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European Judicial Network

This decision lays down the operational provisions of the European Judicial Network. It establishes the functions of the network, provides for the setting up of a telecommunications tool and clarifies the relationship between the network and Eurojust.

ACT

Council Decision 2008/976/JHA of 16 December 2008 on the European Judicial Network.

SUMMARY

This decision provides provisions for the continuation of the European Judicial Network, while repealing Joint Action 98/428/JHA that established it.

The network is composed of Member States’ central and other competent authorities for international judicial cooperation. Each Member State establishes one or more judicial contact points, amongst which one is assigned as a national correspondent for the network. Member States are also to assign a tool correspondent. The national liaison magistrates that have similar duties to those of the contact points are also linked to the network. The Commission appoints a contact point for issues that are under its responsibility.

Functions

The principal task of the network is to facilitate judicial cooperation in criminal matters between Member States by improving communication between the contact points, by organising regular meetings for the representatives of Member States and by providing the necessary background information.

The contact points are intermediaries between Member States, aiming to improve judicial cooperation in combating all forms of serious crime. They are to enable direct contacts among local judicial and other competent authorities as well as other contact points throughout the European Union (EU). To this end, contact points must provide each other and the competent authorities with the necessary legal and practical information. In addition, contact points promote and participate in the organisation of training sessions, collaborating with the European Judicial Training Network where appropriate.

The national correspondent has additional responsibilities, namely those relating to the internal functioning of the network, acting as the point of contact for the secretariat of the network and providing an opinion when new contact points are appointed. The tool correspondent is responsible for ensuring that the relevant information regarding its Member State is up to date and available for dissemination in the network.

Network meetings

Plenary meetings of the network are organised on a regular basis and at least three times a year. A minimum of three contact points from each Member State are invited to these meetings to exchange experiences on the operation of the network and to discuss practical and legal problems regarding the implementation of Community measures on judicial cooperation. The results of these meetings will be used as a basis for discussing any possible legislative changes and improvements at Community level. Both the national and tool correspondents are to hold at least one meeting a year on an ad hoc basis.

Dissemination of information

The secretariat of the network must provide the contact points and the competent judicial authorities with up to date information on:

  • the details of the national contact points;
  • an information technology tool through which the competent authority for requesting judicial cooperation may be identified;
  • national judicial and procedural systems;
  • texts of relevant legal instruments, declarations and reservations.

The secretariat must disseminate this information through a website. In addition, it must establish a secure telecommunications connection for data flow and the requests for judicial cooperation.

The network and Eurojust complement each other through a privileged relationship that is based on consultation. The activities of the secretariat of the network are covered by the budget of Eurojust.

Background

The implementation of the principles of mutual legal assistance and mutual recognition of judicial decisions in criminal matters, as well as the 2004 and 2007 enlargements of the Union have had an impact on the nature of judicial cooperation in the EU. Therefore, the role of the European Judicial Network has become more significant and the need to strengthen it more imperative.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2008/976/JHA

24.12.2008

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OJ L 348 of 24.12.2008

RELATED ACTS

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on the establishment of a Network for legislative cooperation between the Ministries of Justice of the European Union [Official Journal C 326 of 20.12.2008].

Last updated: 10.04.2009

See also

For further information, please visit the website of the European Judicial Network.

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