31/05/2016 - - General
European Arrest Warrant - Judgment of the Court of Justice on interpretation of Article 4a of the Council Framework Decision on the EAW regarding trial in absentia

On 24 May 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has rendered its judgment in case C-108/16 PPU “ Paweł Dworzecki”.

The preliminary ruling was requested by the Court of Amsterdam (Rechtbank) in a procedure related to the execution of an European arrest warrant issued by the Polish competent authorities against Paweł Dworzecki. The Amsterdam Court firstly asked the CJEU if the following notions used in Article 4a paragraph 1 of the Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA are autonomous notions of EU law:

  • the  notion of “in due time was summoned in person and thereby informed of the scheduled date and place of the trial which resulted in the decision” and
  •  the notion of in due time actually received official information of the scheduled date and place of that trial in such a manner that it was unequivocally established that he or she was aware of the scheduled trial”

Subsequently, if the answer to the first question was positive, the CJEU was asked:

a) how are these autonomous notions interpreted in general and

b) how the compliance with one of  the two autonomous notions is interpreted in a case like the present one, where:

- in accordance with the European arrest warrant, the subpoena was delivered to the address of the person sought to an adult member of his  household who committed himself to submit it to the person sought;

- from the EAW it is not clear whether and when that member of the household did effectively delivered the subpoena to the person sought;

- from the hearings before the Amsterdam Court it was not possible to determine if the person sought was in due time aware of the date and place of the trial.

On the two questions, the CJEU ruled as following:

1)      Article 4a, paragraph 1, a) of the Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States, as it was modified by the Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA of 26 February 2009, has to be interpreted in the sense that “summoned in person” as well as “received official information of the scheduled date and place of hat trial in such a manner that it was unequivocally established that he or she was aware of the scheduled trial”, provided for in this provision, represent autonomous notions of the law of the Union and have to receive a uniform interpretation in the whole European Union.

2)     Article 4a, paragraph 1, a), i) of the Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA, as it was modified by the Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA, has to be interpreted in the sense that a subpoena which was not directly notified to the person concerned, but was delivered to the address of the latter, where an adult person belonging to his household, committed himself/herself to deliver it to the person concerned, and where the European arrest warrant does not allow for to be sure that the adult person did effectively deliver the subpoena to the person concerned does not comply by itself with these provisions.

 

By  31 May 2016, the judgement was available in French and Dutch versions.

  • ® 2017 EJN. All Rights Reserved