1920 Mar 2020
A Criminal Law event

*CANCELLED* Fair criminal proceedings in Europe: the limits of regulating by legal rules


*This conference is cancelled and the (re-)scheduled conference for 1-2 October 2020 is provisionally cancelled*.

The current (and projected) situation around COVID-19 and restrictions on travel and public gatherings do not allow to hold the conference with personal presence of speakers and participants. Given its highly interactive nature, an online format is not suitable for this event.

We are committed to organising the conference at a later date, hopefully in 2021, when the epidemiological situation improves and the respective restrictions are lifted. We will keep you informed about the developments on this webpage. 



The EU plays an increasingly important role in security and justice-related issues of the Member States. It deals with matters like border control, terrorism, organised crime and criminal justice. EU actions on cooperation in criminal matters aim at improving mutual confidence between Member States' judicial systems. These objectives are sought to be achieved primarily through the approximation of national procedural laws. EU has been criticised for prioritising ‘safety and security’, or effective law enforcement cooperation, over ‘justice’, or the rights of individuals. EU has attempted to address the ‘human rights deficit’, notably, by adopting legislation on procedural rights in criminal proceedings.


Thursday 19 March 



12:30-13:00  Opening and welcome

Session 1: EU fair trial standards and ‘procedural justice’.
The new EU legislation on fair trial rights in criminal proceedings aims to enhance ‘procedural justice’ or ‘procedural fairness’ in EU Member States. Is the (implicit) definition of ‘procedural fairness’ adopted in the EU instruments adequate? For instance, in view of the recent developments in national criminal procedures, contemporary societal challenges or threats (including threats to fundamental rights), or the emerging inter-disciplinary knowledge? Is the EU approach to promoting fairness in criminal proceedings sufficiently effective?

Speakers: Prof. Dr. Jackie Hodgson, Warwick University, UK  
              ​      Dr. Irene Wieczorek, Durham University, UK 
                    Prof. Dr. Ed Cape, University of the West of England, UK

Moderator: Dr. Julieta Marotta, UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, Maastricht University & Dr. Anna Pivaty, FoL, Maastricht University


Coffee break


Session 2: ‘Vulnerability’ in criminal proceedings.
The EU has recognized the need to improve the treatment of vulnerable persons in the national criminal proceedings, but struggled to adopt binding legislative instruments in this area. Instead, the European Commission adopted a recommendation on procedural safeguards for vulnerable persons suspected or accused in the criminal proceedings. Psychological research, however, points at various challenges of defining ‘vulnerability’ and the difficulties of translating these definitions into the legal field. Vulnerability must also be assessed individually with regard to the particular stage/action in the criminal proceedings. This makes the enforcement of the requirement to treat each vulnerable suspect (witness/victim) ‘fairly’ in the criminal proceedings particularly challenging. In view of this, can a ‘working definition’ of vulnerability in criminal proceedings be formulated, and how can it be enforced? What, if anything can EU realistically do to promote fair treatment of vulnerable persons in criminal proceedings?

Speakers: Dr. Roxanna Dehaghani, Cardiff University, UK
                    Ms. Lesley Laver, Independent Researcher
                    Prof. Dr. Corine de Ruiter, Maastricht University, Netherlands
Moderators: Dr. Koen Geijsen, Maastricht University, FPN and Dutch Police Academy & Dr. Dorris de Vocht, FoL, Maastricht University


Book launch
A. Pivaty ‘Criminal Defence at Police Stations: A Comparative and Empirical Study’

Speakers: Dr. Yvonne Daly, Dublin City University, Ireland
                    Dr. Anneli Soo, Tartu University, Estonia 

17:45-18:30 Drinks at Restaurant Petit Bonheur
18:30-21:00 Dinner for all registered attendees at Restaurant Petit Bonheur

Friday 20 March


Session 3: Standard and burden of proof in criminal proceedings.
The newly-adopted EU Directive 2016/343 on the presumption of innocence stipulates that the burden of proof for the establishing of guilt must be on the prosecution, and that any doubt concerning the accused’s guilt must lead to acquittal, with the exception inter alia of the independence of judges in the assessment of the evidence. This formulation, which may be perceived as inherently contradictory, leaves many questions open. For instance, should there be a common approach with regard to how judges in the MS should assess the sufficiency of evidence, i.e. when and how the standard of proof should be met? Another question is whether the assessment of the standard and burden of proof should or could be further regulated on the EU level, or should other measures be taken to ‘harmonise’ these processes in practice?

