52ND ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Bali, Indonesia, 24-28 April 2013
WP No. 164
IFATCA/ Eurocontrol Prosecutor Expert Course
Presented by PLC
Following two years preparation, the first two pilot courses of the IFATCA/ EUROCONTROL expert training on just culture were delivered in 2012. The main objective of the programme is the formation and training of independent ATM or aviation experts available to advise prosecutors and judges in case of criminal investigations resulting from aviation incidents or accidents. The paper explains the idea and structure behind the course and highlights the future challenges which have so far been identified.
1.1 Since the very beginning of aviation it has been the aim to improve safety by investigating aircraft accidents and incidents. This resulted in the creation of Annex 13 of ICAO. ICAO annex 13 states the main point of an investigation is not to apportion blame but to learn from accidents and or serious incidents.
1.2 In the past two decades IFATCA has become aware of criminal proceedings launched against Air Traffic controllers involved in operational incidents or accidents (where ATC might have been a contributing factor).
1.3 The issue of Criminalisation of Aviation accidents or incidents illustrates the delicate relationship between the propagation of aviation safety and the Administration of Justice in the Aviation domain. These are two distinct worlds that seldom meet. One is by nature international, dynamic and very sensitive to safety; the other is by nature national, resistant to progressive change and very sensitive to the rule of law. No wonder that their interaction, or perhaps the lack of it, generates difficult and often passionate discussions.
1.4 Following a change in semantic from “no blame” to “non-punitive” the ATM community is using just culture to describe what could provide a concept where the gap between safety interest and judicial interest could be bridged.
1.5 Eurocontrol has set up a multidisciplinary task force which has agreed to a Just Culture model policy which provides a Ministry of Transport the possibility to approach the Ministry of Justice to try to bridge the gap. (http://www.eurocontrol.int/sites/default/files/content/documents/nm/safety/201209-just-culture-policy.pdf)
2.1 Bridging the gap
2.1.1 While a lot of progress has been made to understand and shape a position on Just Culture in the aviation field. The identified need to bridge the gap towards the judicial world remains a huge challenge. Whereas all the legal texts acknowledge the need to learn from serious incidents and accidents and that this can be best achieved by having a Just Culture approach with regard to reporting, the same legal texts clearly identify that in matter of Justice the sovereign of a state is or will not be undermined.
2.1.2 Schubert (Schubert F., Resolving the Just Culture deadlock, 2009) highlights the need to be more realistic from an aviation perspective (safety); the deployment of the Just Culture has been very empirical, characterised by small steps following a “try, assess and adjust” approach. This process has already permitted to clarify a number of aspects and to help refocus the attention of the Just Culture’s promoters on areas where more work was needed.
2.1.3 For instance, early reflections have pointed out that one of the most significant obstacles on the path of the deployment of a Just Culture is built in the very regulations upon which the concept is built. It is well known that both ICAO Annex 13 and a number of European regulations support the spirit of non-punitive safety investigation, by protecting the investigation material and those who contribute to their production, from judicial consequences.
2.1.4 The current provision in the prevailing legal text states;
ICAO Annex 13 § 5.12
…unless the appropriate authority for the administration of justice… determines that their disclosure outweighs the adverse domestic and international impact such action may have on that or any future investigations”.
EC Regulation 966/2010 § 14
Notwithstanding paragraphs 1 and 2, the administration of justice or the authority competent to decide on the disclosure of records according to national law may decide that the benefits of the disclosure of the records referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 for any other purposes permitted by law outweigh the adverse domestic and international impact that such action may have on that or any future safety investigation. Member States may decide to limit the cases in which such a decision of disclosure may be taken, while respecting the legal acts of the Union.
The communication of records referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 to another Member State for purposes other than safety investigation and, in addition as regards paragraph 2, for purposes other than those aiming at the improvement of aviation safety may be granted insofar as the national law of the communicating Member State permits. Processing or disclosure of records received through such communication by the authorities of the receiving Member State shall be permitted solely after prior consultation of the communicating Member State and subject to the national law of the receiving Member
Directive 2003/42/EC of 13 June 2003 on Occurrence Reporting in Civil Aviation, OJ Legislation (2003) No. 167/23, art. 8.
