Rights such as the right to interpretation and translation, the right to information, the right to be present at trial, the procedural safeguards for suspect and accused children, the safeguards deriving from the presumption of innocence, the right of legal aid and the right to access a lawyer and have a third party informed upon deprivation of liberty are all examples of what was at stake in the Cross-justice project, funded by the European Commission DG Justice.
The project was developed under the supervision of the leading institution University of Bologna and developed a platform for research and legal analysis on criminal procedural rights in judicial cooperation.
This technical tool created awareness on the legal gaps related to implementation and interpretation of rights throughout two actions: a free and updated information and advisory service directed to legal professionals, law students, academics and citizens; the creation of capacity building tools, including professional trainings and legal reports, for legal professionals and law students on the national implementation of the EU acquis on procedural rights.
Cooperation and exchange of information was an overarching objective pursued at different levels: in the legal practice of procedural rights between judicial and enforcement authorities; in setting up technical tools to build knowledge between computer scientists and lawyers; in a consolidated research programme for the exchange knowledge and practice among experienced partners. Crossjustice overcame the fragmentation of national legal systems and facilitated the understanding of a common framework.
Combining the use of technology with the legal analysis, CrossJustice offered three tools of knowledge:
1) a reasoning tool based on legal solutions to specific cases;
2) a legal database including information about crimes;
3) an advisory module to help legal professionals on rules’ application.
The European University Institute was involved with the team of the Centre for Judicial Cooperation at the Robert Schuman Centre. And because all this work is not ending with the end of the project, they are now working at its follow-up, which will be called Facilex project. It will start at the end of 2022 with the objective of improving technological functionalities and making the law and legal expertise more and more useful and effective.