Webinar on the ELI Proposal for a Directive on Mutual Admissibility of Evidence and Electronic Evidence in Criminal Proceedings in the EU


The above webinar, organised on the occasion of the publication of the above ELI output, took place on 30 May 2023 from 18:00–19:30 CET.

The webinar was opened by Teresa Rodríguez de las Heras Ballell (Chair; Assessor of the ELI project; Professor, Charles III University of Madrid), who welcomed the participants and introduced the panellists.

Lorena Bachmaier Winter (Project Co-Reporter; Professor, Complutense University) and Farsam Salimi (Project Co-Reporter; Associate Professor, University of Vienna) presented the most important features of the Proposal. Lorena Bachmaier Winter explained that the Proposal provides guidance on future EU legislative action in the field. It aims at harmonising approaches in EU Member States and, through it, enhancing the principle of mutual recognition in criminal matters in the interest of victims as well as the protection of human rights of suspects and accused. The Proposal is timely, as the recent EncroChat and Sky ECC cases illustrated. Among its advantages is that it strikes the balance between the efficiency of prosecution while protecting human rights. Farsam Salimi continued with providing further details of the Proposal. He emphasised that it aims at achieving two goals, establishing basic rules on the cross-border handling of evidence and implementing specific rules on the handling of electronic evidence. He went on to outline key provisions of the Proposal.

Sveva Franco (Legal and Policy Officer, Criminal Procedural Law (JUST.A.5), European Commission) congratulated ELI for the important work on the Proposal, the publication of which is very welcomed by the Commission. She then presented the existing legislative framework in the field at EU level and the recent developments in the work of the Commission, indirectly linked to the topic. Referring to the recent study commissioned by the European Commission on cross-border evidence in criminal proceedings, she then provided her personal reflections on the ELI Proposal.

Serge de Biolley (Director, JAI.2 — Justice, General Secretariat of the Council) also shared his personal reflections on the Proposal. He said that having a concrete Proposal provides a very interesting way to look at this issue and congratulated ELI on the accomplishment. He then provided an overview of the current state of EU criminal law and said that there is a clear move towards a substantive criminal law (eg in the area of the protection of the environment, trafficking in human beings, violence against women, among others) and wondered whether the EU Member States will be prepared to support the solutions included in the Proposal now. De Biolley concluded by adding further personal reflections on the ELI Proposal.

Danilo Ceccarelli (European Prosecutor for Italy, European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO)) reflected on the ELI Proposal from the practitioner’s point of view. He stressed that harmonisation in this area is really needed, and opined that admissibility of evidence is an unfinished job of the EU legislator. He praised the approach taken in the Proposal, which strikes the balance between the need for an effective prosecution on one side, and the rights of the defence and of the private parties on the other side. He suggested some solutions that could be considered to make the Proposal more workable, including on Article 4 on the general rules on admissibility of evidence.

The presentations were followed by a lively discussion with participants.

The recording of the webinar is available below.