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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines issues surrounding transnational access to evidence, witnesses, and suspects. More specifically, it considers whether the evidence can be transferred between nation-states without negatively affecting the legitimacy, fairness, and reliability of the fact-finding procedure. The focus is on basic questions arising from the conflict between the criminal justice systems’ genuine interest in comprehensive and reliable fact-finding and the specific restrictions on fact-finding when evidence exists beyond a state border. The chapter first traces the historical roots of transnational access to evidence and provides an overview of current legal practices before using the German and U.S. legal frameworks as case studies to illustrate the impact of mutual legal assistance in a civil law and a common law jurisdiction. It then outlines new approaches to transnational access to evidence such as the framework of the European Union, with emphasis on safeguards for reliability and fairness of fact-finding.

Keywords: transnational evidence access, witnesses, suspects, fact-finding, criminal justice, mutual legal assistance, European Union, reliability, fairness

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