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CJEU Case C-688/18 / Judgment

Criminal proceedings against TX and UW

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Court (Sixth Chamber)
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Judicial cooperation in criminal matters — Directive (EU) 2016/343 — Presumption of innocence and right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings — Article 8(1) and (2) — Conditions laid down by national law in order to hold a trial in absentia — Non-appearance of accused persons at certain hearings for reasons either within or beyond their control — Right to fair legal process.

Outcome of the case:

On those grounds, the Court (Sixth Chamber) hereby rules:

Article 8(1) and (2) of Directive (EU) 2016/343 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings must be interpreted as not precluding national legislation which provides, in a situation where the accused person has been informed, in due time, of his trial and of the consequences of not appearing at that trial, and where that person was represented by a mandated lawyer appointed by him, that his right to be present at his trial is not infringed where:

  • he decided unequivocally not to appear at one of the hearings held in connection with his trial; or

  • he did not appear at one of those hearings for a reason beyond his control if, following that hearing, he was informed of the steps taken in his absence and, with full knowledge of the situation, decided and stated either that he would not call the lawfulness of those steps into question in reliance on his non-appearance, or that he wished to participate in those steps, leading the national court hearing the case to repeat those steps, in particular by conducting a further examination of a witness, in which the accused person was given the opportunity to participate fully.