European Investigation Order

The European Investigation Order (EIO) is an EU legal instrument aimed at speeding up the assistance provided by one country to another in criminal investigations. In force in the UK on 31 July 2017, the EIO is based on mutual recognition, which means that each EU country is obliged to recognise and carry out the request of the other country, as it would do with a decision coming from its own authorities.

EIO brings the following benefits:

  • introduces a comprehensive instrument with a large scope
  • sets strict deadlines for gathering evidence requested
  • limits reasons for refusing such requests
  • reduces paperwork
  • protects fundamental rights of defence.

In particular, it allows for:

  • temporary transfer of persons in custody in order to gather evidence
  • checks on the bank accounts and financial operations of suspected or accused persons
  • covert investigations and intercepting telecommunications
  • measures to preserve evidence.

This new tool simplifies and speeds up cross-border criminal investigation – for example, if French judicial authorities are tracking terrorists hidden in Belgium, they can ask their Belgian counterparts to interrogate witnesses or conduct house searches on their behalf.  (Source European Commission Press Release).

EIO guidance (developed by the Home Office) is a detailed document that investigators should familiarise themselves with.

EIO form provides direct access to the form template.

Page last accessed 16 January 2019