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 6: Substantive Criminal Law

Maria Fletcher, Robin Lööf and Bill Gilmore

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


CONTEXT AND GENERAL OVERVIEW Dealing with the issue of substantive EU criminal law, one is faced with a methodological problem. On the one hand, it is clearly there, and one could without too much difficulty provide an exhaustive list of the existing instruments harmonising the definitions of certain offences in the EU. On the other hand, substantive EU criminal law is frustrating in that it almost defies the legal urge to systematise and to categorise. While there are rational explanations for each individual EU instrument harmonising the definitions of a particular criminal offence, one is hard-pressed to identify the underlying rationale for the collection of criminal offences thus defined. In order to convey this characteristic of EU substantive criminal law, this chapter will begin by providing a short outline of what the EU has achieved in this field. While this list at least has pretentions to exhaustiveness, the matter is such that it cannot be excluded that one or other provision with an influence on substantive criminal law will ‘slip through the net’. After this brief outline the chapter will proceed with a more detailed discussion of the main motivating factors behind EU harmonisation of criminal offences. In the context of this discussion, we will look into some of the individual instruments in more detail. Overview of Criminal Offences defined by the EU A chronological approach to the task of listing the criminal offences defined by...

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