The EPPO and the pitfalls of actuarial justice

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The article offers a critique of the current structure of the EPPO from a victim rights perspective. It observes that the creation of the EPPO revolutionizes the institutional set-up of EU criminal justice by creating a supranational body to address the enforcement gaps identified in the protection of the financial interests of the EU. Unsurprisingly, this breakthrough has met with resistance from the Member States, which have directed their scepticism into the structural, procedural and substantive provisions for this new office. By consequently tying the EPPO to national law in a plethora of instances, they have created a body which primarily addresses serious financial crimes within the framework of domestic criminal justice systems. However, these approaches are, in turn, heavily marked by a pragmatic concept of actuarial justice, with negotiation and plea-bargaining as the dominant practices across Europe. Article 40 of the EPPO Regulation ensures that there is scope for such practice to be adopted for cases falling within the EPPO’s competence. Highlighting the problems associated with prosecutorial deal-making, the article reflects upon the appropriateness of adopting such practice for the EPPO. It tentatively argues that a more honest recognition of the supranational nature of the EPPO (also reflected in its procedural rules) and of the type of victimization it seeks to address, might have instigated a productive dialogue ensuring the EPPO’s work is framed with reference to serving a community and securing victim protection. Above all, this would have constituted a significant step towards ensuring that the EPPO’s work is legitimate and perceived as such by the EU citizens it seeks to serve and protect from victimization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-280
JournalMaastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2021


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