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Exchange of information on criminal records between EU countries

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 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 than where they were convicted. It does this by ensuring that information on all their convictions is available whenever needed, irrespective of the EU country they were convicted in.
  • It was amended in 2019 by Directive (EU) 2019/884, which regulates the exchange of information between EU countries on non-EU nationals and stateless persons and, along with Regulation (EU) 2019/816, ensures that ECRIS will be more effective with respect to non-EU country nationals convicted within the EU. Directive (EU) 2019/884 also will replace Decision 2009/316/JHA from 28 June 2022.

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 the conviction to the country of the person’s nationality;
  • define the obligations of the EU country of which the person is a national in storing the received information on convictions as well as the procedures that EU country must 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 and in any other countries; and
  • be done within 10 working days, or within 20 working days 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 legitimate purpose, 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 it in the issued certificate.
  • In 2017, the European Commission published a report on the exchange, through ECRIS, of information extracted from criminal records between EU countries.

Amending Directive (EU) 2019/884

The framework decision was amended in 2019 by Directive (EU) 2019/884, which aims to ensure the effective exchange of information on convictions of non-EU-country nationals (comprising also stateless persons and persons whose nationality is unknown) through ECRIS. The directive also ensures that ECRIS will be more effective with respect to non-EU-country nationals with prior convictions in an EU country. In addition, the directive:

  • obliges EU countries to ensure that convictions are accompanied by information on the nationality, or nationalities, of the convicted person, where this information is available;
  • introduces procedures to respond to requests for information;
  • ensures that a criminal record extract requested by a non-EU national is supplemented with information from other EU countries; and
  • lays down the technical modifications required to ensure the proper functioning of the information exchange system.

All data from criminal records must be stored exclusively in databases managed by the EU countries. The central authority of an EU country will not have direct access to the criminal records databases of the other EU countries.

The European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice is responsible for maintaining and further developing the ECRIS reference application.

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.
  • At the time of the report, 22 EU countries had notified the Commission of the measures they had taken to incorporate the framework decision into their national law. In the meantime, all EU countries have now notified the measures they have taken in this context.

FROM WHEN DOES THE FRAMEWORK DECISION APPLY?

  • The framework decision has applied since 27 April 2009. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 27 April 2012.
  • The changes introduced by amending Directive (EU) 2019/884 will apply in all EU countries as of 28 June 2022.

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)

Successive amendments to Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

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)

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)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council concerning the exchange through the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) of information extracted from criminal records between the Member States (COM(2017) 341 final, 29.6.2017)

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 09.09.2020

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