JUDICIAL EXPERTISE IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS IN EUROPE
Preliminary proposal

By Jennifer BOIROT, executive committee member of EEEI,


I. PROJECT : MAIN OBJECTIVES


This project sets a dual purpose: to realize a sociography of the European experts involved in criminal proceedings (throw each stage of the judicial process, from preliminary investigation up to trial), and improve knowledge on judicial practices in this area, in each Members States in the European Union.

The aim of this project is to realize something similar to what the EEEI have already done concerning civil proceedings: inventory of proceedings and status of the experts; synthesis about similarities and differences in the status of experts and existing procedures; proposals for consensus; workshops and public debate (European symposium), and, in a close future, a Guide of good practices in criminal matters.
Obviously, things should be a little more complex due to the different rules of criminal justice system in each country in Europe (inquisitorial/accusatorial proceeding) and because of the disparities in “institutional” organization of this activity (from “individual” partners providing forensic examination as a complementary activity to “public” employees for whom this is full-time work; lists of experts or not; accreditation, training and selection…). We need to know more about who are those experts as well as on the existing national rules: legal status and structure of expertise orient the way in which experts, judges and the parties interact during the judicial process, from investigation up to trial, from assignment to the task up to use of the forensic report.
        
Besides a comparative law analysis, this inventory work will provide a more “pragmatic” view through the many exchanges and discussions planned between practitioners with a high level of expertise (workshops, videoconferences, European symposium).

Judicial experts are more than marginal actors in criminal proceedings: they often are within “the heart” of the decision-making process. That’s why beyond the statutory or organizational considerations, find convergences tracks also aims to improve the framework of the activity to ensure quality.
At national level, firstly, since the requirement of competence is source of trust. Enhance both “initial” training and throughout the “career”, encourage and develop the tools for selecting candidates, are significant aspects to gain in quality (and consequently, foster trust granted to them).
At a European level, also. Developing mutual trust among Member States is one of the major challenges for the creation of a common justice area. Mutual recognition of judicial decisions is a key concept in the sphere of judicial cooperation.

Moreover, it is based on mutual trust that EU countries have in each others’ systems. European harmonization presupposes the mutual recognition of expert evaluations conducted in other member countries, since court decisions are – partially – based on these expert reports. How can expertise be accepted if nothing is known of the way it was established and of the author’s qualifications? For this reason European harmonization requires better knowledge of how evaluation by experts is performed and what national procedures exist, an exchange of information and the definition of shared objectives by practitioners and judges throughout Europe.
That’s why enhance mutual recognition by improving knowledge on judicial expertise in criminal proceedings is another – and essential – way to improve the efficiency of cross-border cooperation.
Objectives which are at the heart of the dynamics of EEEI since its inception.

 

II. METHODOLOGY 

 

With its successful experiences with civil expertise (EUREXPERTISE and EGLE projects *), this ambitious project meets concrete needs from judicial actors faced with these problems in their daily practice.
Based on reliable data collection from recognized institutions and professionals (Supreme Courts, Experts Companies, Liaison Magistrates, Bars, European Networks) and the exchange of databases, this project aims to overcome national differences to explore ways of transnational convergences.
The EEEI can rely on its partners to succeed (more than 200 individual as well as institutional members, representing a dozen countries in Europe).

The team assigned to this project is currently being established.

This project will be co-directed by Nienke MULDER, Senior Policy Advisor, Netherlands Register of Court Experts – NRGD (Netherlands) and Jennifer BOIROT, PhD in Political Science and Researcher, National Center for Scientific Research – CNRS, unit CESDIP (France).

 

Nom

Prénom

Qualité

BARBU

Gabriel

PhD Judge of Brasov Court of Appeal
Lecturer at Transilvania University of Brasov

BOIROT

Jennifer

PhD – Researcher CNRS- France

CRISTEA

Simona

Prof. dr at the University of Bucarest
Judge at the High Court of Cassation and Justice of Romania

COLDEFY

Olivier

Forensic Psychologist - Expert

De BRIER

Christian

Forensic Medicine

FALETTI

François

Honorary General prosecutor Court of Appeal of Paris

KOSTER

Norbert

Judge at the High Court, Germany
Office of Personnel Development
Lecturer of International Relations

LEBE

Viviane

Honorary President of the Labour Court of Liège

MARCOTULLI

Alice

Lawyer Italy

MULDER

Nienke

Senior Policy Advisor – NRDG - Netherlands

NUEE

Alain

Honorary First President of the Court of Appeal of Versailles

SALAZAR

Lorenzo

General prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Naples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

III. PROVISIONNAL SCHEDULE 


An application was filed in September to the French Ministry of Justice (GIP Mission de recherche Droit et Justice) for a financial support, call for spontaneous project.

  • October 2016 – January 2017:

Prepare the application concerning the European Commission: (Justice program : Action grants to support transnational projects to promote judicial cooperation in criminal matters
[http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/just/topics/just-jcoo-crim-ag-2016.html]; Opening date: 09 November 2016 – 11 January 2017)

  • February 2017 – April 2017: Questionnaire and recipients list

Developing the questionnaire; exchange about items; validation by the members of the working group.
For each country in UE, identifying and creating recipients list: Supreme Courts, Courts of Appeal, Liaison Magistrates, Ministries of Justice.
Distribution of information gathering among members of the working group.

  • May 2017 – May 2018: Data collection and synthesis

Diffusion of the questionnaire; advices and clarifications; send again if necessary (no response).
Analysis and processing date: Harmonization of answers; Inventory of the status of experts and proceedings in criminal matters, differences and similarities; identify tracks for harmonizing/improving practices (standardization of procedures to enforce quality).
Synthesis in English and French.

  • May 2018: EEEI General Assembly (it could be the opportunity to present first results and gather comments, remarks and work paths).
  • June 2018 – November 2018: Presentation of the results and proposals – European Symposium

Conference and public debate in a symposium which could be held at the European Parliament (1.5 days).

  • December 2018 – February 2019: Symposium Proceedings - Diffusion

Drafting Symposium proceedings.
Publication (flyers, website, within judicial networks and experts in Europe).

 

IV. RESULTS EXPECTED


Combined with a rigorous methodology that has proven itself in terms of civil expertise, expected results will prove quite representative of the issues and challenges with expertise in criminal matters.
The aim of this project is to promote judicial cooperation in criminal matters throw the expertise and contribute to the effective and coherent application of EU mutual recognition instruments in criminal matters. It could also be an opportunity implementing an effective quality assurance system in the European Union for the processes, for the skills of those involved in criminal expertise. Mutual learning, identifying and exchange best practice may be transferable to other countries. We must also consider the exchange of information between the different actors of criminal expertise and even interconnecting national databases.

Providing practical tools and dedicated training modules to help practitioners dealing with their mission, researching consensus in formation, selection, procedures, are some ways to work for enforcing the guarantee (and the effectiveness) of the principle of a free access to a Justice of quality for European citizen and developing mutual trust between Member States

 

* For more information on these two projects co-financed by the European Commission :
Project EUREXPERTISE [http://www.experts-institute.eu/-EUREXPERTISE,86-.html]
Project EGLE [http://www.experts-institute.eu/-Le-projet-EGLE-demarre,840-.html]