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 4: Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters

Maria Fletcher, Robin Lööf and Bill Gilmore

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


CONTEXT AND GENERAL OVERVIEW Judicial cooperation forms the central plank of the EU’s criminal justice agenda. It is precisely within this field that the boldest attempts have been made to move on from the vagaries of the past, when international cooperation in criminal matters was notoriously slow, inefficient and carried out in the interests of the states concerned.1 And yet it is also within this field that the impacts of the basic theoretical lacuna in the project of developing the EU as an area of freedom, security and justice are most prominent, resulting in institutional tensions and, ultimately, a legal landscape that lacks coherence. Building upon the discussion contained in the introduction and Chapter 1 of this book, and in order to convey more clearly the somewhat schizophrenic nature of EU judicial cooperation in criminal matters, this chapter will be structured around the legislative and nonlegislative strands of development. The Treaty of Amsterdam did not mark the beginning of the EU’s role in criminal matters, nor did it produce a completely revolutionary approach to dealing with matters of inter-state cooperation. However, it is fair to say that it embodied and precipitated a significant shift away from the traditional approach based upon intergovernmental conventions and the principle of request. The import of certain Communitarian (supranational) elements to the hitherto largely intergovernmental third pillar created a completely unique and more ambitious governance framework for policy development. Most prominently, the EU was given more effective legal instruments through which to...

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