A European Investigation Order (EIO) is a judicial decision which has been issued or validated by a judicial authority of a Member State (‘the issuing state’) to have one or several specific investigative measure(s) carried out in another Member State (‘the executing state’) to obtain evidence in accordance with Directive 2014/41/EU (‘the EIO Directive’).
An EIO may be issued:
(a) with respect to criminal proceedings that are brought by, or that may be brought before, a judicial authority in respect of a criminal offence under the national law of the issuing State;
(b) in proceedings brought by administrative authorities in respect of acts which are punishable under the national law of the issuing State by virtue of being infringements of the rules of law and where the decision may give rise to proceedings before a court having jurisdiction, in particular, in criminal matters;
(c) in proceedings brought by judicial authorities in respect of acts which are punishable under the national law of the issuing State by virtue of being infringements of the rules of law, and where the decision may give rise to proceedings before a court having jurisdiction, in particular, in criminal matters; and
(d) in connection with proceedings referred to in points (a), (b), and (c) which relate to offences or infringements for which a legal person may be held liable or punished in the issuing State.
The EIO has a horizontal scope and should apply to all investigative measures aimed at gathering evidence. The issuing authority is best placed to decide, based on its knowledge of the details of the investigation concerned, which investigative measure is to be used. However, the executing authority should, wherever possible, use another type of investigative measure if the indicated measure does not exist under its national law or would not be available in a similar domestic case.
The EIO should be chosen where the execution of an investigative measure seems proportionate, adequate, and applicable to the case in hand. The issuing authority should therefore ascertain whether the evidence sought is necessary and proportionate for the purpose of the proceedings, whether the investigative measure chosen is necessary and proportionate for the gathering of the evidence concerned, and whether, by means of issuing the EIO, another Member State should be involved in the gathering of that evidence. The same assessment should be carried out in the validation procedure, where the validation of an EIO is required under the EIO Directive.
The execution of an EIO should not be refused on grounds other than those stated in the Directive. However, the executing authority should be entitled to opt for a less intrusive investigative measure than the one indicated in an EIO if it makes it possible to achieve similar results.
The EIO in the form set out in Annex A of the EIO Directive shall be completed, signed, and its content certified as accurate and correct by the issuing authority. Each Member State shall indicate the language(s) which, among the official languages of the institutions of the Union and in addition to the official language(s) of the Member State concerned, may be used for completing or translating the EIO when the Member State concerned is the executing state.
The status quo on the EIO Directive transposition into Member States’ national laws is maintained by the European Judicial Network.