The Practice of Pre-Trial Detention: Monitoring Alternatives and Judicial Decision-Making

June 2014 – May 2016

Origin of funding
European Commission – DG Justice

The overall objective is to inform the development of future initiatives aiming to reduce the unnecessary use of pre-trial detention (PTD) within the EU. In order to achieve this, the project will build a unique evidence-base regarding what, in practice, is causing the use of PTD as well as information on good practice (as opposed to just an assessment of the legal frameworks) in 10 EU countries and disseminate the findings among policy-makers, judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers across the EU.

The Coordinator, Partners and Advisory Panel will undertake the following activities:
Data Collection on Local Practice – Partners will gather qualitative information on the PTD decision making process and the use of alternatives in their country. This will include: i) conducting an in-depth survey of defence practitioners; ii) monitoring detention hearings and/or reviewing a cross-section of case files; and iii) interviewing prosecutors and judges.
Country Reports – Partners will produce a report on the use of PTD in their country, containing: i) an overview of existing knowledge and statistical information on the use of PTD; ii) an analysis of the information gathered on local practice; and iii) an analysis of the compatibility of local practice with international standards and domestic law. 
Experts Seminar – Fair Trials International (FTI) will coordinate a seminar for the Partners and Advisory Panel, as well as PTD experts from the remaining 18 Member States, to discuss the information gathered, to identify common problems and areas where good practice can be shared. 
Regional Report and Launch Event – FTI (with input from Partners and Advisory Panel) will produce a major report, containing a comparative analysis of PTD practice and highlighting common themes and significant differences within the EU. The report will be launched at a major event in the European Parliament.

 In the framework of the project the Centre for European Constitutional Law produced the national report on the practice of pre trial detention in Greece. The report, in addition to the mapping of legislative framework, records the views of defense lawyers, judges and prosecutors on the process, decision-making criteria, the effectiveness of alternatives to detention measures and the review of pre-trial detention. It is an in-depth contribution to the existing knowledge about the measure of pre-trial detention and its practice in our country. 

A regional report was also conducted based on data from 10 EU Member States.

For the other Country Reports press here.

For more information about the program visit

 Implementing Institutions

Fair Trials International (UK)
Centre for European Constitutional Law
Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Lithuania
University of the West of England, England
Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Hungary
Irish Penal Reform Trust, Ireland
Leiden University, The Netherlands
Polish Helsinki Committee, Poland
APDHE, Spain
Associazione Antigone, Italy