by Gemma Pérez Souto, Collaborating Member of CEDU
The Directive 2014/41/EU regarding the European Investigation Order (EIO) in criminal matters was approved on 3rd April 2014[i] to avoid the current fragmented framework and set up a comprehensive system for the gathering of evidence[ii] with a cross-border dimension in the area of freedom, security and justice, based on the principle of mutual recognition but also taking into account the flexibility of the existing system of mutual legal assistance.[iii]
The European Investigation Order will replace, as from 22nd May 2017, the corresponding provisions of International Conventions, Framework Decisions or Directives applicable between the Member States bound by this Directive referred to in Article 34 EIO. One of the key aspects of the new Directive relies on this question, as this instrument will replace in the future the traditional system of mutual legal assistance[iv] concerning obtaining evidence.[v]
In accordance with Article 1 EIO, a European Investigation Order is a judicial decision which has been issued or validated by a judicial authority of a Member State[vi] to have one or several specific measure (s) carried out in another Member State to obtain evidence[vii] in accordance with this Directive.[viii] With the adoption of the EIO Directive, the European Union shows that is determined to achieve a sort of ‘European Evidence Law’[ix] flexible and effective at the same time, in order to not only obtain evidence previously in possession of the authorities of another Member State (s), but also to carry out investigative measure (s) with a view to gathering evidence.