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UCC seminar to examine criminal law judicial co-operation post-Brexit

14 Mar 2019 / Brexit Print

Criminal law co-operation post-Brexit on UCC agenda

Mr Justice McKechnie (pictured) of the Supreme Court will chair a UCC seminar exploring the future of judicial co-operation between Britain and Ireland, post-Brexit.

The 21 March seminar will examine the implications of Brexit for criminal law.

Chaired by Justice McKechnie, experts from the Centre of Criminal Justice and Human Rights (CCJHR) at University College Cork (UCC) will be joined by Dr Andrea Ryan of the University of Limerick to discuss the impact of Brexit on this crucial area of law.

Over the past two decades, the EU has been active in legislating on criminal law matters, including the development of a suite of judicial co-operation instruments, including the European Arrest Warrant Framework Decision (EAWFD) and the European Investigation Order.

Britain has participated extensively in these instruments, some of which form the basis for cross-border judicial and police co-operation with Ireland.

Brexit calls this structure of judicial co-operation in criminal matters into question, and while the political declaration on the future relationship promises “comprehensive, close, balanced and reciprocal law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters”, the exact contours of future EU-UK co-operation remain undefined.


Experts believe that this is a particularly important issue for Ireland, as the EAWFD replaced the international treaty that previously governed extradition matters between Britain and Ireland.

The EU law instrument resulted in a much speedier and more automatic process for surrender.

In 2017, over half of surrenders made by Ireland under the EAWFD were to Britain, and almost 80% of EAWs issued by this State were requests to the UK.

Effective system

This extremely effective system of ensuring justice across borders is now being called into question with Brexit.

Other areas of judicial and police cooperation, including the European Evidence Warrant/European Investigation Order, will have to be rethought in light of Brexit.

Mr Justice McKechnie has served as a judge of the Supreme Court since March 2010, and previously served as judge of the High Court from 2000. Prior to that, he served as Chairman of the Bar Council in 1999.

Speakers at the UCC event will include Dr Stephen Coutts, an expert in the constitutional dimension of EU criminal law (including substantive criminal law, mutual recognition and fundamental rights), Professor Caroline Fennell, a leading specialist on Irish criminal law, and Dr Andrea Ryan, Ireland’s representative for the European Criminal Law Network.

Tickets for the seminar can be reserved here.


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