The European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA) is a leading group of independent criminal defence lawyers in the Council of Europe

 On 27.02.2023 the Court of Justice of the European Union held a Grand Chamber hearing in the case of GK and Others.

The ECBA published an open letter in a constructive and cooperative spirit, with the aim of assisting the Court.

 The full details of the case have not been made public, and there is no procedural framework for the ECBA (or any other organizations representing the legal profession, such as the CCBE – Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe) to intervene as a third party. 

 This is regrettable, as it means that a case which is crucial for the definition of the protection of individual rights and the rights of legal persons in the scope of EPPO proceedings is being dealt with in secrecy and without the institutional participation of the organisations representing the Bar. 

These procedural limitations put into sharp profile the existing structural inequality of arms in EPPO proceedings: the EPPO as an institution is allowed to participate actively in the above-mentioned proceedings and make its case before the CJEU. Defence lawyers, however, may only participate in their individual capacity for the persons targeted by the measures adopted in the case at hand.