EU Criminal Law and Justice

EU Criminal Law and Justice

Elgar European Law series

Maria Fletcher, Robin Lööf and Bill Gilmore

Today, EU criminal law and justice constitutes a significant body of law potentially affecting most aspects of criminal justice. This book provides a comprehensive, accessible yet analytically challenging account of the institutional and legal developments in this field to date. It also includes full consideration of the prospective changes to EU criminal law contained in the recent ‘Lisbon Treaty’. While, broadly speaking, the authors welcome the objectives of EU criminal law, they call for a profound rethinking of how the good of criminal justice – however defined – is to be delivered to those living in the EU. At present, despite sometimes commendable initiatives from the institutions responsible, the actual framing and implementation of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) suffers from a failure to properly consider the theoretical implications of providing the good of criminal justice at the EU level.

Chapter 2: The Institutional Framework of EU Criminal Law and Justice

Maria Fletcher, Robin Lööf and Bill Gilmore

Subjects: law - academic, criminal law and justice, european law


This chapter explores the current ‘institutional framework’ of EU police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, understood in its widest sense. As such it begins with a discussion of the role of the formal EU institutions, followed by the various bodies and networks in the fields of judicial cooperation and police cooperation, respectively. Most prominently, the increasingly important European agencies of Eurojust and Europol will be examined in some detail. An effort is made to refer to the wide range of other actors that have emerged in this field, some of which have a clear basis in EU law (e.g. European Judicial Network, Liaison Magistrates, European Crime Prevention Network) and others of which do not (e.g. European Judicial Training Network and the European Police Chiefs Task Force); however, we make no claims to having been exhaustive.1 The proliferation of semi-autonomous special agencies and bodies in the field of justice and home affairs has been described as a ‘special characteristic’ of its governance, illustrating the ‘dynamism of this field of cooperation’.2 Given the diversity of actors and networks at play, a key challenge is to ensure that the objectives of each individual entity remains pertinent to achieving the collective goal and that the relations and synergies between them are clear and effective. Where appropriate, and where not dealt with elsewhere in the book, Reform Treaty boxes will be inserted to highlight institutional amendments and developments. THE EU INSTITUTIONS Council The Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council brings...

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