Research Assistant at the Institute of Criminal Law & Criminology
The report was originally published on the webpage of the University of Leiden and is re-posted here with the approval of its author and conference organisers.
Leiden Law School had the honor to hold with great success the interdisciplinary conference on ‘EU Criminal Justice Policy and Practice – Reflections and Prospects’ that gathered renowned academics, young scholars and practitioners from all over Europe. During the two days of the Conference, which was organized by Jannemieke Ouwerkerk and Judit Altena, Leiden Law School was the forum of sparkling dialogues and fruitful discussions that covered a great variety of subjects in the field of European criminal justice policies.
The Conference was opened by our Dean Joanne van der Leun, who stressed out the need for a closer collaboration between criminal law and criminology in order to enhance the efficiency of criminal policies. Subsequently, stimulating contributions during the first plenary session addressed the topic of the legislating process in the field of EU criminal law. In particular, the invited speakers Dennis de Jong, Hans G. Nilsson and Thomas Elholm raised important issues that vary from the need for an inter-institutional agreement on the principles of European criminal legislation to the relation between European criminal legislation and increased repression as well as the prospects for decriminalization. The plenary session was followed by a Q&A round, where crucial thoughts and questions were addressed to the speakers.
The main part of the Conference was filled with a series of parallel panel sessions, where a broad spectrum of subjects was covered. Indeed, the discussions were ranging from the need for evidence-based law-making to criminalization principles and the limits to criminalization, the effectiveness of EU criminal law as well the European policy on sanctions. In particular, Valsamis Mitsilegas referred to the potential routes towards decriminalization, especially with regards to the effectiveness of EU criminal law, while Pim Geelhoed argued for a rather innovative cognitive approach on the criminalization of PIF offences. Respectively, an interesting view on the harmonization of legal interests was offered by Jeroen ten Voorde and Tineke Cleiren, while other stimulating contributions varied from the legitimacy of European criminal law to the breaches of sales contracts as well as the issue of food fraud within the EU. Undoubtedly, the great variety of topics captured the entire discussion around EU criminal justice policies and provided the attendees with valuable input for further reflection. To this end, the interaction in panels between invited senior scholars and early-career scholars, who were given the opportunity to present and support their ideas, led to vivid discussions.
The Conference was concluded by a second plenary session on the future of EU criminal justice policies, where two significant speeches from Nick Tilley and Nina Peršak were delivered. In particular, the former raised the need for a realistic approach for crime prevention purposes, while the latter argued for the philosophical underpinnings of EU criminal law as well as its prospects. Finally, on behalf of the organizers, Jannemieke Ouwerkerk thanked the participants for their intriguing contributions. In brief, it can be claimed with certainty that the Conference provided a great opportunity for significant contributions that will enrich the academic discussions on European criminal justice policies. Hopefully, it may equally trigger any future developments in the field.