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From the Brussels office

18 July 11

Latest EU developments on criminal justice (victims); Single Market in IP rights

Criminal justice: victims’ package

On 18 May the European Commission proposed a directive to provide minimum rights, support and protection for victims of crime. Unlike the piecemeal approach to suspects’ rights, safeguards for victims are being addressed in one comprehensive directive. Issues addressed range from the right to information on rights, the right to be heard, the right to access victim support services, the right to safeguards in mediation and restorative justice, and rights in the event of a decision not to prosecute. The Commission also proposed a regulation on mutual recognition of civil law protection measures, complementing the proposed directive on the European Protection Order, to ensure that victims of violence can rely on civil law protection orders if they travel to another EU country rather than having to rely on criminal law protection orders. The Commission views these measures as the first step in “putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice agenda in Europe”. Its next steps include strengthening access to compensation for victims of crime generally, and for victims of road traffic accidents in another EU country.

Single Market in IP rights

On 24 May the European Commission presented its strategy creating a Single Market for intellectual property rights (IPR). Part of a wider framework of key initiatives on IPR, the strategy sets out to overhaul the legal framework in which IPR currently operate, with the aim of promoting creativity and innovation within the knowledge-based economy that IPR protects. The new rules are intended to secure reward and investment rights for creators, through better levels of protection available from the existing EU patent as well as the proposed unitary patent, via enhanced co-operation. Equally, the strategy focuses on ensuring that users and consumers will gain optimum access to goods and services protected by IPR, thus boosting innovation through consumer investment.

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