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Successful LLX on the operation of the European Arrest Warrant in the Shadow of Europe’s Rule of Law Crisis

The current rule of law debate in the EU occupies not only the mind of European policy and lawmakers, but also of legal practitioners on the ground. The Europa Institute, in collaboration with the Meijers Committee, therefore organized a Leiden Law Exchange (LLX) to facilitate the exchange of ideas on this topic between academics, practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders, under the Chatham House Rules.

Three distinguished speakers introduced the topic for discussion, how to respond to a request for the execution of European Arrest Warrants in cases of possible violations of the right to a fair trial. 

The first speaker, Karin Glerum (member and chair of the Chamber for International co-operation in criminal matters at the District Court of Amsterdam) explained how the Amsterdam District Court has responded to appeals against surrender based on the right to a fair trial and how it has applied the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice in the L.M. case (case C-216/18 PPU).

The second speaker, Dariusz Mazur (Chief of the Third Criminal Division of Regional Court in Cracow and spokesperson of the Polish Association of Judges ‘Themis’) gave an overview of the concerns caused by the recent changes in Polish legislation and how these affect the independence and impartiality of the Polish judiciary.

The last speaker, Michiel Luchtman (professor of Transnational law enforcement and fundamental rights at Utrecht University) placed the L.M. judgement in the context of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and looked at how the judgment has been applied by national courts.

During a short, but lively debate it was discussed whether the European Arrest Warrant – designed as a judicial cooperation mechanism – is actually suitable to operate as a rule of law instrument. The safeguards provided in the L.M. case and the requirement that the sought person himself will suffer or risks suffering a denial of a fair trial, in practice proves hard to meet. This could however change depending on the evolvement of current procedures against Member States with rule of law issues.

The organisers would like to thank both the speakers and participants for their valuable insights and contribution to the discussion.

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