The House of Lords EU Justice and Institutions Sub-Committee has invited contributions to a new inquiry into EU criminal procedure.
Following the increase in EU criminal law powers in the Lisbon Treaty, the European Commission is building on existing legislation in the field, such as the European Arrest Warrant, to develop an EU approach to criminal procedure as part of a “coherent and consistent EU criminal policy”. It draws support from a recent study based on its research indicating that EU citizens believe that the fight against crime is an important area for EU action.
The Committee will ask whether an EU system of criminal procedural law is desirable, and what effects the proposed developments are likely to have on British citizens.
It will examine questions such as:
- whether the EU’s proposals take sufficient account of the UK’s and other Member States’ own judicial and criminal processes;
- whether there are practical benefits for UK and EU citizens and authorities;
- whether the UK would be affected, given the fact that it would need to ‘opt-in’ to such legislation;
- the effect of the legislation on processes such as pre-trial procedure, European Arrest Warrants, and the rights of defendants;
- whether EU instruments protect the rights of those involved in criminal proceedings above and beyond existing safeguards in the European Convention on Human Rights, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and other multilateral and bilateral agreements.
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