On 10 March 2021, the First Chamber rendered its decision in case C-648/20 regarding the application of a European Arrest Warrant adopted on the basis of a detention order issued by a public prosecutor office without judicial review prior to surrender of the requested person. In the present case, a European arrest warrant was issued against PI, for money and jewelry theft punishable by a term of imprisonment of between one and ten years. The European Arrest warrant was issued on the basis of a decision from the prosecutor on 12 December 2019 ordering PI to be detained for a maximum of 72 hours. He was arrested on the 11 March 2020 in the United Kingdom.
PI challenged the validity of the European Arrest warrant on the grounds that the Bulgarian judicial system does not satisfy the requirements of EU law, under the Framework Decision 2002/584 as interpreted by the Court of Justice case-law. It was assessed that no Bulgarian Court could have reviewed the national arrest warrant prior to the surrender of PI. The referring court thus asked whether a person receive a dual level of protection, as interpreted in the Bob-Dogi case, if the national arrest warrant is limited to only detaining the individual for a maximum of 72 hours for the purpose of bringing him before a Court and if on surrender it is solely a matter for the court whether to order release or continue detention in the light of the facts of the case.
Firstly, the Court approached the case by assessing that the public prosecutor, as held in its settled case-law, is an “Issuing judicial authority” according to Framework Decision 2002/584. In this regard, the Court recalled its settled case-law by declaring that the status of such authority is not conditional on there being a review by a Court of both the decision to issue the European Arrest Warrant and the national decision on which such warrant is based. The Court further accepted the Opinion of the advocate general that such decision of imprisonment of PI for 72 hours was an enforceable judicial decision. Hence, the Court further continued by assessing whether a dual level of protection was afforded by these decisions and if a judicial review by a court was available before the surrender of the requested person. Calling upon its previous case-law, and assessing the fact that judicial review was only available ex post to the surrender of the person, the Court decided to interpret Article 8(1)(c) of the Framework decision 2002/584 in the light of the case by assessing that when both the European Arrest Warrant and the judicial decision on which that warrant is based cannot be reviewed by a court before the surrender of the targeted person, this does not meet the requirement of the dual protection necessity. Hence the Court ruled that in the present case the requirements inherent to the effective judicial protection are not guaranteed when there is no judicial review of both the European arrest warrant and the national decision upon which it is based before the surrender of the person.
Case Number C-648/20 PPU
Name of the parties PI
Date of the judgement 2021-03-10
Court First Chamber