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Mutual Recognition in Criminal Matters from its Creation to the New Developments in the Lisbon Treaty

Massimo Fichera

Mutual recognition is the principle whereby a decision by the judicial authority of a Member State is recognised and, if necessary, enforced in another Member State. The concept of mutual recognition is relatively old. In Community law, it was first applied in the area of diplomas and professional qualifications and then developed in the internal market law and in the area of civil and commercial matters. It was elaborated in criminal matters in June 1998 with the European Council of Cardiff and was further developed at the Tampere European Council, which qualified mutual recognition as the cornerstone of judicial cooperation within the European Union.This paper aims at analysing the origins of this principle, giving an overview of its evolution in the recent years until its incorporation in the Lisbon Treaty, which was signed on 13 December 2007. This will be done in the context of the European cooperation in criminal matters and the project of a European criminal law. Is this project feasible and was it clearly conceived from the beginning? An account of the mutual recognition measures which have been adopted so far will be given, considering their level of implementation and their effectiveness.

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