Transfer of Criminal Proceedings


TROP – Transfer of criminal proceedings in the European Union

This research project will provide policy makers and legislators with a clear view and an in-depth analysis of the current practice of the transfer of criminal proceedings in the EU, as an essential instrument for cooperation in criminal matters. In addition, it will provide shared, cross checked (by scholars and policy makers) proposals for improvement, based on the experience and visions of practitioners.

The project is a collaboration between the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security (MIN OF JUSTICE), the University of Bielefeld (UNIBI) and the Belgian Federal Public Service for Justice (FOD JUSTITIE) / Federal Prosecution Office. The project is funded by the European Commission as a part of the Justice programme (JUST-AG-2019).

Context Transfer of criminal proceedings

The cooperation in criminal matters between EU Member States has improved consistently over the last two decades. Main reason is the implementation of a series of dedicated instruments based on the principle of mutual recognition of decisions of judicial authorities, that cover areas of judicial cooperation. Except for one: there is no specific EU instrument for the transfer of criminal proceedings. However, it is broadly felt that the current practice of cooperation between Member States – both with regard to small cases as complex cases – could benefit from a modern and dedicated framework for the transfer of criminal proceedings. This could enhance the effective prosecution of criminal cases with cross border aspects. It can also provide an alternative in cases where the issuing of an EAW is not possible nor desirable.

Achievements and activities

This project will provide a thorough study of the current practice of the transfer of criminal proceedings, based on analyzing statistical and policy information, followed by in-depth interviews with experts from a large number of participating EU Member States. Subsequently, the same ‘bottom up’ approach will be used to develop proposals to improve the EU cooperation on the transfer of criminal proceedings, both in the field of best practices, as policy making and (possible) legislation. The latter will be done in an exchange (working conference) between experts, policy makers and scholars from the participating countries. The final results of the research project will be published in an open report for the European Commission.

Final report

The project towards the transfer of criminal proceedings was completed in July 2022. The report is available both online and in physical form. This report contains the conclusions of the TROP research project. It outlines the current practice of transferring criminal proceedings in the EU, it identifies the main challenges to a well-functioning system and describes possible solutions to those challenges. These solutions were tested in multiple discussions between practitioners, academics and policymakers.

During the conduct of the TROP research project, it became clear that the European Commission would propose a new legislative instrument on the transfer of criminal proceedings in the near future. In the report, we tried to anticipate on the content of such a proposal and its discussion in the Council and in the European Parliament. To this end, we have formulated our proposals for improving the transfer of proceedings as building blocks for a possible EU-legal instrument.

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