Monday, 2 August 2010
The ever expanding influence of the EU in criminal matters
From 15th August 2010, in English criminal proceedings, account will be taken of convictions in other EU Member States in a similar way to how domestic convictions are taken into account. This comes about because the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 s.144 and Schedule 17 is implemented from that date - (see Commencement Order No.5). This will have far-reaching implications. For example, in sentencing a person, the court will be able to treat EU convictions as an aggravating factor. Also, it will usually be possible to adduce EU convictions as evidence of bad character.
The UK is bound to implement this under EU Council Framework Decision 2008/675/JHA and 15th August was the latest date for implementation (see Article 5 of the Framework Decision). A Ministry of Justice Circular (2010/2) offers more detailed explanation and explains that the new law generally only applies to EU convictions imposed on or after 15th August 2010.