ImprovEAW background

FD 2002/584/JHA on the European Arrest Warrant aimed at simplifying and accelerating judicial cooperation in criminal matters, resulting in speedier procedures, more safeguards for the individuals concerned and contributing to closing the gap of impunity. One of the means of achieving these objectives is the mandatory use of a model-EAW. Art. 8(1) of FD 2002/584/JHA determines what information the EAW must contain.

In practice, however, the information which is expected to be in the form is object to different interpretations between issuing authority and executing judicial authority, which may trigger the request for supplementary information. This touches right in the core of the EAW system, not only because it can affect its expediency, but also because it touches upon the lawfulness and, consequently, the validity of an EAW.

Identifying the problem and its causes

The lack of clarity is problematic because on the basis of Art. 15(2) of FD 2002/584/JHA it may lead to:

  • evitable delays and extra costs in the issuing and executing Member States;
  • can result in non-compliance of the 60 and 90 days’ time limits;
  • can result in a decision to refrain from giving effect to the EAW, if the request is not honoured (completely) or not honoured within the fixed time limit, and thus result in impunity of the person concerned.

Therefore, representing a threat to the high level of mutual trust that should exist between Member States.

The problems identified may be caused by:

  • differences concerning the implementation;
  •  differences concerning the application of the implementing legislation by issuing and executing judicial authorities of the Member States;
  •  differences concerning the legal systems of the issuing and executing judicial authorities. If the issuing Member State has a legal system based on civil law and the executing Member State a legal system based on common law, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the latter Member State will have need of more information just to make sense of an EAW emanating from a wholly unfamiliar legal system.
  •  incorrect implementation by the Member States and/or incorrect application by issuing and executing judicial authorities of the Member States.

How can we contribute?

ImprovEAW intends to identify the causes of the (perceived) need for supplementary information, to prevent, as far as possible, that (perceived) need from arising and to fill, as far as possible, that (perceived) need, once arisen, by providing for common practical guidelines for filling in and assessing the EAW. It does so by obtaining information form the practitioners’ issuing and executing judicial authorities.

On the basis of the results of a questionnaire, the practical problems that authorities of Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Romania and The Netherlands face, as well as the roots of these problems will be identified. Common solutions, practice oriented and best practices for solving these problems will be developed and, where applicable, recommendations to the EU or to the Member States shall be made.

Objectives of the project:

ImprovEAW intends to identify causes of the most common defects in EAWs and, as far as possible, propose common practical guidelines for issuing and executing EAWs that prevent such defects from happening. Thereby, the project final goal is to improve issuing/execution of EAWs, mutual recognition of EAWs and mutual trust between judicial authorities and Member States.