Network of European aviation prosecutors

The Aviation Expertise Centre of the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in the Netherlands has the ambition to set up a network of European prosecutors who are or may be in charge of handling aviation cases. These prosecutors are invited to apply to the Aviation Expertise Centre.

The Aviation Expertise Centre of the PPS deals with (potential) criminal cases concerning incidents in which the safety of civil aviation is or may be at stake. This may involve conduct by civilians in general, such as violence or disorder on board an aircraft, unlawful entry at airports and laser incidents. In addition, it may involve conduct by participants in manned and unmanned aviation.

Within the European Union, common rules for civil aviation have been established through various regulations. One of those regulations, Regulation 376/2014, sets rules to promote Just Culture. Although those rules do not affect the national criminal law of member states, member states are encouraged to implement Just Culture in criminal law as well. The PPS in the Netherlands has done so with the Instruction for Criminal Investigation and Prosecution of Civil Aviation Occurrences. The Aviation Expertise Centre of the PPS wants to gain more insight into the different approaches in Europe, stimulate discussion about them and exchange experiences and best practices.

In view of the above, the Aviation Expertise Centre of the PPS has conceived the idea of establishing a network of European prosecutors who are or may be in charge of handling these types of aviation cases. The Aviation Expertise Centre will work closely with EUROCONTROL, which has set up a Just Culture Task Force years ago and organises a three-day course for judges, prosecutors and aviation professionals every six months in collaboration with the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) and the European Cockpit Association (ECA). The underlying idea of this course is to train aviation professionals to potentially provide expert assistance to judges and prosecutors in accordance with Just Culture principles, but respecting their independence and objectivity.

The Aviation Expertise Centre invites prosecutors who deal with aviation cases in Europe and may wish to join this network to apply at Any questions can also be addressed through this e-mail address.