TRIIAL 2 – TRust, Independence, Impartiality and Accountability of Legal professionals under the EU Charter

The TRust, Independence, Impartiality and Accountability of judges safeguarding the rule of Law under the EU Charter (TRIIAL) project is a DG Justice supported project that provides training activities and tools for judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and other legal professionals in areas of salient importance for the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR):





It will run from 1 February 2023 until 31 July 2025. It will offer 12 transnational workshops for legal practitioners, the calendar will soon be published. The topics of the transnational workshop will be the following:

1. Enforcing the Rule of Law through Judicial Interaction Techniques


2. Mutual Trust, Judicial Independence and Judicial Cooperation in Asylum, online mode, organised by the University of Florence in January 2025

The call for applications is open. Please check here for more information and conditions for application

The workshop aims to explore the role which national courts can play in implementing the fundamental rights recognised by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) in the field of EU asylum law in light of the rule of law case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). Three judicial interaction techniques will be investigated.

First, the workshop will explore the duty of consistent interpretation of EU secondary law with CFR standards with reference to, inter alia, the notion of safe third countries (e.g. the pending case C-134/23).

Second, it will examine the duty to disapply national provisions contrary to EU law by paying special attention to the right to effective judicial protection (Article 47 CFR). In this regard, EU asylum law will be explored as a paradigmatic example of the spill-over effect of the CJEU rule of law jurisprudence in other fields (case C-924/19 PPU, FMS and case C-556/17, Torubarov).

Finally, attention will be paid to the last resort solution of suspending horizontal judicial cooperation in the Dublin system, in light of the NS (C-411/10) and LM (C-216/18 PPU) case-law. In particular, the cases concerning indirect refoulement currently pending before the Court (joined cases C-228/21, C-254/21, C-297/21, C-315/21 and C-328/21) offer a new opportunity to reflect on the structural tension between mutual trust, the rule of law, and the protection of individuals’ fundamental rights in the field of EU asylum law.

3. Freedom of Expression and Association of Judges – a Cross-Border Judicial Dialogue organised in hybrid mode (in person and online) by the University of Ljubljana on 13–14 March 2024

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It will address two interconnected topics: the freedom of expression and association of judges.

Judges enjoy freedom of expression and association as any other citizen. However, when exercising these fundamental rights, they have to be mindful of the limitations the legal system has traditionally imposed to safeguard important competing interests: judicial independence, impartiality and public trust in the judiciary. Striking a proper balance is an extremely demanding task. In the last decade, two major societal developments – the rise of social networks and the rule of law crisis – have even further increased the complexity of the topic of this workshop.

Social networks have fundamentally changed our daily lives. Judges are no exception. Their use of social media can be regarded as a welcomed novelty for the democratic society, yet it poses a series of challenges: the appropriate content of communication, especially from the perspective of the requirement of impartiality, the blurred lines between private and public communication, the consequences of liking, retweeting and other means of limited communication. As a result, guidelines and standards on the use of social media by judges are growing and evolving at an unprecedented pace.

The second development is that several Member States are witnessing an unprecedented decline in the rule of law. Polish and Hungarian judicial “reforms” led to a structural breakdown, which no longer makes it possible to talk about independence and impartiality of their judiciaries (e.g. C-791/19, § 64). While other Member States endure for the moment, they are not immune to the constitutional backsliding. Judges’ expression and association have proved to be an important antidote against attempts to undermine the rule of law.

These developments have triggered a response from the CJEU and the ECtHR. The workshop will therefore address a topic, which is currently extremely important and will remain highly relevant in the future. The Workshop will strive to equip the participants with legal knowledge on the scope and content of freedom of expression and association of judges as well as on procedural guarantees and avenues for its protection, ultimately empowering them to adequately address the manifold challenges of their daily work and their professional vocation.

