CONFERENCE THEME

International Cooperation Across Different Legal Systems

The 24th Annual Conference will explore how different legal systems operate international cooperation and overcome the legal and practical challenges of delivering across those different systems. The conference will develop attendees understanding of the differences and similarities between systems; identify barriers to cooperation and explore solutions to overcome them. The conference will have a strong operational focus with a view to improving the knowledge, effectiveness and efficiency of international collaboration.

Four sub-themes will be explored during the conference:

 

1 - Different systems - similar challenges

Each country has developed its own legal system based on its history, culture, traditions and constitutional arrangements. Notwithstanding this rich diversity, many legal systems follow either the inquisitorial or the accusatorial approach to criminal justice. The first plenary will examine the differences and similarities in the legal frameworks and procedures of each approach and the impact this has on international cooperation.  The session will consider high-level legal, structural and organizational barriers to cooperation and how to overcome them. Further, it will explore how different systems may reform or harmonize to improve international co-operation.

The plenary session will be followed by an interactive panel discussion and Q&A session dedicated to the following topics:

- Rule of law and discretionary principle and the practical implications of each.

- Challenges created by high-level legal, procedural and cultural differences and how to overcome them.

- Organizational barriers to effective cooperation and how to overcome them.

- Reform or harmonization of systems to improve cooperation.

 

2 - Collection and sharing of evidence

Identifying, securing and collecting evidence is a challenge that increases substantially when operating across borders. At this point both international and national legal instruments, rules and procedures will play a key role in the prosecutor’s case building and criminal proceedings. The second plenary will consider the international legal frameworks and processes that govern the collection and sharing of evidence across borders; consider the practical barriers to the collection and sharing of evidence and how to overcome them and explore informal and alternative processes to Mutual Legal Assistance.

The plenary session will be followed by an interactive panel discussion and Q&A session dedicated to the following topics:

- The difference between intelligence and evidence.

- Challenges in the Mutual Legal Assistance process generated by different legal systems.

- Mutual Legal Assistance and the admissibility of evidence.

- Efficient and effective alternatives to Mutual Legal Assistance.

 

Workshop 1 will be divided into 2 sessions covering:

- The difference between intelligence and evidence.

- Alternatives to Mutual Legal Assistance.

 

3 - The role of the prosecutor in cross-border investigations

The role and responsibilities of prosecutors in complex cross-border investigations and the way prosecutors interact with other actors in the national and international criminal justice system has a profound impact on both the shape and progress of a case. The third plenary will examine the roles of prosecutors, judges and police in requesting and responding to requests for international cooperation. It will explore the relationships between investigators and prosecutors and the use of international liaison officers and prosecutors to progress investigations and casework.

The plenary session will be followed by an interactive panel discussion and Q&A session dedicated to the following topics:

- The role of prosecutors, judges and investigators in cross-border investigations.

- The relationship between investigators and prosecutors during the investigation and its impact on international cooperation.

- The role of international liaison officers and prosecutors in international cooperation.

 

Workshop 2 will be divided into 2 sessions covering:

- Differences in the role of the prosecutor in inquisitorial and accusatorial systems.

- The role of international liaison prosecutors.

 

4 - The impact of alternatives to prosecution on international cooperation

In an increasingly globalized world, both national and international legal architecture have to adapt and evolve to meet and counter ever changing crime typologies and threats. The fourth plenary will examine alternatives to prosecution such as plea deals, deferred prosecution agreements and non-conviction based disposals and consider whether international legal frameworks for Mutual Legal Assistance are keeping up with such developments. The session will consider the challenges in international cooperation where alternatives to criminal prosecution and traditional sentencing options are used.

The plenary session will be followed by an interactive panel discussion and Q&A session dedicated to the following topics:

- Negotiated outcomes in the criminal process: plea bargaining, mediation and non-conviction disposals.

- Whether international legal frameworks can meet the challenge.

- The impact on international cooperation of alternatives to prosecution.