This comparative European study identifies and analyses the rules governing abrogation or temporary restrictions on civil and political rights imposed with criminal penalties. Historically, these restrictions originated with honour-related punishments common in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. By stigmatizing character, they excluded deviant individuals from full social participation. In some form or another these sanctions remain, in recent years regaining significance in the context of preventative criminal law. Importantly, none of these issues have been subject to systematic analysis. This international comparative study is an important step towards closing this scholarly gap.
Preliminary results confirm many noteworthy differences, including the type and legal character of measures and conditions for imposition. For instance, their purpose can be punitive or preventive, administrative, or 'sui generis'. Even soft law and informal ethical rules can have impact. Relevant non-penal regulations include electoral rules, family law, immigration law, or business and labor law. Besides barring public positions, access to private businesses may be denied, or business permits revoked. Jobs in private security businesses, banks, accounting and bookkeeping, medical services and other sectors cannot be practiced by former offenders or specified ex-offenders. In some jurisdictions they cannot get a license to run a bar or a restaurant, or work as a waiter or taxi driver. Sometimes courts or competent authorities have discretion, sometimes not. Consequences can also be automatic. Licenses to possess guns, to hunt or hold animals often depend on clean records, not to mention withdrawing a driving license, which can have the greatest impact in many countries.
From a public security law standpoint, this project engages two issues central to the Department’s research agenda. First, the normative shift from penal to public, private and commercial contexts shows increasing fragmentation of security-related regulation. Second, the pertinent regulations touch on fundamental individual rights, proportionality being a key issue to resolve. Finally, the project’s main classificatory and comparative methods reflect its two parts. First, a description of the regulatory framework. Second, a comparative sectoral analysis followed by general conclusions.
Research outcome: comprehensive research report (2020); journal articles and conference presentations (2020–2021).