ECLAN Annual Conference 2023

ECLAN Annual Conference: “Stronger Victims’ Rights in EU Law? Assessment and Prospects”

European Commission, Charlemagne & online

The 2023 Eclan Annual Conference will take place in Brussels on 18 April, at the European Commission Charlemagne building located in Rue de la Loi 170.

The Conference is organised by the European Criminal Law Academic Network (ECLAN), back-to-back with the European Commission’s high level extended plenary meeting on “EU Victims’ Rights Strategy (2020-2025) – state of play”.


According to the European Commission, around 75 million people in the EU become a victim of crime every year. Moreover, due to the ever-increasing intra-EU mobility, many of such cases present a cross-border element.

Ensuring effective protection of victims’ rights has been an important part of the EU’s efforts to create an area of freedom, security and justice for more than twenty years. Since the adoption in 2001 of the Framework Decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings, which represented the first hard law instrument in this area, the legal framework for the protection of victims’ rights has gradually developped. In addition to instruments relating to specific needs of victims of crime (compensation, protection measures), sectoral legislative instruments containing provisions applicable to certain categories of vulnerable victims have proliferated, as illustrated by the recent Commission proposal for a directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence. This fragmented legal framework, consisting of measures beyond the criminal field, is complemented by another major instrument of horizontal scope, namely the Victims’ Rights Directive of 2012 establishing minimum rules on the rights, support and protection of victims of all forms of crime.

Despite the progress achieved in ensuring that victims enjoy minimum rights and protection, regardless of where the crime took place, important shortcomings remain with the consequence that victims of crime still cannot fully rely on their rights in the EU. Some of these shortcomings stem from the uneven implementation of EU instruments for the protection of victims' rights. As part of its Strategy on Victims’ Rights, the European Commission has conducted an in-depth evaluation of the implementation of the Victims’ Rights Directive, which brought to light the great added value of this instrument, but also some crucial remaining flaws. The need to ensure greater coherence between the various instruments forming part of the EU's tool box for the protection of victims of crime has also been highlighted by recent EU-wide comparative research.

The legislative reforms currently underway to improve the EU legal framework for the protection of victims’ rights, coupled with the negative impact of the current crises related to Covid and the Ukrainian conflict on the protection of victims, call for a closer look at the achievements and challenges in this area. A global reflection appears all the more desirable given the complex and fragmented landscape of victims' rights protection in the EU.

Structure of the Conference

Against this background, the overall objective of this year’s Eclan Conference is to assess the existing EU instruments for the protection of victims’ rights and to ponder future prospects. To this purpose, cross-cutting aspects of victims’ rights will be highlighted while focusing on several issues that have been identified as the most pressing. With a view to ensuring a variety of perspectives, speakers from the academia will intervene along with representatives of the EU institutions and the civil society.

The Conference will consist of three sessions.

To begin with, Session I will draw a picture of the normative state of play, through the illustration of the current EU law legal framework (Panel I) and the analysis of the influence of international and regional instruments on EU rules (Panel 2).

Subsequently, Session II will address the main challenges in the field, namely the need for coherence in the interplay of relevant instruments (Panel I) and the need to strike an appropriate balance between victims’ rights and other policies and interests (Panel II).

Finally, Session III will outline the prospects of the protection of victims’ rights, taking a closer look at the current lack of role of EU actors and the protection of victims’rights in times of crisis. This will be closed by a round table discussion with representatives of the EU institutions and civil society actors in order to open a reflection on the EU model for the protection of victims of crime.

Program and registration

The full program of the conference is available in the attached document.

Registrations are closed.

You can follow the conference in WEBSTREAMING at this link.

We look forward to welcoming you at the conference!