Comparative European Study on Restrictions and Disenfranchisement of Certain Civil and Political Rights After Conviction

Comparative European Study on Restrictions and Disenfranchisement of Certain Civil and Political Rights After Conviction

Joint cooperation project with Aristotle University Thessaloniki

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 (2022); journal articles and conference presentations (2020–2022)
Research focus: 2. Trends: In­ter­na­tio­na­li­za­ti­on, Di­gi­ta­li­za­ti­on, and Frag­men­ta­ti­on
Project language: English
Photo: © Michael Kilchling



Kilchling, M. (2018). Restrictions of Certain Civil and Political Rights After Conviction in Germany. In E. Fitrakis (Ed.), Invisible Punishments. European Dimension – Greek Perspective (pp. 48–72). Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights; Hellenic Printing House.
Kilchling, M. (2021). Strafen über Strafen: Strafrechtliche und nichtstrafrechtliche Zusatzsanktionen in Deutschland. In R. Haverkamp, M. Kilchling, J. Kinzig, D. Oberwittler, & G. Wössner (Eds.), Unterwegs in Kriminologie und Strafrecht - Exploring the World of Crime and Criminology: Festschrift für Hans-Jörg Albrecht zum 70. Geburtstag (pp. 1075–1094) Kriminologische und sanktionenrechtliche Forschungen. doi:10.3790/978-3-428-58251-8


Introduction into a European Study on Restrictions and Disenfranchisement of Civil and Political Rights after Conviction

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