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Publication

Cross-border access to electronic data

Fair Trials' Policy Brief and Consultation Paper

December 13, 2018 - e-evidence, cross-border access to electronic data

Evidence has always been at the heart of criminal justice systems, forming the building blocks of the criminal case, crucial to establishing the guilt (or innocence) of people accused of committing criminal offences. In an increasingly digitalised world, electronic data, such as the contents of communications exchanged on social media or personal information about the subscriber of an email account, may contain critical information that could be used to incriminate or exculpate a person investigated in relation to a criminal offence. The electronic data may be stored or held by a company in a country other than where the criminal investigation is taking place.  

Law enforcement authorities can turn to a range of tools to gather objects and information, including electronic data, located abroad that may later be used as evidence at trial. Fundamentally, these tools are one-sided, designed according to the needs of law enforcement authorities and do not provide or foresee the needs of the defence.

The Policy Brief ‘The impact on the procedural rights of defendants of cross-border access to electronic data through judicial cooperation in criminal matters’ analyses the impact of current mechanisms for the cross-border access to electronic data on the fairness of criminal proceedings.

Download the Policy Brief here.

The Consultation Paper focuses on four key safeguards required to preserve the fundamental fair trial protections for people accused of crime: prior notification to the suspect, robust prior judicial authorisation procedure, meaningful remedies in the event of a trial, and effective and systemic oversight on the use of the measures by law enforcement authorities.

Download the Consultation Paper here.


These documents have been prepared in the context of the JUD-IT (Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters and Electronic IT Data in the EU: Ensuring Efficient Cross-Border Cooperation and Mutual Trust) Project, and supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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