A practitioners’ workshop was held in Sofia within the CrossJustice project on the rights of defendants in criminal proceedings

24 June 2021

On June 23, 2021 in Sofia, in Hall 201 of the National Institute of Justice, was held a practical workshop for magistrates and lawyers on the topic: "Procedural Rights of Persons Suspected or Accused of a Crime under EU and National Law - Presentation of the CrossJustice Platform". The event was organized by APIS Europe as part of the activities in work package 5 "Testing, Capacity Building and Dissemination" under the CrossJustice project and was aimed at judges and lawyers practicing in the field of criminal law and protection of fundamental rights. Along with those present in the hall, participants from all over the country took part in the event via the Zoom platform.

With the opening of the event, the Project was briefly presented, followed by real-time demonstrations via share screening of the two modules of the developed free online CrossJustice platform. The purpose of the demonstration was to introduce the scope of the legal information of the two modules - the Legal Database Module and the Advisory Module, the functionalities they support and the benefits for practitioners from working with the platform. The legal expert of the Bulgarian project team - Chief Assistant Professor Dr. Miroslava Manolova (Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"), and Associate Professor Dr. Ekaterina Salkova (Institute for the State and the Law - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) were invited to attend the workshop and discussed current issues on the application of the rules of EU directives on procedural rights of suspects and accused in criminal proceedings. The last part of the seminar was dedicated to discussing and resolving criminal cases with a practical focus. The participants in the workshop were given the opportunity to get acquainted with two pre-prepared hypotheticals concerning the EU procedural rights directives. The ensuing discussion showed how the CrossJustice platform can be useful in retrieving information and in a comparative analysis of the regulation of the rights of accused persons in different EU Member States.

There was a fruitful debate between the various representatives of the professional community. Positive opinions were expressed by the participants about the CrossJustice platform and many of them said that they would use it in their work in the future.