The Impact of Brexit on EU Criminal Procedural Law: A New Dawn?

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction: the state of play. – II. Background: a European patchwork. – III. Brexit: replicating the un-replicable. – IV. EU versus UK: opposing directions of travel. – V. EU-27: a new dawn for criminal law cooperation? – VI. Concluding remarks.

Abstract: This Article provides an analysis of how the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union is going to impact on EU criminal procedural laws. From the EU’s perspective, the loss of a “critical” partner may lead to more harmonised cooperation between the remaining Member States and thus less intergovernmental features in this area in the long term. More crucially however, the future relationship between the EU and the UK poses certain difficulties as the procedural arrangements to be put in place cannot simply replicate the pre-Brexit status of the UK’s membership. According to the Draft Agreement on the New Partnership with the UK, mechanisms such as the European Arrest Warrant are to be replaced by new “streamlined” procedures and other “simplified” arrangements for the exchange of information and cooperation. This raises questions as regards the possibility for monitoring the UK’s compliance as well as the enforceability of any procedural guarantees given. In addition, the inherent danger of the UK’s departure comes in the shape of a discontinuity of upholding similar values as those applied by the EU (e.g., fundamental rights) and thus a further drifting apart of both sides. Essentially, it is argued in this contribution that this constitutes the opposite of the relationship with other third countries, which is usually characterised with progressive alignment, and should therefore be approached with great caution from an EU perspective for the conclusion of the negotiations on the future relationship.

Keywords: Brexit – draft agreement – criminal procedural law – differential integration – cooperation between Member States – fundamental rights standards.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 1, pp. 513-526
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/480

* Senior Lecturer in EU Law, Lund University (Sweden),


European Forum


Forum Européen


Forum europeo


Foro Europeo