“Without prejudice to the applicable rules of penal law, Member States shall refrain from instituting proceedings in respect of unpremeditated or inadvertent infringements of the law which come to their attention only because they have been reported under the national mandatory occurrence- reporting scheme, except in cases of gross negligence.”
2.2 The missing link?
2.2.1 IFATCA and Eurocontrol have teamed up in order to find out ways where a link could be created between the judicial and the aviation world.
2.3 The challenges for the expert course
2.3.1 One such proposal in the early stage was to set up and train a pool of accredited experts, who would be available to judges and prosecutors across Europe, and beyond.
2.3.2 The proposed pool should consist of a mix of individuals selected from the aviation industry and from the legal profession. Those with a legal background would receive a substantial additional training in aviation, whereas those coming from the aeronautical business would be given a solid legal education.
2.3.3 The mandate given to these experts would be to evaluate safety occurrences from an operational, technical and legal point of view. To become credible, the task should not be entrusted to a single individual, but to a small college of people with various skills, to ensure a comprehensive and balanced evaluation of each case. Some promoters of the idea suggest that the mandate given to these experts should be to act as a filter and to decide upstream from the judicial system, which cases should be subject to a criminal investigation, and which cases should not be considered by the judicial system. Whereas the proposal is tempting, it would be extremely difficult to implement in practice in the light of the changes that States would need to make to their legal systems to accommodate such a function that would formally substitute to the criminal investigators. The history of the measures undertaken to implement a Just Culture in aviation indicates that most States show a great reluctance to modify their national laws. The most immediate and promising steps should be imagined within the existing legal framework. A more realistic mandate would be to entrust these experts with the responsibility to produce an opinion on the opportunity or need to prosecute a given case. The decision to do so would formally remain with the judicial but, provided the program is conducted with rigor, the opinion would carry a strong authoritative value.
2.3.4 In order to be effective, such a pool of experts would need to be recognised by the judicial authorities. For judges and prosecutors to support the idea of such a program, there are a number of conditions that would need to be fulfilled.
2.3.5 First, the experts would need to be independent, reliable and credible. To increase the acceptance on the judicial side, the program would need to be formally accredited, and ideally run, by an intergovernmental organisation. EUROCONTROL could be considered. That organisation has taken a leading role in the promotion of Just Culture in Europe in general, and for investigating the specific idea of setting up a pool of experts, in particular. But, looking at the planned developments of the European institutional framework, and considering the need for a program across the entire aviation industry, EASA could be another attractive candidate. An even more ambitious idea, to maximise the credibility of the program, would be to attach it to an international judicial body. This would largely defuse any suspicions of prejudice that an aviation managed scheme would raise.
2.3.6 Eurocontrol and IFATCA have teamed up as this was in line with the work carried out on the Just Culture idea over the past decade. Eurocontrol being a international, trans-European organisation with resources and facilities no other organisation currently was willing or able to make available for such an initiative.
2.3.7 The fact that the experts would be drawn from many different countries would further strengthen the value of the programme, by relieving national courts from the need to rely on experts from their own country. Experience shows that experts who share the nationality of those exposed in an investigation are often perceived as prejudiced and biased, because of the vocational solidarity that tends to arise within a State’s aviation industry.
2.3.8 Finally, a key condition for such a scheme to be successful and accepted by all parties is the absolute need for the experts to strictly abide to the principles of a Just Culture. That implies that the experts involved will need to be rigorous in shielding aviation professionals from criminal prosecution in all cases where the criteria for such a process are not met, but equally determined to point out those exceptional cases where a criminal prosecution would be justified.
2.4 IFATCA/ EUROCONTROL Training Course
2.4.1 The development of this course must be seen in the wider context of the implementation of the concept of Just Culture in aviation. It is seen as an enabler to reaching the necessary balance between safety and justice requirements.