4. Cross-border training workshop: Mutual Trust and Judicial Independence in the EAW framework by University of Pompeu Fabra on 21-22 March 2024

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Mutual trust among the Member States is based upon the premiss that national courts are independent. Under what circumstances may the execution of a European arrest warrant be refused on grounds of lack of judicial independence? The goal of this workshop will be to provide the tools to answer this question and enhance the understanding and application of the criteria developed by the case-law developed of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The analysis will focus on the notion of independence of the issuing judicial authority, including judges and prosecutors.

5. Freedom of Expression and Association of Prosecutors – a Cross-Border Judicial Dialogue organised in hybrid mode (in person and online) by INPRIS on 12-13 April 2024

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In recent years, the jurisprudence of the European courts concerning judges and the systemic guarantees of judicial independence has increased.

However, prosecutors do not enjoy the same level of independence as judges, although they have recently begun to organise themselves and take a more active part in public debate. Often, they are disciplined or repressed for becoming active and speaking out.

The main themes of the seminar will therefore be a practical analysis of European case law on the freedom of expression of prosecutors and the presentation of models for the functioning of prosecutors’ associations operating in the EU. Speakers representing different EU Member States and prosecution models will provide key recommendations and insights.

The seminar is part of the TRIIAL 2 project, which aims to disseminate knowledge of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union among legal practitioners, in particular judges and prosecutors.

6. Are National Higher Courts Securing Fundamental Rights? Litigation Techniques towards Implementation  of EU Acquis on RoL and Fundamental Rights organise in hybrid mode (in person and online) by CIDP in May  2024

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This workshop aims at evaluating the extent to which national apex courts are, or are not, ensuring the fundamental rights protection standards required by the EU acquis as an essential element of the RoL. Different litigation and judicial interaction techniques will be explored on how to implement fundamental rights entrenched in the EU Charter of Fundamental and human rights enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights together with national constitutional rights by the Member States’ Constitutional Courts and Supreme Civil and Administrative Courts through the Union. The aim is not only to take stock and to understand the ongoing practice, but also to pave the way for a better judicial RoL protection, realisation, and enforcement of fundamental rights within the European Union.

7. Disciplinary Proceedings and Judicial Ethics organised in hybrid mode (in person and online) by the Scuola Superiore della Magistratura on 10/11 June 2024

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Judges, prosecutors and lawyers occupy a critical and sensitive place in society; the way they conduct themselves has a direct impact on public confidence and the administration of justice. Therefore, they have a duty to maintain the highest ethical behaviour. There are international standards that provide guidelines on the ethical conduct and fundamental principles of these professions. Independence, impartiality and integrity are the basis of the rule of law in a healthy democracy and ensure the protection of human rights.

In this respect, disciplinary matters represent the minimum ethical standards that can be expected of any magistrate and which determine, in the event of violation, the application of a sanction. Starting from the international and European (CoE and EU) framework and the relevant jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union, the course aims to deepen the knowledge and understanding of professional tools and to develop the skills, based on practical examples, to deal with ethical dilemmas in the exercise of professional functions, also taking into account the disciplinary rules imposed to deal with the violation of the minimum ethical standard.

8. The Role of Lawyers in the Promotion of Judicial Independence, Mutual Trust and Rule of Law – Litigation  Strategies before Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Bodies ogranised in hybrid mode (in person and online) by University of Gdansk in mid-September 2024

The call for applications will open in spring 2024

The goal of this seminar is to recast the role of law and lawyers in helping revisit the narrative of European integration anchored in the constitutional essentials that bind all (“First Principles”). Its novelty lies in going beyond technical legalistic discussions (“how”) focused on the enforcement. Instead, it explores the axiological foundations (“why” and “what”) at the core of the symbolic decision to “live together” as neighbours, and not as strangers, as part of “the ever- closer union among peoples of Europe”. Questions of identity and belonging are on the line.

