EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini has presented a plan to strengthen the mutual recognition of member state judicial decisions.
In detailing the Commission plan set out in a communication of 20 May 2005, Frattini emphasised the need for more trust between member states as being the “cornerstone of judicial co-operation”.
One of the principles of the Hague programme for creating an area of justice, freedom and security within the EU is the mutual recognition of criminal and civil court decisions. This does not entail exact harmony of laws but the acceptance of courts in all states that decisions of other member state courts are equivalent to their own. The success of the European arrest warrant has shown the benefits of such an approach and it now needs to be extended throughout the judicial process, says the Commission.
The communication outlines a dual basis for the furtherance of mutual recognition: a set of broadly defined procedural practices and safeguards (the presumption of innocence, evidential standards, jurisdiction) and mechanisms for co-operation, training and mutual understanding amongst judicial practitioners to foster a “European judicial culture”.