Defending the
Human Right
to a
Fair Trial

To see the members of our EU-wide legal experts network, click on the dots


Who are LEAP?

“I very much appreciate your ongoing support … on procedural rights for suspects and accused persons and your ongoing input into identifying where improvements must be made in the EAW system.”
Commissioner Viviane Reding in a letter to the Legal Experts Advisory Panel

The Legal Experts Advisory Panel (or LEAP) is an EU-wide network of experts in criminal justice and human rights which works to promote fair and effective judicial cooperation within Europe. There are currently over 120 members, made up of lawyers, NGOs, and academics, covering all 28 EU Member States.

Through Fair Trials’ coordination, LEAP is able to offer an expert view on a broad range of EU criminal justice topics, while also boosting cooperation between human rights defenders in cross-border work. LEAP’s importance has been acknowledged by the EU, which has recognised the network’s contribution to EU Justice.

LEAP works to inform the EU’s work on criminal justice and supports local NGOs in tackling systemic fair trial abuses in their own countries. Significant achievements include:

  • Establishing an active network of over 120 criminal justice experts from all 28 member states who are willing and able to contribute to the development of the EU criminal justice agenda,
  • Contributing to the establishment of strong new procedural rights safeguards, including the guarantee of access to a lawyer at all stages of the criminal process for suspects across all EU Member States,
  • Raising awareness of the need for reform of measures such as the European Arrest Warrant and contributing to an EU-level review of its governing legislation.

LEAP is coordinated by Fair Trials Europe.

Selected Activities

2014 – LEAP launched its latest major report in the European Parliament in Brussels. The report (Stockholm’s Sunset) highlights LEAP’s 4 priorities for criminal justice reform in the EU.

2013 – LEAP held a series of meetings across 9 countries (Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK) to look at the state of defence rights, pre-trial detention, the barriers to justice and effective judicial cooperation.