The relationship between justice and aviation safety experts has never been an easy one, especially in the aftermath of an air accident or serious incident. The need for proper administration of justice and - at the same time - continued availability of aviation safety information has therefore brought to life the IFATCA-EUROCONTROL Prosecutor Expert Course.
The initiative tries to smooth the path for independent aviation experts to provide high quality information and expertise to judicial authorities and to increase mutual understanding between those two different worlds. The course also draws on the EUROCONTROL Just Culture Task Force conclusion that an important step towards “Just Culture” is a dialogue with representatives of the national judicial systems.
As a recognised stakeholder and after having been involved in two experimental courses in 2012, ECA has been invited this year to join the initiative by selecting and nominating 3 experts for the November 2013 session. In addition to a preparatory session on Just Culture principles, the expert pilots have been involved in real-case scenario exercises with high-level European prosecutors and other frontline operators, e.g. controllers. It is expected that up to 6 ECA experts will be trained and join the pool of experts each year.
Available upon request, the experts will support - with specialist knowledge - the work of prosecutors especially before, but also during, a (criminal) investigation related to an incident and/or accident, and where appropriate, support to the Court. This "pool" of highly qualified experts will contribute to a more mature and mutually beneficial relationship between the judiciary and aviation safety professionals, and stimulate exchange of know-how between those two worlds.