2017 THEMIS Competition Semi-Final A: International Cooperation in Criminal Matters

Thursday, April 13, 2017

  • Team Poland wins first place and Team Czech Republic earns the second place position.
  • EJTN THEMIS Competition continues to help develop the knowledge and skills of Europe’s young magistracy.

The National Institute of Justice in Bulgaria hosted the first semi-final of this year’s THEMIS Competition, which was held 10-13 April 2017.

11 teams from 11 EU Member States participated to this semi-final. Judicial trainees presented their written papers, debated legal issues with fellow team members and conducted discussions with the jury about the topics of their presentations.

Wide range of topics
The teams addressed a wide range of topics including the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) procedure and execution, cross-border cases of counterfeiting and money laundering, preventive confiscation of assets, the European Supervision Order and the fight against migrant smuggling amongst others.  

EJTN had the honour of having distinguished members of the jury to assess the competing teams: Ms Ana Bučar Brglez, District State Prosecutor, District Prosecutor’s Office in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Mr John Hardy, Barrister, Queen’s Counsel and Recorder of the Crown Court London, United Kingdom; and, MsMaria del Mar Ramos Lopez-Herrero, Prosecutor at General Prosecutors’ Office, Spain.

The jury members assessed not only the overall quality and the originality of the presentations, but also other assessment criteria such as critical thinking, anticipation of future solutions, reference to relevant case law, communication skills and the balanced contribution of all the individuals in the teams. They faced the very difficult task of assessing and ranking the 11 teams in order to decide the winner and the second place position – with these teams taking part in the THEMIS Grand Final, which will be held in November in Bucharest, Romania.

Congratulations Team Poland!
First place was awarded to Team Poland (Ms Katarzyna Pyrć, Ms Sylwia Sygnowska, Ms Żaneta Zaśko and tutor Ms Barbara Augustyniak), which gave a presentation entitled ‘’Protecting the Rights of Member States’ own citizens in the EAW procedure’’. The jury assessed their discussion and answers to questions as outstanding. Second place was awarded to Team Czech Republic (Ms Ondřejka Kocichová, Ms Kateřina Studecká, Ms Tereza Tupá and tutor Mr Pavel Pražák), whose presentation entitled ‘’Execution of the EAW within Deportations from Non-EU Countries’’ as well as overall performance was considered as excellent by the jury members.

Team Poland – first place!

Both teams have secured a spot at the Grand Final to be held in Bucharest, Romania on the topic ‘’Right to a Fair Trial (Art. 47 EU Charter of Fundamental Law and Art. 6 ECHR)’’.

The jurors expressed their sincere thanks to all the participating teams for the very high quality of their written papers and outstanding presentations. All participants received a certificate of participation.

Throughout its long 12-year history, the THEMIS Competition has been helping future European magistrates to exchange views and experiences and improve their presentation and language skills. Most importantly, the Competition offers them the opportunity enhance personal and career contacts and to familiarise themselves with different approaches to the same legal topic, creating a space for improving mutual trust in other European legal systems.

Commitment and greater understanding
What feelings and experiences did the Competition stir with those gathered at this year’s first semi-final?    

“The THEMIS Competition was an amazing experience. We are honoured to be assessed by the extraordinary jurors and to be part of an international competition with colleagues from all around Europe,’’ said Katarzyna Pyrć from Team Poland, winner in the first-place team.

Mr Ștefan Tudorel
, tutor and experienced trainer in the THEMIS Competition of Team Romania, gave his views on the importance of the THEMIS Competition. “For 12 years I have been participating. I am amazed by the systematic and principled approach to judicial cooperation the European Union offers to young judges and prosecutors from all the EU Member States. I have witnessed wonderful discussions on hard cases in which one legal problem has more than one legal answer and I have seen meaningful presentations which give the audience something to take home.”

EJTN wishes to thank the hosting institution for the assistance and support in organising this semi-final, and especially to Ms Miglena Tacheva, Director of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in Bulgaria, and the staff members from the Institutional and International Relations Department at NIJ.

EJTN is the proud organiser of the annual THEMIS Competition, and is grateful for the financial support of the European Commission’s Justice Programme.

Read more about THEMIS on the THEMIS project page

The main aim of the THEMIS project is to bring together future magistrates from different European countries at a time when they are undergoing entry level training to enable them to share common values and to exchange new experiences and discuss new perspectives in areas of common interest.

The project also aims to develop abilities related to the future profession of the participants, such as communication skills, debating abilities, critical and analytical thinking, logical reasoning and proper legal writing. Furthermore, THEMIS is intended to foster the development of professional contacts, experiences and relationships between both the entry-level trainees in magistracy and their teaching staff.