On 26 & 27 October 2017, the Ministry of Justice and Security and the Erasmus School of Law organized the international Conference Comparative insights for the modernization of the Dutch Code of Criminal Procedure.
The Conference was initiated by prof. Pieter Verrest of the Criminal law section of ESL. In his inaugural lecture Europese idealen held in September 2016, he amongst other things in fact criticized the minor role that comparative law tends to play in the project of the Dutch government to revise the Code of Criminal Procedure. However, the relevance of comparative law and research in this area is evident: all European countries are more or less confronted with the same challenges. There is a need to adapting criminal procedure to the digital age, a common desire to simplify and fasten proceedings, and every procedural system has to comply with the same European fundamental rights standards.
The working Conference took place on the EUR campus and gathered legislative lawyers and prominent scholars from six participating countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Norway and Switzerland.
The Conference started with a general part, where key speakers from the participating foreign countries provided introductions into recent developments in the criminal procedural law of their respective countries. Subsequently, two rounds of workshops were dedicated to topics that are of particular importance in the framework of the modernization of the Dutch Code of Criminal Procedure. These topics included pre-trial detention, the search and seizure of data, extrajudicial proceedings and simplified court proceedings, streamlining appeal procedures, the position of victims in criminal procedure and the involvement of a judge in the execution of penalties.
Through its thorough preparation, detailed organization, and the chosen formula for exercising comparative law, the Conference encountered great enthusiasm from the participants. It furthermore confirmed ESL’s ambitions and leading position in the field of comparative criminal law.
The results of the Conference will be published as a volume which will be an integral part of the modernization project and presented to Parliament.