Limits of Mutual Recognition

The principle of mutual recognition and mutual trust is a general principle of European Law. First applied as a judicial principle within the context of the Single Market, it did not take long before the principle also became a fixture in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ). Whereas mutual recognition is an optional basis for the legislator in the field of the Single Market, the Treaty of Lisbon has elevated the principle’s status to the mandatory basis for new legislation in several areas of the AFSJ. Thus, the principle has obtained constitutional status in this field. Criminal law, family law and general European private law have been shaped by it.

Mutual recognition can be seen as a middle ground between harmonization on the one hand, and full legislative freedom for Member States on the other. However, mutual recognition has been presupposed to require certain forms or certain minimum levels of harmonization. This raises the question what the normative and practical limits of Mutual Recognition are.

This research project seeks to reach conclusions about mutual recognition as a general principle of law in Union law. Its perspective is to research the horizontal and vertical dimension of regulation and enforcement. The research is ‘bottom-up’: it seeks to answer general questions by looking at specific several topics in the area of the internal market and the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice.

Related to this project is ‘Transfer of Prisoners in Europe‘, which aims to assess whether current Union legal instruments based on mutual recognition in criminal matters adequately protect fundamental rights.

The project Limits of mutual recognition is being led by and Tony Marguery.