Help Print this page 
Title and reference
Exchange of information on criminal records between EU countries

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Multilingual display
Text

Exchange of information on criminal records between EU countries

In 2009, European Union countries took a decision to introduce a system to exchange information on criminal records with one another. This was with a view to preventing criminals escaping their past by moving to a different EU country from that in which they were convicted.

ACT

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.

SUMMARY

In 2009, European Union countries took a decision to introduce a system to exchange information on criminal records with one another. This was with a view to preventing criminals escaping their past by moving to a different EU country from that in which they were convicted.

WHAT DOES THE FRAMEWORK DECISION DO?

It sets out the general principles for the functioning of the system alongside Council Decision 2009/316/JHA, which established the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).

KEY POINTS

The objectives of the framework decision are to:

define how an EU country transmits information on the conviction of a national of another EU country to that country;

define the obligations of the EU country of which the person is a national to store 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 framework for the development of a computerised system of exchange of information on convictions.

EU countries are required to designate central authorities to carry out the tasks related to the exchange 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 any conviction that person has in its criminal records. Those details include:

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.

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 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.

Most EU countries have implemented the system by now. 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.

For more information see the European Commission’s webpage on the European Criminal Records Information System.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA

27.4.2009

27.4.2012

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 (Official Journal 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 (Official Journal L 345, 1.12.2014, pp. 6-9).

Last updated: 10.06.2015

Top