The training aims to reconstruct legal mobilization on the supranational level by introducing into the supranational discourse a neglected phenomenon of legal complex. Given law’s salience in European integration it is indeed striking how absent the legal complex has been from the supranational parlance. The legal complex stands for a configuration of legal occupations (professionals and academics alike) which enable, draft, litigate, implement, oppose, critique and ally with judges and courts speaking the language of First Principles. The Court of Justice (“the Court”) has always understood its function under art. 19 TEU as actively promoting the goals of the Treaties to attain “an ever – closer union among peoples of Europe” (Art. 1 TEU). While the Court has been a focal point for legal mobilization and coordination, legal mobilization alone does not explain how the Court has avoided dangers of irrelevance and marginalization. A theory with solid conceptual underpinnings is necessary to show how disperse legal mobilization is harnessed, disciplined, and explained to the public. The Court needs allies from within the legal professions. The supranational legal complex can bring together and build networks of support for the Court and national judges that enables and energizes the defense of supranational legality anchored in the First Principles. As such the operation of the supranational legal complex aims at consolidating the case law and defending the Court’s autonomy and power. This would speak to the crucial social function played by the legal complex: to embed the supranational legality and the legitimacy of the Court in the domestic legal orders and to make it part of the domestic legal practice.

While something is finally happening (“one thousand robes march” in defense of judicial independence), this incipient movement still lacks critical feedback and orientations that would help avoid the impression of one – day wonder. One voice is needed to organize and channel the internal voices around the common cause and the shared core of the constitutional essentials. That would in turn aim to provide a necessary inspiration to develop European fidelity of the legal profession to the core and to focalize their efforts in defending it.

9. Fundamental Rights and the Use of the Preliminary Reference Procedure organised in hybrid mode (in person and online) by  ELTE in October 2024

The call for applications will open up in spring 2024

The preliminary reference procedure is the primary tool for vertical judicial interaction within the EU, aiming to ensure the uniform interpretation and application of EU law and to provide effective judicial protection for individuals. When national judges deal with human rights cases, they have to look at various sources of law: national, European and international law. This task is particularly challenging for judges considering the high level of abstraction human rights are formulated, the debates around the applicability and hierarchy of these different sources, and regarding the similarities and dissimilarities in the normative concepts and standards of human rights protection put in place in national and European jurisdictions.

This workshop aims to provide guidance to judges on how to use the preliminary reference procedure to ensure a high level of human rights protection, in particular, to enforce the EU Charter and the common values of the EU enshrined in Article 2 TEU with the help of judicial dialogue between domestic and EU courts.

Also, the workshop seeks to reveal the dynamics of the CJEU’s jurisprudence in preliminary ruling cases, especially regarding the developments in the admissibility criteria, to equip judges with the skill of drafting a successful request for a preliminary ruling. It also addresses how courts and legal practitioners can work together under Article 267 TFEU procedure to defend human rights effectively.

From the perspective of domestic courts, the preliminary reference procedure is also a form of judicial empowerment in relation to other state actors. Is it an adequate tool for judges to defend judicial independence or to address systemic problems of the rule of law? Furthermore, what is the impact of the CJEU’s approach set out in Getin Noble Bank, which has determined different standards for judicial independence as an admissibility criterion under Article 267 TFEU and as a concept stemming from Article 19(1) TEU and Article 47 of the Charter? Within the framework of the workshop, these questions will also be discussed.

10. Judicial Dialogue and Freedom of Expression of Lawyers organised online by UNBR on 9-10 November 2024

The call for applications will be opened in spring 2024.

11. Rule of Law and Predictive Justice organised in hybrid mode (in person and online) by CJC/EUI in December 2024

The call for applications will opened in summer 2024

The digitalisation process and in particular the development of AI based technologies has affected directly and indirectly the judicial system. On the one hand, judicial operators are asked to present and decide cases where the AI based tools have been adopted, raising issues related to fairness and transparency as well as compliance with fundamental rights. In this context, cases addressing surveillance, facial recognition and filter bubbles emerged highlighting the impact of AI over the exercise of freedom of expression, right to non-discrimination and right to privacy.

