Joint investigation teams

A joint investigation team (JIT) is one of the most advanced tools used in international cooperation in criminal matters, comprising a legal agreement between competent authorities of two or more States for the purpose of carrying out criminal investigations. Made up of prosecutors and law enforcement authorities as well as judges, JITs are established for a fixed period, typically between 12 and 24 months, such as is necessary to reach successful conclusions to investigations.

Providing operational, legal and financial support to JITs is a key part of Eurojust’s mission, together with enabling access to the expertise of the JITs Network, a network of relevant national experts, who encourage and promote best practice in the use of JITs. Eurojust also hosts the JITs Network Secretariat, which supports and stimulates the activities of the JITs Network. Since 2005, the Agency has supported national authorities in the setting up and running of JITs, and has provided funding from 2009, while also taking a leading role in promoting JITs and developing awareness and understanding around the tool and its use.

The purpose of JITs

In complex and time-sensitive cross-border investigations, speed and efficiency are of the essence. However, in many cases, the operational needs of the authorities involved are not fully met by the traditional channels of mutual legal assistance. Direct cooperation and communication between authorities is the most efficient method of handling the increased sophistication of organised criminal activities. JITs offer national authorities in different States a flexible framework that is relatively quick and easy to establish and enables the respective authorities to participate in the investigation in a mutually beneficial way.

Once a JIT has been set up, the partners can directly exchange information and evidence, cooperate in real time and jointly carry out operations. Further, JITs allow for practitioners to be present during investigative measures on each other’s territories, and to therefore share their technical expertise and human resources more efficiently. Direct contacts and communication enable the JIT members to build personal relations and trust, leading to faster and more efficient cooperation.

The financial support provided by Eurojust and/or other EU agencies to JITs is another important benefit to national authorities, reducing the impact on national budgets of costs incurred due to the transnational dimension of cross-border cooperation.

Eurojust’s role

Eurojust supports the use of JITs during the entire life cycle of a cross-border investigation:

1. Planning

The decision to set up a JIT often takes shape at Eurojust. Once parallel or linked investigations have been identified by the National Desks at Eurojust, and the case has been registered, Eurojust may organise a coordination meeting between the involved States. During the meeting, Eurojust helps authorities assess the suitability of the case for the purpose of establishing a JIT. The setting up of JITs can also be agreed upon without, or prior to, a coordination meeting.

2. Setting up the JIT

Next, Eurojust supports the national authorities in setting up the team, by assisting in the drafting of JIT agreements and helping the partners navigate differences in procedural laws and reach agreement on key areas of cooperation and working methods. In establishing a JIT, practitioners are able to make use of supporting tools, jointly developed by the JITs Network, Eurojust and Europol.

3. The operational phase

Throughout the operational phase of a JIT, Eurojust works with the JIT partners to ensure the smooth running of joint investigations, providing legal and practical support. In particular, Eurojust helps to identify and resolve issues, coordinate investigative and prosecutorial strategies between the partners, and enable the coordination of joint operations. For example, by organising and hosting coordination meetings and setting up coordination centres.

4. Evaluation

Following the closure/expiry of a JIT, those involved perform an evaluation of its performance, in particular for JITs which received financial support from Eurojust. The feedback provided is important in improving the use and functioning of JITs and for establishing best practice for future use of the tool. The JITs Network has developed a JIT evaluation form for this purpose, as well as guidance and support to carry out the evaluation.

Supporting tools and documents

Tools and Resources for JIT Practitioners

This document provides a complete overview of the most relevant tools and resources for practitioners working in a joint investigation team or planning to set up a JIT. By clicking on the title of a specific tool, you will gain direct access to it, without having to search for it online.

JIT model agreement

Updated in 2017, a model agreement has been developed to facilitate the setting up of JITs. Appendix I to the model agreement was revised in 2022. The consolidated document is available in all official EU languages and can be downloaded in editable Word and PDF formats.

JITs Practical Guide

The JITs Practical Guide developed by the JITs Network in cooperation with Eurojust, Europol and OLAF, aims to provide information, guidance and advice to practitioners on the formation and operation of JITs.

Guidelines on Joint Investigation Teams Involving Third Countries

The Guidelines on Joint Investigation Teams Involving Third Countries, jointly prepared by the JITs Network Secretariat and Eurojust, provide guidance to EU Member State practitioners on setting up a Joint Investigation Team with a third country. A Checklist for Practitioners is also available and will soon be translated into all EU languages.

JIT evaluation reports

The JITs Network Secretariat periodically publishes JIT evaluation reports that provide an overview of the best practices and lessons learnt as reported by the JIT practitioners working with JITs. In the Second and Third JIT Evaluation Reports, the findings of the JIT national practitioners were complemented with Eurojust’s experience in supporting JITs. As in these previous reports, the Fourth JITs Evaluation Report also focuses on providing an overview of the best practices and lessons learnt as reported by the JIT practitioners working with JITs. This overview is complemented by chapters dedicated to Eurojust’ s experiences with multilateral JITs, recent development in JITs, and JITs-related case law. In addition, a dedicated checklist has been cre­ated which provides an overview of the aspects to be taken into account in the setting-up and operational phases of a multilateral JIT. The checklist is available in all official EU lan­guages.

