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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Exchange of information on criminal records between EU countries

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Exchange of information on criminal records between EU countries

 

SUMMARY OF:

Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA —– the exchange between EU countries of information extracted from criminal records

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE FRAMEWORK DECISION?

  • It sets out the general principles for the functioning of the exchange of criminal records between EU countries, alongside Council Decision 2009/316/JHA, which established the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).
  • It seeks to prevent criminals from escaping their past by moving to a different EU country from that in which they were convicted. It does this by ensuring that information on all their convictions is available when needed, irrespective of the EU country in which they were convicted.

KEY POINTS

Objectives

The objectives of the framework decision are to:

  • set an obligation for an EU country convicting a national of another EU country to transmit information on such conviction to the country of his nationality;
  • define the obligations of the EU country of which the person is a national to store the received information on convictions as well as the procedures which that EU country is to follow when replying to requests for information about its nationals;
  • establish a set of rules for the development of a computerised system of exchange of information on convictions.

Designation of authorities

EU countries must designate central authorities to carry out the tasks related to the exchange of information.

Registration of convictions and storage of information

A convicting EU country must register the nationality(ies) of the person convicted and notify the EU country(ies) of his/her nationality about details of the conviction, including information on:

  • the convicted person;
  • the nature and content of the conviction; and
  • the offence that led to the conviction.

The EU country of which the convicted person is a national must store information sent to it in order to reply to requests for information on convictions of its nationals. The reply should:

  • include information on convictions on its territory, in other EU countries and non-EU countries and
  • be done within 10 working days, or 20 if the request was made by a person concerning their own criminal record.

Exchanges of information

  • The information can be exchanged for the purpose of criminal proceedings or for any other purposes, e.g. pre-employment screenings. While the replies to requests for the purpose of criminal proceedings are obligatory, those for other purposes should be done in accordance with national law.
  • When a central authority of an EU country receives a request for information from any relevant national authority, it may in turn ask for information from another EU country, in particular from the country of nationality of the person concerned.
  • When a central authority of an EU country receives a request from a national of another EU country regarding their own criminal record, it must ask for information from the EU country of his/her nationality and include them in the issued certificate.

United Kingdom participation

On the basis of its right provided by Protocol 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the United Kingdom decided to opt back in to continue to participate in ECRIS as of 1 December 2014. This was confirmed by Commission Decision 2014/858/EU.

Implementation

  • A report published in 2016 by the European Commission describes the implementation of the framework decision in EU countries. Overall, it notes that significant progress has been made in the exchange of criminal records information between EU countries.
  • 22 EU countries have notified the European Commission of the measures they have taken to incorporate the framework decision into their national law. 5 of the 6 countries that have not notified the Commission of their measures do exchange criminal record information via ECRIS.
  • In some cases, certain aspects of the framework decision have not been correctly or fully incorporated into national laws and the Commission calls on the need to take urgent action.

FROM WHEN DOES THE FRAMEWORK DECISION APPLY?

It has applied since 27 April 2009. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 27 April 2012.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Council Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA of 26 February 2009 on the organisation and content of the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record between Member States (OJ L 93, 7.4.2009, pp. 23-32)

RELATED ACTS

Council Decision 2009/316/JHA of 6 April 2009 on the establishment of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) in application of Article 11 of Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA (OJ L 93, 7.4.2009, pp. 33-48)

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 (OJ L 345, 1.12.2014, pp. 6-9)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA of 26 February 2009 on the organisation and content of the exchange of information extracted from criminal record between Member States (COM(2016) 6 final, 19.1.2016)

last update 10.01.2017

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