On the other hand, not less important, the deployment of AI based technologies has also started to be embedded in the activities of courts, including case management and facilitation of decision-making process, up until the creation of online courts. Although the pandemics has fast-forwarded this process, several are the questions that still emerge as regards the independence, accountability and impartiality of such systems. The training workshop will address both dimensions taking into account the most recent developments of the caselaw in the EU Member States.

12. The Rule of Law Requirements of Judicial Self-Government: the Role of Judicial Councils and Court Presidents in hybrid mode organise by the University of Masaryk, Czech Republic on 3-4 February 2025

The call for applications will open in summer 2024

This cross-border workshop will discuss the powers, independence and accountability of two actors with significant role in the arena of judicial governance: judicial councils and court presidents. Both actors have important gate-keeping role in judicial selection processes, in intra-judicial accountability mechanisms, and other dimension of governance such as day-to-day administration of courts, budgets, communication with media, politicians and public.

Partly due to the constitutional and rule of law backsliding experienced in some EU countries, European supranational organisations attempted to clarify the requirements on the institutional setup of judicial councils. The workshop will discuss these requirements, update the participants on the most novel case-law at supranational European and domestic level, and juxtapose it against empirical experience with judicial councils in individual countries.

The role of court presidents is much less discussed, although both supranational courts already engaged with questions of their independence and accountability regarding their function in judicial governance. The workshop will engage with specific roles of chief justices and lower court presidents and discuss the duality of their role: vis-à-vis external actors (such as politicians, business or media) and vis-à-vis the judiciary (and the rank-and-file judges).

The TRIIAL 2 Project is a continuation of the successfully concluded TRIIAL project and aims at assisting legal practitioners in the response to rule of law challenges. It addresses the priority of supporting judicial trainings of justice professionals with the aim of building public trust in the profession of judges to sustain their position.

The following specific objectives are at the heart of the project:

1) raising awareness about the impact that judicial interaction techniques have in the implementation of the fundamental rights’ legal framework, particularly CFR;

2) improving the ability of legal practitioners to promote rule of law through the application of the EU fundamental legal framework to their everyday work;

3) fostering national cross-sectoral cooperation in the implementation of EU fundamental rights legal framework in the promotion of the rule of law;

4) building trust, legitimacy, dialogue, accountability of the judiciary.

The national and European caselaw selected within the framework of the project can be accessed at the CJC Database



Halmai, Gabor

TRIIAL 2 Project Coordinator & Part time Professor at the EUI Department of Law

Tel. [+39] 055 4686 401 (Int. 3401)

Office: Villa Salviati - Castle, SACA206

Fields of interest: Comparative constitutional law / International human rights law / Globalization of constitutionalism / Constitutional-making in democratic transitions / Comparative judicial review / Transitional constitutionalism and transitional justice / Religious rights / Freedom of expression

Administrative Assistant: Anna Christine Di Biase

Achler, Marta

Research associate in TRIIAL 2 project

Fields of interest: international law and international human rights law; constitutional law; judicial independence and democratization

Casarosa, Federica

Part-time Professor

Tel. [+39] 055 4685 534 (Int. 2534)

Office: Convento, SD023

Fields of interest:

  • New media law and regulation
  • Child protection in the media sector

Moraru, Madalina

Part-time Assistant Professor

Fields of interest:

  • The law and policies of EU external relations
  • Fundamental rights
  • Judicial cooperation and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees
  • Public international and comparative law

Airaghi, Elisabetta

Project Manager

Tel. [+39] 055 4685 599

Office: Villa Malafrasca, VM009


Advisory Board

  • Petros Alikakos, European Judicial Training Network
  • Markus Thoma, European Association of Administrative Judges
  • Paulie Girerd, Ecole National de Magistrature
  • Mariarosaria Guglielmi, MEDEL
  • Dragoş Călin, Asociaţia Forumul Judecătorilor din România
  • Laura Carlson, European Women Lawyers Association

Network of experts