The steps to find a competent authority for any request

1.Select the Member State

As a first step, click on the Judicial Atlas and select the Member State. All 28 EU Member States are present, plus Norway. The number of steps between selecting the Member State and arriving at the competent authority to which to send your request is depending on the selected country, the crime and the measure to ask for.


2. Select the Measure

The second step is to specify the measure you are asking to be performed in the requested Member State. As not all measures are supported by each Member State, the list of options at this point might be different between Member States. If you want to see why a certain measure is not appearing in the list, it is best to use the Fiches Belges tool on the website or the Status of Implementation of the legal instruments. Here you can find out why a measure is not appearing.


3. Answer questions
What follows next is series of questions that helps the Atlas to identify the competent authority. These questions reflect the judicial system of the Member State. It is also possible that a given combination of country and measure is not followed by any question. In that case no additional information is required to identify the competent authority or authorities for your request. Typical questions are:

  • What is the stage of proceedings? (pre-trial stage, trial stage, ...)
  • What is the matter of crime involved? (economic, terrorism, fraud, ...)
  • Is this an urgent request? (yes, no)
  • ......


4. Select Legal Instrument
In case more than one Legal Instruments can be used as the legal basis for your request, you are asked to select the Instrument that is relevant for you to use. In case a request can only be executed with one possible legal Instrument as legal basis, the selection of the Instrument will be done automatically by the system. In either case it is important to know what legal Instrument is used, as it might have implications for the processing of the request.


5. Enter geographical information

At this point in the process the system has collected enough information to understand whether the request has to be sent to a:

  1. Central Authority responsible for the entire Member State, or
  2. Regional Authority responsible for a part of the Member State.

The difference is crucial in determining the next step in the process. In the case of a single competent central authority, the search process is complete and the details of this authority are shown.

When the request has to be sent to a regional authority, the Atlas system will need to collect additional information to understand which authority is competent for your specific request. All the information you have will help narrowing down the list of possible authorities; this can be knowledge of the city or village, region, province or postal code. With this additional information the system will be in a position to identify which authority, at regional level, is competent for receiving your request.

It can happen that your request has to be sent to a regional authority, but that you have insufficient knowledge on the exact whereabouts. For those cases normally a central authority has been identified to be competent for receiving under these circumstances.

6. Competent authority has been identified

Your search has resulted in the Competent Authority! You can send your request now with the assurance that it will arrive at the correct authority responsible for receiving and executing it. Also having found a competent authority implies your request can be made to the requested Member State, having been able to select the measure in step 2) and having been able to identify a Legal Instrument in step 4) gives you this assurance.

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