Institutionen för juridik, psykologi och socialt arbete

Symposium on the normative foundations of European criminal law

17 januari 2022 10:00 – 16:30 Online via zoom

This symposium brings together leading voices in European Criminal Law to jointly reflect on the normative foundations of European criminal law.

Synopsis for the symposium

Criminal law has always been associated with sovereign power in a legal universe where law itself is defined by ‘sanctions’. On the one hand, it touches upon core functions of statehood including the safeguarding of internal security, criminal justice and law enforcement. On the other hand, it is the ultimate vehicle of social control due to its detrimental impact on individuals’ rights and liberties. Criminal penalties do not only restrict individuals’ fundamental right to movement; they also entail severe stigmatisation of the offender as the moral blame inherent in every criminal sanction remains firmly attached to a convicted criminal long after the sentence has been served. Criminal law thus reflects a value system which is also the source of its legitimacy in a given society. As such, criminal law has traditionally belonged to the realm of national competence. Yet, striking legal, institutional and political developments in this area under the last 30 years suggest that criminal law is no longer on the periphery of European integration. This raises several questions regarding the rationale underpinning EU criminal policy and its legitimacy within the context of a multi-level polity.

This symposium brings together leading voices in European Criminal Law to jointly reflect on the normative foundations of European criminal law. It examines this question drawing from various theoretical perspectives including competitive federalism, harm-based theories and other theories of legitimacy in criminal law, political theory including nondomination (security and freedom), communitarian and other citizenship-based studies as well as fundamental rights perspectives. Understanding the normative foundations of EU criminal law is of paramount importance not only for individual citizens, but also for EU Member States and the European Union within the context of increasing Euroscepticism and populism which currently endanger European integration as a political project. On behalf of Örebro University, Queen Mary University of London and the European Law Journal we welcome you to participate in this digital symposium with us.

Jacob, Valsamis and Karine

Introduction, 10.00-10.45
The normative foundations of European criminal law, (Jacob Öberg, Valsamis Mitsilegas and Karine Caunes)

Coffee, 10.45-11.00

Panel I, 11.00-12.30
Legitimacy through law (Jacob Öberg)
Irene Wieczorek, ‘Legitimating EU Criminal law: the myth of the transnational criterion?’
Pedro Caeiro, ‘Constitution and development of the EU's ‘penal jurisdiction’: attribution, self-reference and responsibility’
Anne Weyembergh, ‘From facts and political objectives to legal bases’

Lunch, 12.30-13.30

Panel II, 13.30-14.30
Perspectives of criminal law theory and philosophy (Valsamis Mitsilegas)
Jannemieke Ouwerkerk, ‘Old wine in a new bottle: shaping the foundations of EU criminal law through the concept of legal interests’
Nina Peršak, ‘Principles of EU criminalisation: on harm, effectiveness and their divergent normative validity’

Coffee, 14.30-15.00

Panel III, 15.00-16.30
Rights and political perspectives (Karine Caunes)
Ester Herlin-Karnell, ‘Dimensions of coercion and EU criminal Law theory’
Leandro Mancano, ‘Securing the normative foundations of European criminal law – an integrated analysis of the concept of judicial independence’
Jörg Monar, ‘Reflections on the place of criminal law in the European construction’

  • Associate Professor in Law Jacob Öberg, Örebro University
  • Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas, Queen Mary University of London
  • Editor in Chief Karine Caunes, European Law Journal
  • Assistant Professor in law Irene Wieczorek, Durham University
  • Professor Pedro Caeiro, Universidade de Coimbra
  • Professor Anne Weyembergh, Université Libre De Bruxelles
  • Professor Jannemieke Ouwerkerk, Leiden University
  • Professor Nina Peršak, Institute for Criminal-Law Ethics and Criminology (Ljubljana) and Centre for Advanced Study (Sofia)
  • Professor Ester Herlin-Karnell, Gothenburg University
  • Senior Lecturer in Law Leandro Mancano, Edinburgh University, UK Deputy Contact Point for the European Criminal Law Academic Network
  • Professor Jörg Monar, College of Europe


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Jacob Öberg or Anna Carlberg
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