Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law
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Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law

Edited by Valsamis Mitsilegas, Maria Bergström and Theodore Konstadinides

EU criminal law is one of the fastest evolving, but also challenging, policy areas and fields of law. This Handbook provides a comprehensive and advanced analysis of EU criminal law as a structurally and constitutionally unique policy area and field of research. With contributions from leading experts, focusing on their respective fields of research, the book is preoccupied with defining cross-border or ‘Euro-crimes’, while allowing Member States to sanction criminal behaviour through mutual cooperation. It contains a web of institutions, agencies, and external liaisons, which ensure the protection of EU citizens from serious crime, while protecting the fundamental rights of suspects and criminals.
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Chapter 14: The interplay between EU immigration law and national criminal law: the case of the Return Directive

Niovi Vavoula


This chapter examines the relationship between EU immigration law and national criminal law. By focusing on the jurisprudence of the Luxembourg Court on the Return Directive, it analyses three seminal judgments, El Dridi, Achughbabian and Sagor, and explores the reactions at the national level in the aftermath of their release. The examination of these cases reveals the important limits placed by the Court to Member States’ power to impose criminal sanctions (both custodial and financial) on third-country nationals for their breaches of domestic immigration law provisions. On the basis of the case law, while the return process is ongoing in Member States an irregular migrant may not be placed into custody, as this is liable to jeopardize the attainment of the Directive. Even after such process has failed, a custodial sentence may only be imposed if the failure of the return procedure may be pinned down on them.

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