Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2014
On 12 February 2014 Dr Marianne Wade addressed the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament on "Developing a Criminal Justice Area in the European Union." Dr Wade has been asked to report to the committee on her funded study of the same name - carried out within the auspices of the University of Birmingham's Institute of Judicial Administration - in order to inform the Committee in its deliberations of EU criminal justice related developments.
The study is a comparative examination of key issues such as definitions of serious crime, central defence rights and detention conditions in the 30 member state jurisdictions of the EU. It also addresses the rights of defendants and victims to participate actively in criminal procedures. The core conclusion reached is that criminal justice is achieved in such diverse ways in the member states that an autonomous EU position must be reached if an EU criminal justice area is to be developed. Firstly the legitimate reach of any EU criminal justice system must be determined. The study then highlights that an EU order oriented towards the highest standards of protection and participation will ensure the least disappointment and disillusion of citizens affected by EU criminal justice mechanisms. Fundamentally a conception of EU criminal justice as serving EU citizens and thus constitutional rights holders - be they victim, witness or defendant - is highlighted as necessary.
In the post-Lisbon Treaty EU, the European Parliament is co-legislator. With this study Dr Wade hopes to make a contribution to its development of criteria by which to scrutinise and to develop criminal justice related legislation at the EU level.