2.4.2 In order for this training to deliver the expected benefits, it will need to be fully endorsed and supported by a number of entities/organisations within the aviation/ ATM field (CANSO, European Commission, FSF, IFATCA, EUROCONTROL, etc.) as well as receive sufficient exposure in the judicial world/ experts association. At the individual level, it will require arrangements with employers (recognition of possible tasks of certified experts and resulting duties and financial compensation) as well as recognition/ accreditation in certain cases by national experts associations.
2.4.3 The initiative will require substantive support from the Civil Aviation Authorities of the EUROCONTROL Member States. Their support will be essential to bridge the gap with their national judicial authorities.
2.5 General Course Goals
2.5.1 One of the main objectives of the course is the formation/training of ATM or aviation experts that would be available to advise prosecutors and judges in case of criminal investigations resulting from aviation incidents or accidents.
2.5.2 This should result in a “pool” of highly qualified experts that could foster the development of a mature relationship between the judiciary and aviation safety experts and exchange of know-how. This “pool” should be recognised and be used as an international reference body.
2.5.3 The other objective is to provide to the representatives from judicial authorities the opportunity to benefit from a dedicated module dealing with aviation safety. A joint module with experts from aviation and judicial authorities would create the opportunity to exchange views and better understand the responsibilities and interests of both parties.
2.6 Targeted Audience
2.6.1 The target audience for this training would be experienced operational aviation experts involved in the provision of ATC or pilots. The training would be opened to retired or active operational experts.
2.6.2 This operational / technical knowledge and expertise of the aviation experts attending this training should be recognised by peers / ATCO and Pilots associations. To this end, a mechanism should be established to ensure that the potential trainees under the proposed training scheme are considered as specialists in the aviation field. A panel composed of peers could be considered; the development of this mechanism could be based on experience from other domains where such a scheme exists. The standards to be met to qualify could be developed or validated by stakeholders.
2.6.3 Civil Aviation Authorities should assist to identify which judicial authorities could be interested to benefit from such courses, where this is not already known (e.g. aviation prosecutor).
2.7 Conflict of Interest
2.7.1 An important aspect to consider for any expert is impartiality. Once the training has been completed and the operational expert accredited/ certified, safeguards will need to be established in order to ensure that operational experts, in particular those that are active, can exercise this function without any conflict of interest or undue pressure from any source. They must be able to exercise their function independently, neither representing their employers nor a professional association. The support of the employer and the association is however at least in the beginning crucial. Reliance on the existing code of conduct for accredited experts (e.g. code of conduct from EuroExpert) should be considered.
2.8 Quality of Training
2.8.1 The actual training provided should also go through the necessary process in order to ensure a certain quality insurance of the knowledge. It should be provided by a recognised and independent entity.
2.9 National Requirements
2.9.1 It is recognised that there are different requirements in different States – for example, in certain states experts are required to be on list, to take examinations, to have knowledge of procedural law while in others there are no fixed procedures or lists. The purpose of the course is however to train experts which are able to support the judiciary in different States – it will be ultimately up to individual participants to meet any particular national requirements although their potential intervention should not be limited to judicial proceedings in one State.
2.9.2 The objective is to have a pool of 30 experts throughout Europe. At this stage, it would appear difficult to have a single European list of experts on which national judicial authorities would rely, in view of the different national requirements referred to above. It should be noted that expert associations have tried in other domains to move to such a list with limited success. The judicial authorities, and in particular prosecutors, should be informed that such a pool exists also in order to avail itself as appropriate of this expertise before initiating criminal proceedings. This would in certain countries need to be discussed with the CAA and the AAIB. The joint module proposed would certainly assist in raising the awareness of the availability of this dedicated expertise.
2.10.1 The course will be based on lectures provided by professionals (safety experts, prosecutors, judges, etc) to small groups of students.
