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The need for evidence in adversarial proceedings

Held: one of the elements of a fair hearing in criminal proceedings was the right to adversarial proceedings. Each party had to have the opportunity not only to make known any evidence needed for his claim to succeed, but also to have knowledge of or comment on all evidence adduced or observations filed with a view to influencing the court’s decision. Reliance on a written expert opinion did comply with the adversarial principle, and the refusal to call its author to give oral evidence did not render the proceedings unfair. The author had based his expert opinion on documentary evidence available to the parties. The courts had received that material and heard oral evidence upon it. They had not been legally bound by the author’s expertise and had not based their conclusions exclusively on his expert opinion. The refusal to call the report’s author to give evidence in the Court of Appeal did not render the proceedings unfair for the purposes of Article 6(1). Eskelinen v. Finland( (2007) 45 EHRR 1.

Facts: the four applicants were convicted of disclosure of a business secret. A written expert opinion was cited a number of times in the court’s judgment. In their appeals, the applicants alleged that the author of the opinion ought to have been called to give oral evidence. The Court of Appeal refused to hear any witnesses.

 

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