EU Criminal Justice

Course Description: 

The course consists of fourteen class hours dedicated to providing a thorough and practical introduction into European Union criminal justice. The course is offered to comparative constitutional law and human rights law students. The course is embedded in the general framework of the balance drawn between human rights and civil liberties on the one hand and public order, public security, crime prevention and prosecution on the other. The course will demonstrate the shift away from national criminal sovereignty and the gradual move towards the intergovernmental method in the area of EU criminal justice. Students will be introduced into the initial steps taken under the headings ‘Justice and Home Affairs’ and later ‘Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters’, i.e. under the former third pillar of the European Union. Title IV of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union currently in force will be addressed in more detail. Relevant parts of the Tampere, Hague and Stockholm multi-annual programs, and the Action Plan implementing the last will be singled out. Institutional actors in the area of criminal justice, and the strengthened role of the European Parliament will be presented before discussing the merits of police cooperation, judicial cooperation, external cooperation in criminal justice (with an emphasis on EU-US counter-terrorism co-operation), mutual recognition (including a discussion on the European Arrest Warrant), the principle of availability (including the Prüm Treaty and implementing legislation) and substantive criminal law. Leading cases of the Court of Justice of the European Union will highlight the main issues in the development of EU criminal justice.
The course is offered only to those students who passed Introduction to EU Constitutional Law or the pre-test.

Learning Outcomes: 

1. Ability to demonstrate substantial in-depth knowledge of criminal cooperation between Member States and the operation of the EU criminal justice system including primary and secondary sources of EU law;

2. Ability to identify and delineate EU and Member State competences in the field;

3. Ability to identify constitutionally relevant aspects of the creation of an EU criminal justice system;

4. Ability to use cases in legal reasoning at an advanced level; and

5. Ability to illustrate legal problems with Luxembourg and Strasbourg cases.


The final grade is based on a written take-home assignment [20%], in-class participation [20%;] and a closed-book, in-class final exam.


Introduction to EU Constitutional Law