On the 27th August and 28th of August 2021, the final consortium meeting of the EU JUSTICE project EIO-LAPD took place at the Faculty of Law in Graz. The hosts of the final meeting, Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Folz (Institute of European Law) and Prof. Dr. Gabriele Schmölzer (Institute of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Criminology) welcomed representatives of the Universities of Maribor, Göttingen, Turin, Zagreb and the Jožef Stefan Institute on site and digitally at the Faculty of Law to discuss the progress of EIO-LAPD.

Since 2019, researchers from the partner universities have been working on researching the national implementation and practical use of the European Investigation Order (EIO). The project focuses on both the theoretical examination of the EIO and its practical use in cross-border evidence gathering.

On the first day of the project meeting, the already achieved goals of the project were discussed. In the course of the project, country reports and an international comparative report were successfully published, highlighting deficits in implementation and open questions. These reports are based on research conducted at the respective universities and interviews with practitioners who work with the EIO on a daily basis. The researched problems have already been reported to the Commission so that they can be considered in the next amendment of Directive 2014/41/EU. In the countries of the partner universities, practitioner seminars have already been organized with prosecutors, judges and lawyers, focusing on the practical use of the EIO. A highlight of the EIO-LAPD project was also the international online conference, which took place in December 2020 with top-class speakers and more than 130 interested participants.

On the second day, the meeting focused on the results still to be achieved. In the coming months, guidelines for practitioners will be published to facilitate the work with the EIO, as well as an anthology with many interesting contributions on the topic of the EIO and cross-border investigations. The final meeting was rounded off by a guided tour of Graz, where the international guests were able to get to know the old town and other landmarks.

Author: Mag. Lara Unger BA, research and teaching assistant at the Institute for Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law and Criminology at the University of Graz.