2.10.2 Those lectures should be supported by interactive group sessions and role play.
2.10.3 The basic training session will last three days. Refreshers or updates should be organised on a need basis (following the trial course IFATCA has decided to make a mandatory one day IFATCA training course ahead of the prosecutor expert course for all the selected candidates). After consideration of the course goals and learning objectives, it has been determined that the course should be a training session/seminar and not constitute a full-blown academic course. It should be intensive and focus on the main aspects required to train the experts. The operational / technical knowledge should already be there and focus should be on the procedural / legal / expertise delivery.
2.11.1 Upon completion of this training, formal recognition will be provided to those that have successfully completed the course. The standards to be met to be considered a qualified expert could be developed or validated by stakeholders.
2.11.2 The validity of the recognition / certification should be discussed (e.g. put on the list for five years, etc) in the context of the development of the Course Syllabus.
2.12 Training Provision
2.12.1 The objective is to have pan-European training. The sessions should encompass aviation experts from different States.
2.12.2 It appears that a number of national experts associations provide training for experts. Those are mostly focused on the national situation and laws and are not aviation specific.
2.12.3 With a focus on aviation safety, this training would address the main legal and procedural notions which are applicable in the majority of the European States, taking into account as appropriate certain important national differences.
2.13.1 The development and running of the course should be funded by an independent entity or entities. Different funding schemes for the running of the course could be considered, depending on who is the entity providing the training (e.g. EU funding)
2.13.2 The support / financing referred to above would influence the enrolment fee for individuals deciding to pursue this training.
2.13.3 Ultimately, the training could financially benefit the expert as financial compensation will follow any appointment as an expert by the court, parties. Sufficient safeguards should be in place to ensure the independence of the experts.
2.13.4 Related to the funding are the costs associated with the development and establishment of the course if the numbers of experts to be trained is relatively low – what are the realistic needs for such experts (in terms of numbers)?
2.14 Feedback from the trial courses
2.14.1 Participants; in 2012 two courses in the form of trials took place to finalise the expert training courses. They were undertaken by 6 individuals from IFATCA. These specific individuals were invited based on their function, motivation and/or training in Safety Science.
2.14.2 From the judicial world 2 Italian prosecutors and 1 Italian judge, as well as the Dutch aviation prosecutor and former UK CAA and US FAA prosecutor participated. Eurocontrol (legal service and Safety Domain) and CANSO members (safety LVNL, Legal Head DFS) and the European Commission participated in these courses.
2.14.3 From ECA/IFALPA two captains (Transavia, Luxair) participated.
2.15 Course content
2.15.1 A complete agenda of the first trial course is attached to this working paper, along with the course content (appendix 2). A large amount of input was given to the programme post first trial course and was integrated into the second course. Based on these practical exercises, IFATCA identified the need to prepare the candidates selected in various issues such as language, systemic safety etc ahead of the training course.
2.15.2 The first “real” course will take place from 10th-12th April 2013 at the European Institute for Air Navigation Services (IANS) and will see the delegation of selected candidates participating. The content will be the same as for the second trial. Further prosecutors are willing to participate to this initiative.
2.16 The future
2.16.1 Following the pilot courses the participants came to the conclusion that we should aim for a pool with European persons of about 30-40 experts who could be made available to judges and or prosecutors. From the ATM point of view air traffic controllers should ideally participate. IFATCA published on the 7th December 2012 a call for candidates (see appendix 3). The selection process started on the 5th January 2013. The Executive Board of IFATCA will decide who is in the selection board.
2.16.2 The selected candidates will have to participate in a preparation day ahead of the training course. The dates of any subsequent courses (after April 2013) are not yet fixed. It is foreseen, however, that this initiative will need training courses extending until 2015 or 2016 in order to have a sufficient number of trained experts.
