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What is LEAP?

The Legal Experts Advisory Panel (or LEAP) is Fair Trials’ European network of experts in criminal justice and human rights which works to promote fair trial rights in Europe. LEAP currently has around 200 organisational members, with representatives from law firms, CSOs, and academic institutions, 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 justice in the EU.

At the regional level, LEAP works to inform the EU’s agenda on criminal justice by:

  • providing input to proposed EU legislation and advocating for new measures to ensure fair trial standards are upheld and promoted;
  • contributing to expert roundtable discussions with EU stakeholders, including EU officials and civil society representatives, to raise awareness of key fair trial issues in Europe;
  • researching emerging challenges to fair trial rights in Europe;
  • supporting selected litigation before the EU Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights to challenge legislation and practices that violate fair trial rights.

At the local level, LEAP pushes for the effective implementation of EU standards on fair trial rights through national initiatives. This is done through a whole range of activities, including:

  • surveying and researching domestic practices which are supposed to give effect to fair trial rights;
  • advocating for the respect of EU standards through letters to relevant public authorities and other stakeholders, as well written submissions to parliaments regarding draft legislation;
  • litigating cases which help to develop domestic jurisprudence on fair trial rights, as well as helping to link it to regional jurisprudence.

LEAP is coordinated by Fair Trials Europe, Fair Trials’ Brussels offices, with the financial support of the Justice Programme of the European Union.

Key Stats

200

Organisational members of LEAP

30

States represented in LEAP

JUSTICE

LEAP’s importance has been acknowledged by the EU, which has recognised the network’s contribution to EU Justice.

EXPERTISE

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.

"It is always of benefit if people are properly represented - LEAP brings tangible benefit to the system of justice in Europe"

Dara Robinson, LEAP Advisory Board Member, Ireland

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Activities in the following sections on this website are supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union: Legal Experts Advisory Panel, Defence Rights Map, Case Law Database, Advice Guides and Latest News. More information about our financial supporters is available here.