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Convictions in other countries count in new criminal proceedings

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Convictions in other countries count in new criminal proceedings

An EU country should attach equivalent weight to convictions handed down in other EU countries as to those handed down by its own courts.

ACT

Council Framework Decision 2008/675/JHA of 24 July 2008 on taking account of convictions in the Member States of the European Union in the course of new criminal proceedings.

SUMMARY

An EU country should attach equivalent weight to convictions handed down in other EU countries as to those handed down by its own courts.

WHAT DOES THE FRAMEWORK DECISION DO?

This framework decision establishes the criteria whereby previous convictions handed down in one EU country are taken into account during criminal proceedings in another EU country against the same person, but for different facts.

KEY POINTS

In the context of new criminal proceedings, EU countries must ensure that previous convictions handed down in another EU country are taken into consideration under the same conditions as domestic previous convictions.

These previous convictions are to be taken into account at the pre-trial and trial stage, as well as when the sentence is executed. They should be given due consideration especially in relation to the applicable rules of procedure concerning:

provisional detention;

definition of the offence;

type and level of the sentence;

rules governing the execution of the decision.

Where previous convictions are taken into consideration by the EU country conducting the new proceedings, this must not have the effect of interfering with, revoking or reviewing the previous convictions.

The effect of the framework directive may also be limited if the offence, for which the new proceedings are being conducted, was committed before the previous conviction had been handed down or fully executed. EU countries do not have to apply their national rules on imposing sentences where the application of those rules to foreign convictions would limit the judge in imposing a sentence in the new proceedings. Nevertheless, courts must ensure that they take such previous convictions into consideration for other purposes.

A 2014 report on the implementation of the framework decision noted its added value in promoting trust in criminal law and judicial decisions in the European area of justice. However, amongst the EU countries that had implemented the decision, it found considerable differences in compliance. Thirteen of 22 EU countries were considered to have satisfactory implementing provisions.

On 1 December 2014, the United Kingdom notified the Commission that it wished to participate in the framework decision. This was confirmed by Commission Decision 2014/858/EU.

BACKGROUND

A computerised system, the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) was established in 2012 by Council Decision 2009/316/JHA. It allows EU countries to quickly and easily exchange information on criminal convictions. The ECRIS ensures the practical operability of this framework decision.

For more information, see European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) on the European Commission’s website.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Council Framework Decision 2008/675/JHA

15.8.2008

15.8.2010

OJ L 220 of 15.8.2008, pp. 32-34

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation by the Member States of Framework Decision 2008/675/JHA of 24 July 2008 on taking into account of convictions in the Member States of the European Union in the course of new criminal proceedings (COM(2014) 312 final of 2.6.2014).

Commission Decision 2014/858/EU of 1 December 2014 on the notification by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of its wish to participate in acts of the Union in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters adopted before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and which are not part of the Schengen acquis (Official Journal L 345 of 1.12.2014, pp. 6-9).

Last updated: 10.06.2015

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