This section gives an overview of EU law on gathering evidence, providing mutual legal assistance and setting up Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) in cross-border cases.
Freezing of assets and evidence
Freezing of property or evidence in the European Union may be required to enable its use in a criminal trial or in view of its confiscation. It can be done on the basis of the Council Framework Decision which establishes the rules under which a Member State is to recognise and execute in its territory a freezing order issued by a judicial authority of another Member State in the framework of criminal proceedings.
The confiscation of the proceeds of crime has long been seen within the European Union as one of the most effective tools to fight organised crime. The confiscation targets the main reason of existence of criminal organisations, i.e. maximisation of profit by illicit means. Confiscation means a final judicial decision, which results in the final deprivation of property.
ECRIS (European Criminal Records Information Exchange System) was created in April 2012 to facilitate the exchange of information on criminal records throughout the EU. It establishes electronic interconnections between Member States and puts rules into place to ensure that information on convictions as contained in the criminal records system of the Member States can be exchanged through standardised electronic formats, in a uniform and speedy way, and within short legal deadlines.