Criminal Law Responsibility and Guaranties in the EU Common Legal Area

Date01 December 2017
AuthorRosaria Sicurella
Publication Date01 December 2017
Criminal Law Responsibility
and Guaranties in the EU
Common Legal Area
Rosaria Sicurella
European Criminal and International Criminal Law, University of Catania, Italy
Basic idea
Despite the significant acquis and many legal instruments adopted so far at the European Union
(EU) level, the actual situation of judicial cooperation in criminal matters – as showed in annual
reports of the Commission – is far from being fully satisfactory.
Judicial cooperation in criminal matters has still to face too many obstacles, and especially the
persistent lack of trust and common understanding among practitioners, which reveal the lack of
full awareness of common legal ground alr eady in place. As a result, judicial coop eration in
criminal matters is still not working smoothly.
A true European approach in the definition of contents and methodology of training of all legal
practitioners in this field is needed in order to develop the idea of an existing common legal
environment among Member States, to be fully implemented and improved. Not only general
issues but also specific practical matters have to be dealt with a European perspective and follow-
ing an approach showing the existence of a common legal understanding, even when such issues
arise only in some Member States’ legal order.
The protection of the European Union’s financial interest (PIF) sector is one of the core sectors
of EU, and it is to be considered as the ‘avant-garde’ of EU initiatives in criminal matters. Then, it
can be dealt with as a pilot sector.
A. Guidelines
1. Aim of the training curriculum
Reshaping judicial training in criminal law matters from an ius commune perspective.
2. General Methodology
Training contents are organized by (a) starting from what all Member Stat es have already in
common, either as a consequence of implementing procedures of EU legal texts and the compli-
ance with jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and of the European Court of
Human Rights (ECtHR), or as already existing common legal traditions; (b) and then approaching
specific/controversial issues of single Member States’ legal systems as peculiar issues (conflicting
or not conflicting with common features).
New Journal of European Criminal Law
2017, Vol. 8(4) 513–524
ªThe Author(s) 2017
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/2032284417745228
3. Capacities
Trainees/participants are expected to:
what a ‘common legal area’ means and implies,
the functioning of the EU integrated system of legal orders,
institutional EU framework and competences and its interconnection with national
authorities’ ones,
EU legal order dynamics and their impact on Member States’ systems of criminal
justice, and
the reason behind the impact of EU law on national systems of criminal justice, id est to
protect fundamental EU interests (since Member States are under an obligation to
provide such a protection to be effective and adequate and refrain from adopting mea-
sures that could create obstacles to EU integration process);
be prepared to deal with:
transnational cases and
national cases, anyway affected by EU law.
In promoting the curriculum, training agencies have to stress the current situation where cases
increasingly involve conducts realized in more than one Member State and then require appropriate
knowledge of EU law, of the main instruments of judicial cooperation and also basic knowledge of
other legal systems. Moreover, the point should be stressed of the importance to know about tools
offeredby EU law to all practitioners,depending on theirrespective role. The currentsituation is also to
be stressed of cases consisting in ‘merely’ internal affairs, since they do not involve other Member
States, but that are nevertheless affected by EU law: facingthese cases needs awareness about tools
offered by EU law.
4. Trainers
Academics and practitioners in criminal law having an international profile. This characteristic is an
essential aspect. The innovation of the module relies essentially on the approach suggested and it
requires, then, that trainers share the EU perspective/approach embraced by the curriculum.
Trainers must be experienced especially with respect to the need to link the EU principles with
practical issues of the interests for practitioners.
5. Audience
Legal practitioner s (mainly judges and pro secutors, and defenc e lawyers). The training curriculum
proposed is composed of some common compulsory contents to be developed by competent
training authorities that enjoy a great room for discretion in doing so. As a matter of the fact, they
might want to further tailor the curriculum proposed in order to fit with possible different cate-
gories of practitioners.
Following the approach of the project, it would be highly desirable to implement the proposed
curriculum by considering th e possibility that at least part o f the training will have a mixed
audience. This could be very useful in order to create the opportunity for different perspectives
to be showed with respect to the same case/topic and consequently exchange experiences.
514 New Journal of European Criminal Law 8(4)
No specific distinction was made between junior/senior judges/prosecutors. The reason behind
this choice is again the possibility for training national authorities, when implementing the curri-
culum, to tailor it according to the different category they are addressing.
6. Different uses of the Curriculum
The proposed training curriculum is conceived as to be implemented by national or European
training agencies.
a) By national training authorities:
initial training, delivered before or on taking up duties and
continuous training, delivered after taking up duties.
The training proposed is conceived as a model for initial training: the audience should
have – as basic preconditions – (i) a law degree (or others, as long as with EU basic courses)
and (ii) have passed EU and criminal law exams.
It is up to the national authorities to use the curriculum also for continuous training:In
this case, training will have to be differentiated for each category (judges/prosecutors and/or
barristers). Moreover, national authorities will have to take care of the distinction between
experienced judges/barristers (with knowledge of EU law) and senior judges/barristers who
could not have a basic understanding of EU law. In the latter case, the proposed contents
have to be tailored/integrated with general/basic knowledge of EU law which are not
covered by the proposed training modules.
b) By European training agencies:
cross-border training by European training entities and
Exchange Programme for Judicial Authorities (European Judicial Training Network
– EJTN).
In case the curriculum is implemented by a European training agency, an integration of
the programme will be necessary with respect to the second part of each module which must
be devoted to the comparative dimension of the principle and a panorama of solutions in the
main Member States’ legal orders.
7. Curriculum’s structure and contents
Nine modules (one introductory module, plus seven principle-based modules, plus one special part module).
The proposed curriculum is based on the idea of a ‘principles-based training’.
The introductory module covers the main EU general principles having an impact on criminal
law and it aims to give a general overview of the main dynamics of EU law. The principles-based
modules cover the main EU criminal law principles. A special part module is devoted to PIF
offences (the pilot sector of the action).
Topics concerning PIF offences and competent institutions are presented in the introductory
module and also developed as transversal issues in the principles-based modules, as a subject
matter of basic seminars or workshops.
It is up to national authorities to integrate the proposed curriculum with further special part
modules dealing with offences/criminal phenomena other than PIF offences. These additional
modules have to be organized following the structure and methodology proposed.
Each proposed module indicates minimum (compulsory) contents of basic seminars. Workshops
are compulsory too, but training authorities enjoy a broader discretion in defining their contents.
Training Curriculum 515

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