2.16.3 It has also been identified that there will be a need to set up an informal IFATCA prosecutor expert team in order to be able to exchange views and provide possible further refresher training from an IFATCA perspective. This is due to the fact that not every expert will have the opportunity to intervene and to work for a prosecutor. As indicated previously, it is important to note that we do not yet know how many times and to what extent the prosecutors of the Eurocontrol member states might call upon the trained judicial experts. In order to bridge the gap it is foreseen that a network among all the participants (including the prosecutors) should be put in place, which could offer the opportunity to discuss study cases and continue to foster the understanding for the Just Culture concept for both the judicial and aviation system.
2.16.4 The initiative has been presented to the December 2012 provisional council (PC38) and has received favourable reactions. Eurocontrol together with IFATCA has written a letter to CANSO in order to inform CANSO of this initiative and asks for support.
3.1 Just Culture has been identified as a concept which could balance the interest of safety and the interest of law. Just Culture, accepted by the aviation community as the way forward continued safety improvement, is an unknown or in some cases impossible concept for the judiciary world. It has therefore been decided between IFATCA/EUROCONTROL to establish a training initiative to develop a pool of experts which can be made available to judges and prosecutors.
3.2 Two test courses have taken place and final adjustment will be ready prior to the first official course which will take place in April 2013.
3.3 The aim of the course is that Eurocontrol and IFATCA will be able to address all the Ministry of Justice with a list of people trained as possible ATM expert who could be made available to judges and prosecutors to assist with expertise input in case of aviation incidents and accidents.
4.1 That this working paper is accepted as information paper.
Appendix A – IFATCA policy on Just Culture
LM 4.2.1 JUST CULTURE, TRUST AND MUTUAL RESPECT
Accidents and incidents in the aviation have been used to enhance aviation safety. Safety information is a main source for the permanent enhancement of safety in aviation. But there are many risks of its inappropriate use. As a result safety information is very sensitive and needs special protection.
The information is not to be put into the public domain or to be used against the personnel involved.
Voluntary reporting system are different than mandatory, they shall contain safety concerns, issues or even hazards, connected with the suggestions how this can be avoided in the future. ICAO states that there should be a voluntary reporting system established and it shall be non-punitive.
IFATCA policy is:
A Just Culture in Accident and Incident Investigation is defined as follows: “A culture in which front line operators or others are not punished for actions, omissions or decisions taken by them that are commensurate with their experience and training, but where gross negligence, wilful violations and destructive acts are not tolerated.”
Just Culture requires a corresponding national legal framework because the administration of justice is the responsibility of States. IFATCA shall encourage ICAO to foster the establishment accordingly in its Member States.
Member Associations shall promote the creation of Air Safety Reporting Systems based on confidential reporting in a just culture among their service provider(s), Civil Aviation Administration(s), National Supervisory Authority(ies) and members.
Member Associations shall promote the creation of mandatory incident reporting systems based on confidential reporting in a just culture among their service provider(s), Civil Aviation Administration(s), National Supervisory Authority(ies) and members.
Member Associations shall promote the creation of voluntary incident reporting systems provided that the reported information will never be used against the reporting person. Compliant with the guidelines of the ICAO SAFETY MANAGEMENT MANUAL.
IFATCA shall not encourage Member Associations to join Incident Reporting Systems unless provisions exist that adequately protect all persons involved in the reporting, collection and / or analysis of safety-related information in aviation.
Any incident reporting system, including the collection, storage and dissemination of safety related data, shall be based on the following principles;
a) in accordance and in cooperation with pilots, air traffic controllers and Air Navigation Service Providers;
b) the whole procedure shall be confidential, which shall be guaranteed by law;
c) adequate protection for those involved, the provision of which be within the remit of an independent body
Air Navigation Service Providers and their respective employee groups shall develop mechanisms that foster an environment of trust and mutual respect in order to improve the capability to compile, assess and disseminate safety-related information with each other, as well as with other national and international aviation organizations.
Appendix B – Course Content and Programme
A modular approach is being proposed in order to cope with the different needs of the different participants to be trained (aviation (in particular ATCOs) and judicial authority experts):
- Module A Systemic Safety Education
- Module B Legal conditions and requirements
- Module C ATM – Interrelations between justice and safety interests
It is proposed to include both legal and aviation experts, allowing discussions and interactions on how to better interact to ensure that the responsibilities of all can be efficiently exercised.