JITs Funding Portal

Eurojust operates an online tool, the JITs Funding Portal, through which national authorities can securely submit funding applications for JITs.

JITs Restricted Area

The JITs Restricted Area serves as a centre of knowledge, providing useful practical and legal information, as well as data and documents on the setting up and running of JITs. The JITs Restricted Area also offers access to the list of contact details of JIT National Experts and Contact Points, and to the Fiches Espagnoles (national legislation on JITs). The JITs Restricted Area is the main point of reference for JIT practitioners in the EU Member States and beyond. Access to this website is restricted. Please submit a request for access via this page.

JITs factsheet

A comprehensive overview of JITs as a key instrument of judicial cooperation, including information on the ways in which Eurojust supports JITs, can be found in this factsheet.

Involvement of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in joint investigation teams

This factsheet presents the ways in which the International Criminal Court may be involved in joint investigation teams, the benefits of their involvement, and the support that Eurojust and the JITs Network Secretariat may offer in these situations.

Eurojust casework involving JITs

As demonstrated by Eurojust’s casework, the added value of JITs has resulted in the tool being progressively incorporated into the prosecutorial strategies of the Member States. In 2021, Eurojust supported 254 JITs, including 72 that were established during 2021, and 182 that were ongoing from previous years, representing an increase of more than 200% compared with 2015.

Although JITs are still predominantly used in bilateral cases, Eurojust’s casework and subsequent case evaluations show that the tool successfully supports investigations with a multinational dimension, with a sizeable number of JITs involving more than two States.

In recent years, Eurojust’s involvement in JITs has led to successful outcomes across a wide range of cases, including priority crime areas as defined by the Council of the European Union, such as terrorism, cybercrime, migrant smuggling, drug trafficking and trafficking in human beings (THB). The often complex and fast-moving nature of such cases makes the speed and flexibility enabled by JITs especially advantageous. The criminal organisations involved are typically highly mobile, with targets often moving across borders at speed; the involved authorities must be just as agile when tracking and building cases against suspects.

The use of JITs in investigations involving third States

JITs are increasingly recognised by practitioners from EU Member States as a valuable option for judicial cooperation with non-EU States. While the operation of such JITs may present specific features or deviate from usual EU practice, the tool is sufficiently flexible to allow practical adjustments and still function efficiently. Indeed, as experience in using the mechanism has grown, the number of newly established JITs involving third States supported by Eurojust has increased significantly, rising from 3 in 2016 to 32 in 2021. The Third JIT Evaluation Report includes a chapter devoted to Eurojust’s experience in JITs with third States.


The JITs Network and its Secretariat, with support from Eurojust and Europol, developed a wide range of tools to encourage the use of JITs, facilitate their setting up, and contribute to the sharing of experience and best practice. This leaflet has a complete overview of the tools and resources for...
This factsheet, developed by the JITs Network Secretariat and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, presents the ways in which the International Criminal Court may be involved in joint investigation teams, the benefits of their involvement, and the support that Eurojust...
21 December 2023|LAST UPDATE:11 March 2024|AVAILABLE IN 5 LANGUAGES
Who can apply: JITs leader(s) / JITs member(s) / Delegated persons with relevant professional competency from a WB partner On behalf of the JIT Providing a signed JIT Agreement What is covered Costs of cross-border operations Organisation of coordination meetings and centres (travel, meals...
In recent years, judicial cooperation in criminal matters between EU and Latin American countries has intensified. This has given rise to the first four joint investigation teams (JITs) involving Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador being established with the support of Eurojust. The 19th Annual Meeting of...
The Assessment report of the JITs Network and its activities reflects on various areas relevant to the functioning of the JITs Network, such as the functioning of a JIT National Expert within their Member State; relations and cooperation with Eurojust; and JITs Network meetings. The report aims at...
This is the Fourth Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) Evaluation Report, published by the Sec­retariat of the Network of National Experts on Joint Investigation Teams, since 2014. The report provides an overview of les­sons learned and best practices. It also focuses on Eurojust’s experience with...
This timeline outlines key milestones in Eurojust’s support for the joint investigation team (JIT) into alleged core international crimes committed in Ukraine.
The 18th Annual Meeting of the Network of National Experts on Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) was organised by the JITs Network Secretariat in close cooperation with Eurojust and Europol on 5 and 6 October 2022 in The Hague. The meeting brought together JIT National Experts from 21 EU Member States...
In a landmark judgement on 13 January 2022, the German Higher Regional Court of Koblenz sentenced a former high-ranking Syrian official to life imprisonment for his involvement in crimes against humanity. In 2021, an associate of the high-ranking official was sentenced by the same court to four and...
Guidelines on Joint Investigation Teams Involving Third Countries Read the Guidelines This checklist covers all issues practitioners need to consider when setting up a JIT with a third country. The checklist addresses all relevant issues for consideration from the set-up phase to the operational and...