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FIDUCIA – New European Crimes and Trust-based Policy

In an effort to maintain security and prevent crime, European and national crime policy concentrates on the use of repressive strategies, with little regard for their cost, effectiveness and, at times, counter-productive nature. The EU’s FIDUCIA project is designed to assess whether a pan-European political shift away from such instrumental forms of compliance to a public trust (in Latin, “fiducia”) approach is possible and, indeed, desirable.


The idea behind the FIDUCIA project is that public trust in justice is important for social regulation; this is why it proposes a trust-based policy model in relation to emerging forms of criminality. Based on Procedural Justice Theory, the drivers of normative compliance (like legitimacy and trust in the fairness of the judicial system) are analyzed. As opposed to current European criminal policy, the FIDUCIA project focuses on why people obey the law, not on why people break the law.


The FIDUCIA project sheds light on a number of distinctively “new European” criminal behaviors (human trafficking, trafficking of goods, cybercrime, and the criminalization of migration and ethnic minorities) which have emerged over the last decade as a consequence of developments in technology, increased personal mobility, and the free movement of goods within the EU.


The case study “Trafficking of Goods” is led by the Max Planck Institute. It explores the legal, criminological, and sociological aspects that surround this topic. It describes the scale of illicit markets for trafficked goods, assesses the political, practical, and legal measures currently available to tackle trafficking, and analyzes the structure of illicit markets and the public’s attitude towards them. The case study provides conclusions as to whether criminal policy on the trafficking of goods should be changed.


Illicit markets are closely connected to a borderless common market, the latter being an important and much vaunted strength of the EU. Tackling the trafficking of goods is a major challenge for policy makers, law enforcement agencies, and (legal) product manufactures, because the trafficking of goods can cause enormous damages, including lost tax revenue, a distortion of competition, loss of income (on the legal job market), and dangers to people´s health (due to the consumption of illicit drugs or counterfeit medicine). Another problem is the widespread acceptance of several illicit markets (for example, alcohol and tobacco) and, therewith, a missing sense of guilt for a threat to the rule of law. Against this backdrop, the FIDUCIA project questions whether a strengthening of control activities is really able to regulate the informal economy or whether public acceptance of legal rules and the legitimacy of judicial institutions could lead to improved compliance with the law.


The FIDUCIA consortium contains 13 research institutes led by the University of Parma. The project is co-funded by the EU through the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development.


Project Web page [MPICC]


Project Web page [EU]


Latest Publication


Current Issues in IT Security 2012

The conference series "Current issues in IT Security" [2012 | 2010] brings together researchers and practitioners from various disciplines at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, Germany. IT professionals, lawyers, law enforcement and intelligence officers, judges, prosecutors, forensic specialists, and psychologists all contribute their special expertise to the discussion on contemporary security issues.

This volume of conference proceedings provides an insight into fourteen of the topics that were discussed during the two-day conference in 2012. It highlights the importance of an Interdisciplinary approach to security-related issues, especially in the field of IT security, forensic sciences, and cybercrime.



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  • Last update: 15 April 2014
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