The increase in cross-border crime has led over the years to more cases in which multiple Member States have, under their domestic legislation, jurisdiction to prosecute and to take such cases to trial.
In accordance with its mandate, ever since its establishment, Eurojust has been addressing the question of which jurisdiction is best placed to prosecute in cross-border cases in which a prosecution might be or has been launched in two or more jurisdictions. To prevent and support the settling of conflicts of jurisdiction that could result in an infringement of the principle of ne bis in idem, and to ensure that the most effective practices with regard to criminal proceedings are in place in the European Union, in 2003 Eurojust published the Guidelines for deciding ‘Which jurisdiction should prosecute?’.
The Guidelines – revised in 2016 – suggest factors to be taken into consideration in multi-jurisdictional cases. They are meant to be a flexible tool to guide and remind the competent national authorities of the factors to be considered. Since their adoption, they have been of assistance to the competent national authorities for determining which jurisdiction is best placed to prosecute in cross-border cases. They also assist Eurojust, which may advise the competent national authorities on this matter.
These Guidelines are currently available in all official EU languages in Eurojust's Annual Report 2016. By end November 2017, they will also be available as stand-alone documents in all the official languages. To view/download those that have already been published, please click on the desired language link below.
The principle of Ne Bis in Idem in criminal matters in the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU (Sept. 2017)