LLM European Criminal Law and Justice

Student studying lecture notesModule leader: Dr Marianne Wade

Module description:

With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Union is firmly on the map as an actor in the criminal justice arena. Not only does the Treaty – for the first time – provide the Union with a treaty basis to demand the use of criminal law to protect its financial interests, it is also infused with measures to factually strengthen, or indeed even create, EU criminal justice institutions who are likely to increasingly and deeply influence criminal justice proceedings at many levels in all member states. This module will provide students with a comprehensive and systematic understanding of the Union as a forum for criminal justice as well as a force to be reckoned with. 

The module will explore the current position of the EU in relation to criminal justice issues, as well as the theoretical and practical implications of developments so far. This involves analysing the EU’s development from a loose forum for criminal justice co-operation to the current institutional setting with own agencies poised to become ever more influential. It also requires an examination of EU policy areas in which the Commission now enforces law via punitive methods akin to criminal justice. Furthermore the status of the EU as a potential victim of crimes (particularly against its financial interests) as well as a level of governance arguably bearing responsibility for serious crimes it facilitates (such as trafficking human beings) will be explored.

Seminar topics: 

  • European institutionalisation of criminal justice (Europol, Eurojust, the potential European public prosecutor, etc)
  • Police co-operation in the EU and judicial co-operation in the EU
  • The Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and specific procedural measures (arrest warrant, evidence order etc)
  • The reach of punitive sanctions within the EU (esp. cartel proceedings)
  • The European Union as victim and facilitator of crime
  • EuroCrimes (trafficking human beings, drug smuggling, terrorism etc)
  • EU criminal justice and problems (lack of proportionality, lack of balance – i.e. provision for defence)
  • Human rights and an EU criminal justice system

Methods of assessment

Modules on the LLM programmes will be assessed in one of the following ways. As this website is set up in advance, it is not possible to specify which method of assessment will be implemented for each module.


  • One 6000 word essay


  • One 3-hour written examination

If you'd like to find out how a module will be assessed in the forthcoming academic year please contact the LLM Programmes Administrator at Law-LLM@contacts.bham.ac.uk.



Modules and Courses are constantly updated and under review. As with most academic programmes, please remember that it is possible that a module may not be offered in any particular year, for instance because a member of staff is on study leave or too few students opt for it. The University of Birmingham reserves the right to vary or withdraw any course or module.