Brexit and the Future of European Criminal Law: A View From Spain

Crim Law Forum (2017) 28:325-347, DOI 10.1007/s10609-017-9312-0

19 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2018 Last revised: 16 Oct 2020

See all articles by Mar Jimeno-Bulnes

Mar Jimeno-Bulnes

Universidad de Burgos; IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law; The University of New South Wales

Date Written: January 31, 2017


The UK public took a momentous decision when they voted to leave the EU in a referendum on 23 June 2016. As is well known, the UK has, since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009, occupied a special position in relation to the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (ELSJ, Title V TFEU). The Treaty introduced fundamental changes to the field of EU Criminal Law, from which the UK had been sheltered through the opt in/opt out clauses as well as the ‘emergency brakes’ solution. This singular arrangement for the UK after having signed the Treaty of Lisbon might, to some extent, have foreshadowed the present situation of Brexit, the consequences of which for EU Criminal Law are foreseen in this paper from a Spanish perspective. It presents an analysis of what the alternatives to the current relationships between Spain and UK could be in the future outside the EU framework, nevertheless while seeking to benefit from the improvements previously established through European institutions and instruments. In this context, three different areas are addressed: the natural framework through the relations that will inevitably exist with European agencies and institutions; the procedural framework in the area of judicial recognition through the application of the principle of mutual recognition; and, the framework in relation to procedural rights through the application of the principle of the approximation of laws. Finally, some brief remarks outline conclusions on a situation that is still unfolding.

Keywords: British Exit/Brexit, UK - EU Criminal Law, Mutual Recognition Instruments, EAW, Procedural Rights

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Jimeno-Bulnes, Mar, Brexit and the Future of European Criminal Law: A View From Spain (January 31, 2017). Crim Law Forum (2017) 28:325-347, DOI 10.1007/s10609-017-9312-0, Available at SSRN: or

Mar Jimeno-Bulnes (Contact Author)

Universidad de Burgos ( email )

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IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law ( email )

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The University of New South Wales ( email )

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