legal Experts Advisory Panel, Defence Rights Map, Case Law Database, Advice Guides, Resources, Campaigns, Publications, News and Events. This content represents the views of the authors only and is their sole responsibility. It cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.