Speakers: Dr. Marieke Dubelaar, Radboud University, Netherlands
                    Dr. Yvonne Daly, Dublin City University, Ireland 
              ​      Dr. Nicole Adams-Quackenbush, University of Wolverhampton, UK​ 
                    Dr. Kelly Pitcher, Leiden University

Moderators: Dr. Dorris de Vocht, FoL, Maastricht University & Ms. Peggy ter Vrugt, FoL, Maastricht University

11:00-11:30  Coffee break

Session 4: Risk of re-offending: pre-trial detention and sentencing.
Framework Decision 2008/829 on Supervising Detention on Remand aims at reducing pre-trial detention within the EU, especially for those accused not residing in the trial state. With Framework Decisions 2008/909 and 2008/947 the EU strives for stimulating the resocialisation and integration of the offender as well as reducing the application of prison sentences. This is generally regarded as a stimulus to reduce re-offending as well. Do these instruments and tools achieve the goals set?

Speakers: Prof. Dr. Seena Fazel, Oxford University, UK 
                    Dr. Adriano Martufi, Leiden University, Netherlands 
                    Ms. Jennifer Kamorowski, Maastricht University, Netherlands

Moderators: Dr. Christina Peristeridou, FoL, Maastricht University & Dr. Anna Pivaty, FoL, Maastricht University

13:00-14:00  Lunch in "Lenculenhal" room C0.300B

Session 5: Forensic expert evidence in (cross-border) criminal proceedings. 
The EU supports the exchange of forensic evidence across Member States, and takes measures aimed to facilitate such exchange. Thus, it has pledged to create a ‘European Forensic Science Area’ in 2020, which would facilitate exchange of forensic knowledge among MS and develop quality standards for forensic investigations. There are also calls to develop EU-wide minimum standards on the admissibility of expert evidence in criminal proceedings. However, the assessment of forensic evidence and expert reports in the framework of legal proceedings is a very challenging task for legal actors. These challenges are likely to be amplified where evidence originates from a different Member State.

Speakers: Prof. Dr. Paul Roberts, Nottingham University, UK
                    Prof. Dr. Ton Broeders, Leiden University, Netherlands 
                    Prof. Dr. Marijke Malsch, Open University, Netherlands Institute for the
                    Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, Netherlands

Moderators: Dr. Melanie Sauerland, FPN, Maastricht University & Prof. André Klip, FoL, Maastricht University

15:30-16:00     Closing remarks



Participation fee (regular participants or non-speakers):
100 EUR - for regular participants
  50 EUR - for students/PhDs including dinner (day 1) and lunch (day 2)
    0 EUR - for students/PhDs excluding dinner (day 1) and lunch (day 2)
    0 EUR - for invited speakers and employees of the European Commission

Registration and payment by 5 March (via the green button on the right side of this page).

Participation as speaker in individual panels is by invitation only. Speakers will present their responses and remarks on the questions suggested by organisers. Limited financial support is available for conference speakers. If you would like to act as a speaker, please contact Dr. Anna Pivaty at a.pivaty[at]maastrichtuniversity[dot]nl outlining the reasons for your interest.


Partly financed by SWOL, University Fund Limburg.

SWOL aims to support scientific research and education at Maastricht University. Science is a crucial building block to achieve a better future for next generations.




Partly financed by Maastricht, Working on Europe.

The aim of Maastricht, Working on Europe is to position Maastricht as a meeting place for citizen dialogue and debate and establish a Centre of Excellence for research on Europe and European integration. In short: a workplace for a better Europe. For everyone.
Website: www.maastrichteurope.nl
Twitter: @WorkingOnEurope