The UK is considered by many to have been one of the leading states in shaping early EU policy in the area of criminal justice and policing, particularly in relation to measures aimed at improving access to justice in a criminal context, both on the side of guarantees for the accused and protection for victims.

With the aim of facilitating mutual recognition of judgments and judicial decisions and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters having a cross-border dimension, the EU may establish minimum rules concerning:

  • mutual admissibility of evidence between Member States;
  • the rights of individuals in criminal procedure;
  • the rights of victims of crime;

The main instruments on criminal cooperation which the UK participates in are:

  • The 2000 Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters facilitates mutual judicial assistance between the authorities of the Member States (police, customs and courts) in order to improve the speed and efficiency of judicial cooperation and contains detail on how requests for assistance are dealt with.
    • Directive 2010/46/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in the framework of criminal proceedings
    • Directive 2012/13/EU on the right to information in criminal proceedings
    • Directive 2012/29/EU on establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime
    • Council Framework of 27 November 2008 2008/909/JHA on the application of the principle of mutual recognition of judgements in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty for the purpose of their enforcement in the European Union
  • The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is an arrest warrant valid throughout all Member States of the European Union. Once issued, it requires another Member State to arrest and transfer a criminal suspect or sentenced person to the issuing state so that the person can be put on trial or complete a detention period.
  • The European Investigation Order (EIO) is a judicial decision which has been issued or validated by a judicial authority of a Member State to have one or several specific investigative measure(s) carried out in another Member State.

Policy adviser

Rita Giannini