Peers quiz thinktanks and NGOs on the UK's 2014 opt-out decision

21 January 2013


Representatives from Justice Across Borders, Open Europe, JUSTICE, Fair Trials International and Centre for European Reform will give evidence on Wednesday 23 January to the inquiry into the UK’s possible opt-out from police and criminal justice measures.

At 11am, the Committees will hear from Thais Portilho-Shrimpton and Jeremy Hill from Justice Across Borders. They believe that British citizens would be more vulnerable to crime and at risk of human rights abuses should the UK opt-out of the police and criminal justice measures. The Committees will explore issues such as whether opting-out would have any implications for British citizens working and living in other Member States and the feasibility of relying on alternative legal arrangements to tackle cross-border crime in Europe.

Later in the day, at 4pm, the Committees will question Stephen Booth and Dominic Raab MP from Open Europe. Their view is that the UK should exercise the opt-out as otherwise the EU would have too much control over the British justice system.  The Committees will be delving deeper into the organisation’s views on this, the reports that both witnesses have written on the subject and more generally into the issues surrounding the opt-out.

In the final evidence session of the day, at 5pm, the Committees will hear from Jodie Blackstock of JUSTICE, Jago Russell of Fair Trials International and Hugo Brady of the Centre for European Reform. The witnesses will be quizzed on how the Government is engaging with them on the opt-out generally and on the possible reform of the European Arrest Warrant and other specific measures; whether opting-out would have any implications for raising the standard of trial rights; and how the UK’s current level of influence internationally on justice and policing issues might be affected should the UK exercise the opt-out.

The 11am evidence session will take place in Committee Room 3 and the 4pm and 5pm evidence sessions will take place in Committee Room 1.

The sessions will be webcast live at www.parliamentlive.tv and are also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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