The annual conference of LEAP (the Legal Experts Advisory Panel) will take place in Budapest on 5 and 6 February 2016. As in previous years, it will be an opportunity for legal experts from across Europe to discuss the various challenges faced by criminal justice systems in the region, including those specific to asylum seekers and refugees. The two day conference will include contributions from key-note speakers during plenary sessions, as well as also break-out sessions in smaller groups to take part in discussion and problem-solving workshops.
It’s been another busy year for LEAP, and there is no shortage of continuing issues revolving around criminal justice across the EU. One of the most pressing ones is perhaps the plight of asylum seekers and refugees, who are oftentimes caught up in the criminal justice systems of EU States. LEAP members (“LEAP”) have previously pointed out that refugees’ vulnerability is often a recipe for discriminatory treatment, as many lack access to interpretation services and are typically more susceptible to pre-trial detention.
The first part of the conference will cover the state of affairs and future of procedural rights in the EU, especially regarding vulnerable suspects, and asylum seekers and refugees. In the second bloc, LEAP members will address their role in litigation from the perspectives of practitioners, judges, prosecutors, and Ombudsmen. The third and closing part of the conference will explore current criminal defence challenges in the EU, such as plea bargaining, judicial remedies, and evidence.
The Legal Experts Advisory Panel (LEAP) is an EU-wide network of experts in criminal justice and human rights which works to promote fair and effective judicial cooperation within Europe. There are currently over 120 members, made up of lawyers, NGOs, and academics, covering all 28 EU Member States. Through Fair Trials’ coordination, LEAP is able to offer an expert view on a broad range of EU criminal justice topics, while also boosting cooperation between human rights defenders in cross-border work.