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Electronic evidence in criminal matters [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Sofija Voronova and Piotr Bąkowski,

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In December 2020, the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee adopted its reports on a pair of 2018 legislative proposals on electronic evidence in criminal matters, and mandates to start trilogue negotiations on the two proposals. The proposed new rules would allow law enforcement and judicial authorities to directly request (or temporarily secure) electronic data needed for investigating and prosecuting crime from electronic service providers operating in the EU (wherever the data is stored), and would impose an obligation on these service providers to appoint a legal representative for the purpose of gathering evidence and answering competent authorities’ requests. This two-part legislative initiative is the result of an almost two-year process of reflection on how to better adapt criminal justice to the challenges of the digital age, with a specific focus on jurisdiction in cyberspace and access to electronic evidence. The initiative is part of a broader array of international efforts to improve the legal framework and address persistent legal uncertainty that affects law enforcement and private parties alike.

Complete version

A: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on European Production and Preservation Orders for electronic evidence in criminal matters

B: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down harmonised rules on the appointment of legal representatives for the purpose of gathering evidence in criminal proceedings

Committee responsible: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) A: COM(2018) 225
Rapporteur: Birgit Sippel (S&D, Germany) B: COM(2018) 226
Shadow rapporteurs: Nuno Melo (EPP, Portugal)
Moritz Körner (Renew Europe, Germany)
Annalisa Tardino (ID, Italy)
Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens/EFA, Germany)
Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (ECR, Slovakia)
Cornelia Ernst (The Left, Germany)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Trilogue negotiations

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