The application of traditional criminal procedure is limited to national territory. In the prosecution of transnational crime, serious practical problems emerge due to this limitation. This English-language study offers both practitioners and scholars of comparative criminal law an up-to-date and clear presentation of the law of criminal procedure in a representative selection of EU Member States.

The ap­plic­a­tion of tra­di­tion­al crim­in­al pro­ced­ure is lim­ited to na­tion­al ter­rit­ory. In the case of transna­tion­al crime, ser­i­ous prac­tic­al prob­lems emerge due to this lim­it­a­tion be­cause ac­cess to the rules of crim­in­al pro­ced­ure in oth­er European coun­tries, which is ne­ces­sary for the pro­sec­u­tion of such of­fenses, of­ten can­not be as­sured.

This pro­ject fo­cuses on the ba­sic prin­ciples and cur­rent de­vel­op­ments in the crim­in­al pro­ced­ure sys­tems of six European coun­tries (Eng­land and Wales, France, Ger­many, the Neth­er­lands, Slov­e­nia, and Spain) as re­flec­ted in le­gis­la­tion, case law, and prac­tice. Fol­low­ing a com­mon out­line, the most im­port­ant areas of crim­in­al pro­ced­ure are presen­ted in Eng­lish, and na­tion­al char­ac­ter­ist­ics and ma­ter­i­al fo­cuses are dis­tilled. The ex­tent to which the case law of the European Court of Hu­man Rights and the pre­scrip­tions of the European Uni­on are re­flec­ted in na­tion­al le­gis­la­tion is also ex­plored.

The primary goal of this study is to of­fer both prac­ti­tion­ers and schol­ars of com­par­at­ive crim­in­al law an up-to-date and clear present­a­tion of the law of crim­in­al pro­ced­ure of sev­er­al EU Mem­ber States in a pre­val­ent lan­guage. Transna­tion­al crim­in­al pro­sec­u­tion is cred­ible only if car­ried out on the basis of know­ledge of for­eign pro­ced­ur­al rules and con­ven­tions. In the ab­sence of a uni­form European pro­ced­ur­al sys­tem, the in­stru­ments of the EU pre­sup­pose a fall­back to na­tion­al law.

At the same time, the pro­ject serves to pro­mote com­par­at­ive law schol­ar­ship. In a hec­tic re­form pro­cess triggered by the mod­ern mani­fest­a­tions and ex­tent of crime, a trans­form­a­tion of the crim­in­al justice sys­tem – prob­ably the most com­pre­hens­ive since the French re­volu­tion – is cur­rently tak­ing place. For the ana­lys­is and as­sess­ment of this re­form phase, the book aims to ap­praise this pro­cess. In that ma­ter­i­al for fur­ther com­par­is­on of law is made avail­able, the dif­fer­ing forms of the crim­in­al pro­cess in the vari­ous justice sys­tems can be ex­amined, in­di­vidu­al is­sues can be ex­plored in depth, and the re­ac­tion to supra­na­tion­al re­quire­ments can be as­sessed. This is ac­com­plished on the basis of coun­try re­ports on vari­ous types of pro­ced­ure (ad­versari­al/in­quis­it­ori­al).

The pro­ject meth­od­o­logy, with its coun­try re­ports, fol­lows the tra­di­tion­al ap­proach to leg­al com­par­is­on. With Eng­land, a typ­ic­ally ad­versari­al party pro­cess was se­lec­ted to com­pare with the con­tin­ent­al pro­ced­ur­al sys­tems; the in­clu­sion of Slov­e­nia re­flec­ted the need to por­tray a re­formed leg­al sys­tem from be­hind the former iron cur­tain. Span­ish and French pro­ced­ur­al law are still re­l­at­ively strongly in­flu­enced by the struc­tures of clas­sic­al crim­in­al pro­ced­ure, from which they ex­tric­ate them­selves only hes­it­antly. Con­versely, the Neth­er­lands ex­hib­its very prag­mat­ic re­ac­tions to the de­mands that man­age­ment of mod­ern crime im­poses on a rule-of-law sys­tem. Ger­many was chosen as an ex­ample of a coun­try whose pro­ced­ure has taken on more and more ad­versari­al fea­tures without abandon­ing the "in­quis­it­ori­al" mod­el.

The pro­ject is avail­able as a pub­lic­a­tion of the Max Planck series Schriften­reihe des Max-Planck-In­sti­tuts – Stra­frecht­liche Forschungs­berichte. In twelve chapters, each coun­try re­port dis­cusses sources and gen­er­al prin­ciples of crim­in­al pro­ced­ure, the rights of the ac­cused, agen­cies in­volved in the crim­in­al justice sys­tem, the phases of the crim­in­al pro­cess, the law of evid­ence, spe­cial rules, forms of con­sen­su­al dis­pos­al, and cur­rent re­form pro­pos­als. The com­par­at­ive in­tro­duc­tion ex­am­ines the most im­port­ant in­flu­ences on crim­in­al pro­ced­ure sys­tems today and presents themes com­mon to these sys­tems. The dis­cus­sion thus of­fers start­ing points for in-depth leg­al com­par­is­ons as well as for the de­vel­op­ment of transna­tion­al and supra­na­tion­al solu­tions.


Ger­many: Dr. Bar­bara Huber;
Eng­land: Dr. Penny Darby­shire;
France: Dr. Richard K. Vo­gler;
Neth­er­lands: Prof. Dr. Marc S. Groen­huijsen, Dr. Joep B.H.M. Sim­melink;
Slov­e­nia: Prof. Dr. Katja Šug­man Stubbs;
Spain: Prof. Dr. Fernando Gascón In­chausti, Ass. Prof. María Lu­isa Vil­lamarín López