Criminal Law

Criminal Law in Europe

Criminal law in relation to the E.U. Services Directive

The following is an examination of criminal law regarding the European Union Servicies Directive [1]:

Criminal law: the Relationship between the EU Services Directive and specific areas of law and policy

As explained in Recital 12, the Services Directive aims to create a legal framework to ensure the freedom of establishment and the free movement of services between Member States but does not harmonise or prejudice and – as stated in Article 1(5) – does not affect Member States’ criminal law rules. It is clear, for instance, that if a service provider from another Member State commits a criminal offence, such as libel or fraud, on the occasion of his service provision, this is outside the scope of the Services Directive.

However, it is also clear that criminal law rules cannot be used to restrict the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by Community law29and that Member States may not circumvent or prevent the application of the provisions of the Services Directive by making use of criminal law. This means, for example, that a Member State which

– according to Article 9 of the Services Directive – cannot maintain an authorisation scheme because it is discriminatory or disproportionate, cannot circumvent this by imposing a criminal sanction in case of noncompliance with this authorisation scheme. In the same way, if a Member State cannot apply certain national requirements to incoming services because they do not comply with the criteria set out in Article 16 that Member State cannot circumvent this by imposing a criminal sanction for non-compliance with such requirements. Thus, when examining national requirements applicable to service providers Member States may also have to review certain provisions of their criminal law whose application could result in a circumvention of the obligations in the Directive.

The Criminal Law in Germany

Provisions relating to the criminal law in the German Criminal Code are located in Chapter One the Criminal Law

There is additional information on the German criminal system, covering the criminal law and related issues, here. For details on the German legal system, please see here.



  1. Information on criminal law based on the EU Services Directive Handbook, UK Government

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