Fairness in Criminal Appeal is a research project initially developed in a seminar held between July 2021 and June 2022 at CIDPCC. Our research team was supervised by Criminal Law Professor Helena Morão from CIDPCC and composed by the CIDPCC researchers António Brito Neves, Catarina Abegão Alves, Mafalda Moura Melim, Nuno Igreja Matos, Ricardo Tavares da Silva, Rita do Rosário, and Tiago Geraldo. As the project unfolded, Procedure Law Professor Antonio Mª Lara López (Department of Political Science, International Public Law and Procedure Law, Faculty of Law, Málaga University, Spain) and Criminal Procedure Law Professor Massimo Ceresa-Gastaldo (Department of Law, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy) also joined the team.
The aim of Fairness in Criminal Appeal is to address the European Court of Human Rights’ fairness standards in criminal appeal, filling a gap in this less researched area of studies. Based on a fair trial immediacy requirement, the Court has found several violations of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights at the appellate level by at least eighteen States of the Council of Europe in a vast array of cases, particularly in contexts of first instance acquittals overturning and of sentences increasing on appeal.
On the one hand, this project critically engages this case-law with the law revisions it has recently inspired in European countries, as well as with the critiques and difficulties that it continues to raise. On the other hand, it interweaves insight from criminal procedure theory with new discoveries in the field of cognitive sciences (neuroscience of memory, philosophy of knowledge, AI), shedding an interdisciplinary light on the (in)adequacy and limits of the Strasbourg Court’s jurisprudence.
We focus, thus, in debating the most important and unexplored issues of fair trial in criminal appeal; comprehensively reviewing the ECtHR case-law on appeal immediacy, examining the challenges it creates to lawmaking; and intersecting criminal procedure theory with memory neuroscience, philosophy of knowledge and AI to develop a new approach on appeal fairness.
Our research results are published in Helena Morão/Ricardo Tavares da Silva (eds.), Fairness in Criminal Appeal – A Critical and Interdisciplinary Analysis of the ECtHR Case-Law, Springer, 2023. More information here.
We continue to follow the ECtHR jurisprudence on this subject, as well as the relevant academic literature, to regularly update our findings.