The European Union and the Council of Europe meet the new challenges of globalization with rules that strongly influence national criminal law, criminal procedure, and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. This has led to a confusing body of regulations that has in many cases become inscrutable for lawyers. Hence, the goal of the project is a systematization and presentation of European and Europeanized criminal law for future research projects and for practitioners.

European law has a ma­jor in­flu­ence on na­tion­al crim­in­al law and crim­in­al pro­ced­ure as well as on mu­tu­al leg­al as­sist­ance in crim­in­al mat­ters. Most of these European re­quire­ments were es­tab­lished with­in the frame­work of the European Uni­on and the Coun­cil of Europe. The body of reg­u­la­tions is com­plex and con­fus­ing, and it is very dif­fi­cult for leg­al aca­dem­ics and prac­ti­tion­ers to gain an over­view of European crim­in­al law.

Sanc­tion­ing pro­vi­sions and re­quire­ments for the ap­prox­im­a­tion of sub­stant­ive crim­in­al law are found at the supra­na­tion­al level in European Com­munity law (Treaty Es­tab­lish­ing the European Com­munity, reg­u­la­tions, and guidelines) as well as at the in­ter­gov­ern­ment­al level in European Uni­on law (Treaty on European Uni­on, frame­work de­cisions, and con­ven­tions). Fur­ther­more, the body of reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing the transna­tion­al col­lab­or­a­tion of law en­force­ment agen­cies, fash­ioned by nu­mer­ous leg­al in­stru­ments of the EU and by con­ven­tions of the Coun­cil of Europe, is be­wil­der­ing. To date, at­tempts to sys­tem­at­ize the leg­al bases of the crim­in­al law of the European Com­munity, the Uni­on, and in­ter­na­tion­al law have not been per­suas­ive. A de­tailed and com­pre­hens­ive dis­cus­sion of European reg­u­la­tions is lack­ing.

Hence, the goal of this pro­ject is to cre­ate a schol­arly clas­si­fic­a­tion of European crim­in­al law and to ex­plain the sys­tem and leg­al bases by means of a thor­ough, all-in­clus­ive present­a­tion. It is hoped that this present­a­tion, which is cre­ated with the in­ten­tion of fa­cil­it­at­ing the ac­cess­ib­il­ity of this com­plex leg­al area, will prove to be use­ful to both aca­dem­ics and prac­ti­tion­ers.

The fol­low­ing as­pects of European crim­in­al law are dif­fer­en­ti­ated and presen­ted: (1) European treat­ies and con­ven­tions; (2) the law of supra­na­tion­al sanc­tions and pro­ced­ure; (3) har­mon­iz­a­tion of na­tion­al (sub­stant­ive) crim­in­al law; (4) co­oper­a­tion in crim­in­al mat­ters; and (5) ba­sic rights, leg­al pro­tec­tion, and crim­in­al de­fense. The enu­mer­ated areas will in­clude an ana­lys­is of and com­ment­ary on the in­di­vidu­al norms of the European Com­munit­ies, the European Uni­on, and the Coun­cil of Europe that are rel­ev­ant to crim­in­al law. The le­gis­lat­ive im­ple­ment­a­tion of these norms in the EU Mem­ber States, es­pe­cially in Ger­many and Aus­tria, will like­wise be stud­ied. In ad­di­tion, case law and lit­er­at­ure will be as­sessed and, on this basis, in­di­vidu­al prob­lem areas will be scru­tin­ized. One such area, namely, the com­pet­ence of the European Com­munity with re­gard to the har­mon­iz­a­tion of crim­in­al law, will be ex­amined on the basis of re­cent de­cisions of the European Court of Justice that ad­dress the ques­tion of wheth­er the European Com­munity has the au­thor­ity to is­sue crim­in­al law re­quire­ments re­gard­ing the sanc­tion­ing of activ­it­ies that dam­age the en­vir­on­ment.

This com­pre­hens­ive present­a­tion was pub­lished jointly by C.H. Beck and Nom­os in 2011.; the second edi­tion in 2014. It was is­sued by the Max Planck In­sti­tute for For­eign and In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Law un­der the stew­ard­ship of Prof. Dr. Ul­rich Sieber in col­lab­or­a­tion with † Franz-Her­mann Brün­er (Gen­er­al Dir­ect­or of the European Anti-Fraud Of­fice), Prof. Dr. Bernd von Heintschel-Heinegg (law­yer, Uni­versity of Re­gens­burg), and Prof. Dr. Helmut Satzger (Or­din­ari­us at the Lud­wig Max­imili­an Uni­versity of Mu­nich). In ad­di­tion to In­sti­tute staff, con­trib­ut­ors to the book in­clude renowned Ger­man uni­versity pro­fess­ors as well as prac­ti­tion­ers from Ger­man law en­force­ment agen­cies and EU in­sti­tu­tions. The In­sti­tute is re­spons­ible for edit­ing and co­ordin­at­ing the circa 60 con­tri­bu­tions.