Jurisdiction in criminal proceedings: prevention and settlement of conflicts
This framework decision aims to improve judicial cooperation between European Union (EU) countries, so as to prevent unnecessary parallel criminal proceedings concerning the same facts and the same person. It has the potential to increase the efficient administration of criminal justice in cross-border cases by saving time and human and financial resources of the competent authorities in the proceedings.
Council Framework Decision 2009/948/JHA of 30 November 2009 on prevention and settlement of conflicts of exercise of jurisdiction in criminal proceedings.
It lays out the procedure whereby competent national authorities contact each other when they have reasonable grounds to believe that parallel proceedings are being conducted in another EU country. It also establishes the framework for these authorities to enter into direct consultations when parallel proceedings exist, in order to find a solution to avoid the negative consequences arising from these proceedings.
Exchange of information
If the competent authority of an EU country has reasonable grounds to believe that parallel proceedings are being conducted in another EU country, it must seek confirmation of the existence of such parallel proceedings from the competent authority of that country. The contacted authority must reply without undue delay or within the deadline set by the contacting authority.
With its request, the contacting authority must submit at least the following information:
contact details of the competent authority;
a description of the facts and circumstances concerning the criminal proceedings;
all relevant details about the suspected or accused person and possible victims;
the stage of the criminal proceedings;
where applicable, information concerning provisional detention or custody of the suspected or accused person.
In its response, the contacted authority must indicate whether criminal proceedings are or have been conducted in its country concerning some or all of the same facts and the same persons as those in the criminal proceedings in the country of the contacting authority. If this is the case, the contacted authority must also provide its contact details as well as the stage of the proceedings or the nature of the final decision.
If parallel proceedings exist, the relevant authorities must enter into direct consultation in order to find a solution aimed at avoiding the negative consequences arising from these proceedings. This may lead to the concentration of the proceedings in one EU country.
When the relevant authorities enter into direct consultation they must take into consideration all the facts and merits of the case and all other relevant factors. If no solution is found, the case is referred to Eurojust, if appropriate, and provided that it falls under its competence.
In 2014, the European Commission issued a report on how EU countries had implemented Framework Decision 2009/948/JHA. At the time it was published, only15 EU countries had introduced laws incorporating the act into their national legislation.
The Commission is concerned that a significant number of EU countries have still not implemented the framework decision, which denies them an important tool to resolve conflicts of jurisdiction where they arise. It thus urges all the countries that have not yet done so to take swift measures to implement it in full.
For more information, see Judicial cooperation on the European Commission’s website.
Framework Decision 2009/948/JHA
Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation by the Member States of Framework Decision 2009/948/JHA of 30 November 2009 on prevention and settlement of conflicts of exercise of jurisdiction in criminal proceedings (COM(2014) 313 final of 2.6.2014).
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