The European Arrest Warrant

 The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is the key mutual recognition initiative in criminal law. Entering into force on 1 January 2004, it replaced the traditional extradition system within the EU with an arrest warrant, valid for the entire territory of the EU, which can be issued by Member State authorities. In general, a test of “dual criminality”, namely that the act to which the warrant relates is an offence in both the issuing and executing states, is required, although for a list of thirty-two offences no such test is necessary.

EAWThe ECBA have followed the development of this instrument, and have made submissions and representations about the problems encountered by the accused and defendants faced with such proceedings, in particular access to legal advice in both the issuing and executing states.  The framework decision was adopted in haste following the events of 9/11 as an essential tool to tackle terrorism, however there have been concerns about the lack of procedural safeguards in the new system.  In particular, the measures introduced under the Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings in the EU, which was intended as a countermeasure to the powers granted under the EAW have still yet to be adopted.

  1. The key work the ECBA has conducted in this area includes:
    The European Arrest Warrant Project Website – providing practical information to defence lawyers and the public about the adoption of the framework decision in each member state and as a resource of case law.
  2. Attending expert meetings, providing information about problems encountered by defence lawyers and campaigning for procedural safeguards to protect the rights of citizens throughout the EU
  3. The EAW-legal aid project – In conjunction with Justice, this project will collate information about the provision (or lack of) legal aid available to citizens who are subject to EAW proceedings.

If you are interested in becoming involved in this Project and/or Working Group please contact the secretariat secretariat@ecba.org