The trained experts should gain in particular from this course the following (to be further developed in Course Syllabus Document).
- Knowledge of systemic thinking and the aim of these systems vs. the aim of a judicial system.
- Understanding of the roles and responsibilities of aviation and judicial experts.
Aviation Experts Module
- Understanding of the legal and procedural concepts relative to criminal proceedings.
- Understanding of the relationships between the prosecutors, judge, juries and parties – working with the legal system and actors – and the court process.
- Be able to communicate the right (often complex) information to non-operational/ technical audience – preparation and technique to deliver the right message.
- Be able to support expertise with the right evidence – how to become an effective expert witness.
- Knowledge of the responsibilities and potential liabilities of experts.
Judicial Authorities Module
- Understanding the concept of Just Culture and safety reporting.
- Understanding aviation safety.
Day 1 (Safety and Legal Theory Day)
Day 2 (Safety and Legal Practical Day)
Day 3 (Safety and Legal Practical Day and Wrap-Up)
Appendix C – EUROCONTROL/IFATCA Prosecutor Expert Course
Call for Candidates
The Prosecutor Expert Course is based on a joint initiative between EUROCONTROL and IFATCA. The analysis of relevant criminal indictments and court cases indicates that many of them would likely have resulted in a lower number of indictments or convictions if prosecutors had access to independent technical and operational expertise at an early stage of their investigation.
As a result, a curriculum has been established for the first of several Prosecutor Expert Courses to train selected high-level professionals in the ATC and Aviation domains who will be uniquely available on request to prosecutors and investigation authorities to assist them with expert information during preliminary criminal investigation that could contribute to fully informed decision-making on further steps.
The first course is scheduled for April 2013.
- At least 10 years of working experience in ATM;
- Safety investigation experience, or a higher education degree in systems safety;
- ICAO Level 4 English proficiency;
- Good communication and analytical skills;
- Support of your IFATCA Member Association; and
- A valid ATCO license from an EUROCONTROL member state, or suitable other experiences within ATM, which are endorsed in writing by the Member Association, that may substitute for any of the ATCO requirements;
- While not required for consideration, special consideration will be afforded candidates with professional legal training, qualifications and/or accreditation.
IFATCA would welcome your application if you meet these requirements and you are:
- Motivated to become a member of the future IFATCA prosecutor expert pool of independent ATM experts which can be made available to prosecutors and judges;
- Have the will to embark on a long term undertaking as a member of the network
How does it work?
If you feel motivated to take up this professional challenge, the following information will help you understand the scope of the undertaking.
The first Prosecutor Course will be from 10 – 14 April 2013 at the EUROCONTROL IANS in Luxembourg. This will be preceded by an IFATCA preparatory course
During the training at EUROCONTROL IANS you will be working with judges and prosecutors from various European countries. You will be trained in systems safety aspects and, in particular, the judicial elements of an investigation into a case of a serious incident and/or accident.
Upon successful completion of the course you will receive a certificate. Completion of the course will not automatically confer upon you the right to be a member of the prosecutor expert pool.
If selected, your name and contact details will be added to a list of the expert pool that will be maintained and updated by EUROCONTROL for the use of Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Justice in the respective EUROCONTROL member states.
IFATCA expects that you will be available for recurrent and further training as necessary.
IFATCA reserves the right, after discussion with the expert, to withdraw support, and remove from the pool, any expert whom we deem to no longer meet the standards of professionalism expected for such an important task. This will be discussed with the selected candidate during the preparatory course.
You are expected to join a network of experts that will gather at least once a year for a refresher and network day to exchange experience, receive updates on the latest development and reach out to the judicial participants of the training course.
Six candidates will be trained on the first course in 2013. Further course dates will be published in due time.
For IFATCA it is important that the candidates have support from their Member Association. IFATCA will cover the cost for the hotel and per diem during the training. Your Member Association will however have to provide for transportation.
