In early 1997, Professor Franz Salditt, on behalf of Deutscher Anwaltverein, Germany, and Rock Tansey QC, on behalf of the Criminal Bar Association of England and Wales, went to Strasbourg to meet Mr Hans Christian Kruger (General Secretary of the European Commission of Human Rights) and Mr Wolfgang Strasser (Deputy Secretary of the ECHR), at the European Commission of Human Rights.
The aim of the meeting was to consider the establishment of a European Association of Practising Criminal Defence Lawyers. Mr Kruger and Mr Strasser gave much encouragement, help and support to the establishment of such an association.
Subsequently, invitations were sent by Rock Tansey QC to the Bar Councils of Europe to support such an association. Various Bars and individuals expressed a real interest in establishing the European Criminal Bar Association.
Accordingly, in May 1997, a group of European criminal defence lawyers convened a Conference at the European Commission of Human Rights in Strasbourg with the theme: "Are the rights of the accused to a fair trial being undermined?". The subjects discussed at the Conference were: the role of the media in the criminal process, pre-trial disclosure, police powers of surveillance, telephone tapping and bugging, the right to silence, the right to confront witnesses, the admissibility of illegally obtained evidence, and entrapment. The Conference was a resounding success. The Conference agreed to set up the European Criminal Bar Association and to arrange further Conferences.
A second Conference was organised, and it took place in Strasbourg on 25 and 26 June 1998. The theme was "The Individual and the State", with principal speakers from Germany, Italy, Scotland, Luxembourg, Holland, Northern Ireland, Greece and England. As a result of the success of the Conference, and the continuing expansion of the Association, further Conferences were held (click on the 'conferences' menu for detailed information).