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European Judicial Network in criminal matters

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The aim of the European Judicial Network is to improve judicial cooperation between Member States of the European Union (EU), both at the legal and practical level, in order to combat serious crime (organised crime, corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism).

ACT

Joint Action 98/428/JHA of 29 June 1998 adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, on the creation of a European Judicial Network.

SUMMARY

The joint action establishes a network of judicial contact points between Member States ("European Judicial Network").

The European Judicial Network is made up of the following:

  • the central authorities in each Member State responsible for international judicial cooperation;
  • one or more contact points in each Member State, each having an adequate knowledge of a language of the European Union (EU) other than its own national language;
  • liaison magistrates may be linked to the European Judicial Network by the Member State that appoints them;
  • the Commission will designate a contact point for those areas falling within its sphere of competence.

The European Judicial Network will:

  • facilitate the establishment of appropriate contacts between the contact points in the various Member States;
  • organise periodic meetings of Member States' representatives;
  • constantly provide a certain amount of up-to-date background information, notably by means of an appropriate telecommunications network.

The contact points will:

  • be active intermediaries with the task of facilitating judicial cooperation between Member States, particularly in combating serious crime (organised crime, corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism). They will be available to the local judicial authorities;
  • provide the necessary legal and practical information to the local judicial authorities in their own and in other countries as well as to the contact points in other countries, so as to enable them to prepare an effective request for judicial cooperation or to improve judicial cooperation in general;
  • improve coordination of judicial cooperation in cases where a series of requests from the local judicial authorities in one Member State necessitates coordinated action in another Member State.

The first meeting of the European Judicial Network was held on 25 September 1998. The aims of the periodic meetings, which will be held in Brussels as a rule, are to:

  • allow the contact points to get to know each other and exchange experience;
  • provide a forum for discussing problems with the implementation of EU measures.

The contact points must have permanent access to the following four types of information in the network:

  • full details of the contact points in each Member State;
  • a simplified list of the judicial authorities and a directory of the local authorities in each Member State;
  • concise legal and practical information concerning the judicial and procedural systems in the Member States;
  • the texts of the relevant legal instruments and, for conventions currently in force, the text of the declarations and reservations.

Repeal of Joint Action 98/428/JHA

This joint action was repealed by Council Decision 2008/976/JHA on the European Judicial Network, which entered into force on 24 December 2008. The need to replace the joint action arose from developments in the field of judicial cooperation between Member States, namely regarding the implementation of the principles on mutual legal assistance and mutual recognition of judicial decisions in criminal matters. The EU enlargements of 2004 and 2007 further heightened the need to strengthen the network. In addition, it was necessary to clarify the relationship between the network and Eurojust and to facilitate their communication.

REFERENCES

ActDate of entry into force – Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Joint Action 98/428/JHA

7.8.1998 – 23.12.2008

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JO L 191 of 7.7.1998

Last updated: 09.09.2009
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