The one-day preparatory course will focus on the tasks at hand. You will need to prepare some material for the preparatory course in the form of practical exercises.
If you feel motivated and ready to apply for this activity please submit, via email only:
- a CV
- a copy of your ATCO License
- validation of your activities/experience in safety investigation by your employer
- a support letter from your Member Association
- a letter of motivation
- indicate if you would be available for the April 2013 course or you prefer a later date
- your contact details (including a Skype address)
by no later than 05.01.2013 to:
Marc Baumgartner will coordinate the selection process, in conjunction with the IFATCA Executive Board. When necessary interviews will be carried out via Skype only. You will be informed about the decision of the selection board by email.
For any further questions please do not hesitate to contact:
Appendix 4 – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Prosecutor Expert Course Eurocontrol/IFATCA
Organisation and Selection
1. Can I apply as candidate, even if I do not fulfil all the conditions?
It is possible to apply to become a trained expert even if not all the conditions are fulfilled. A selection board internally IFATCA will make the selection.
2. Can I apply as a candidate, even if I have already another colleague of my Member Association applying?
There is no limit on the number of application per Member Association. It is however very important that the Member Association does endorse your application. This mainly due to the fact that there will be some costs associated with the training.
3. Can I apply if my country is not within the Eurocontrol member states area?
No, this is not foreseen at this stage.
4. Can I request from my service provider to give me working days to attend the course?
IFATCA together with Eurocontrol has written to CANSO and has invited the members of CANSO (employers) to possible assist the ATCOs to get relieved from roster and/or any other form of support as deemed suitable.
5. Once I have carried out the training course can I open a legal expertise company and offer my services to the prosecutors and or judges?
The successful candidates will be put on a list which will be managed by Eurocontrol (in collaboration with IFATCA). Countries interested will call upon Eurocontrol if a prosecutor or a judge needs an expert. Normally it is not foreseen that this replaces the court expert list as some countries might be familiar with. However depending on the various national rules, nothing prevents a successful candidate to try to complete the requirements to be nominated at the national level as a court expert.
6. Who will pay my expenses if an expertise is being requested by a prosecutor?
Normally the prosecution or court who is interested to have an expert judgement will cover the expenses of the expert. This depends however as well on the national arrangements and no firm answer can at this stage been given.
7. Can IFATCA withdraw me from the list of experts?
IFATCA will pay special care when selecting the candidates for the course and therefore there should be no need to withdraw the expert from the list, for misbehaving and or not respecting the federations’ policies. The fact that the expert has to act in an independent way will be challenge. Therefore IFATCA proposes to set up a network of IFATCA prosecutor experts, to share experience and organise continuous and refresher training on a yearly basis. This might be merged with Eurocontrol possible extension of the program.
The Expert role
8. What is my job as expert?
The training course is set up to educate the candidates to get acquainted with the thinking of prosecutors and judges, when they approach a matter of interest. Most of the time the prosecutors and/or judges are no specialist in the domain and therefore call upon an expert with some legal questions. The expert’s role is to give answers to a prosecutor in order that he can figure out which of the technical and operational decisions could be of interest in determining if there was a legal offence committed.
9. Can I give my own judgment on guilty not guilty?
The candidates will be trained in such a way that they clearly understand that they are not to become an “assistant”-prosecutor, but assist the prosecutor to understand the complex task at hand. This excludes for the trained candidates that he is to formulate any charges and or decisions on guilty or not guilty behaviour of the persons involved in the to be assessed case.
10. Will I be used to bring an ATCOs or a pilot to court?
Prior to this initiative the prosecutor had the difficult task to decide him/herself to prosecute and or bring a case to court. With the expertise made available through the pool of experts, he might wish to be assist in making the call to prosecute or not. In many cases this expertise was brought in by the defence lawyers. The role of the expert is to bring an expertise to the prosecutors and/or judges table which was not available to date.
Last Update: September 30, 2020