EU Criminal Law


After successfully completed this course, students will be able to:

  1. identify concepts, terminology, sources and arenas of EU Criminal Law;
  2. interpret and apply legal texts pertaining to the area of EU Criminal Law;
  3. conduct research and analyse practical situations and problems in key areas of EU criminal law;
  4. and develop arguments about the impact of EU law on national legislators' decisions in criminal matters.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Athina Sachoulidou


Weekly - 2

Total - 24

Teaching language



Not Applicable


  • Ambos, K. (2018). European Criminal Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kaiafa-Gbandi, M. (2016). The EU and US criminal law as two-tier models, Stockholm: Sieps.
  • Kettunen, M. (2020). Legitimizing European Criminal Law. Justification and Restrictions. Cham: Springer Nature Switzerland
  • Mitsilegas V. (2022). EU Criminal Law. 2nd edition. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
  • Mitsilegas V., Di Martino A. & Mancano L. (eds.). (2019). The Court of Justice and European criminal law: leading cases in a contextual analysis. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
  • Satzger, H. (2018). International and European Criminal Law. 2nd edition, Munich; Oxford; Baden-Baden: C.H. Beck.

Teaching method

The course will consist of short lectures (to be organised with the help of MS Power Point; the respective slides will be sent to the students at the end of each class) and seminar-style discussion. That said, the students are expected to actively participate in the in-class discussion, and work on readings to be made accessible before the meetings. In this context, the lecturer will make sure to first introduce the students to the theoretical framework of the harmonisation of criminal law at EU level and the intersection of national and EU criminal law. Besides, the lecturer will make use of practical cases aiming to bridge theory and practice and to familiarise the students with the relevant case-law. Lastly, the lecturer intends to invite some external experts to enrich the syllabus with different approaches to EU criminal law.

To attain the purposes outlined above, the lecturer will also use online polls and questionnaires to be designed with the Mentimeter application or similar ones to enable students work on and revise regularly the course material.

Additionally, the students will be advised throughout the semester on which legal texts to examine, where to look for relevant case-law and which additional bibliographical sources to consult depending on the topic under discussion.

Evaluation method

The students will be assessed on the basis of a continuous evaluation model consisting of the following parts:

Participation in the in-class debates 10 % (2/20 points)

Mid-term exercise 15 % (3/20 points)

3.000-word essay 75 % (15/20 points)

Participation in in-class debates: Course participants will have to participate actively in in-class debates (occasionally based on in-class group work) by elaborating, inter alia, on the reading material that will become available to them before the beginning of each class (to be uploaded on the Moodle platform of the university on a regular basis) and giving thoughtful feedback to their colleagues. For this purpose, brainstorming questions will also be posted regularly on the Moodle platform.

Mid-term exercise: This will be an online quiz to be designed on the Moodle platform. In this context, they will have to showcase the knowledge acquired with regard to the theoretical framework of criminal law harmonization at EU level.

3.000-word essay: This is the final written work that students will be asked to submit on a topic out of the list the lecturer will provide them for this purpose. Each of the proposed topics can be chosen by maximum 3 students.  In case that a student would like to work on a topic not provided in the list, (s)he should contact the instructor to reach an agreement with that regard. The assessment of the essays will be based on the successful presentation of the chosen topic; the author's critical thinking and argumentation; structure and material organisation; the originality of the ideas included in the work; style (use of language and terminology); and proper use of literature. The final essay will be due in Week 11 of classes.

For purposes of grading, essays that are submitted late will be subject to a "penalty" (0,5 grading point per day of delay). The lecturer may make exceptions to this policy for true emergencies, such as serious illness. Requests for exceptions should be made in advance of the deadline, if possible. The professor's decision to grant or deny a request for an exception is final and unreviewable.

The essays will be submitted on the Moodle platform via a Turnitin assignment. Students who fail to comply with scientific publication rules, and particularly with the rules of proper citation and originality, will be excluded from continuous evaluation.  

Note regarding final exams: Students retain the right to be assessed on the basis of a final written exam, in the context of which they will have to answer both multiple choice and open questions on topics related to the previously described learning outcomes. The final grades will be announced in two weeks after the exam day.

Subject matter

  • Introduction to the concept of "Europeanisation of Criminal Law"
  • Harmonisation of Substantive Criminal Law at EU level (I) - Regulatory framework
  • Harmonisation of Substantive Criminal Law at EU level (II) - Offences and sanctions (e.g., terrorism, attacks against information systems, hate speech and hate crime)
  • Approximation of procedural criminal law at EU level (I) - Regulatory framework
  • Approximation of procedural criminal law at EU level (II) - The example of the European Arrest Warrant
  • Protection of fundamental human rights through the lens of EU Criminal Law
  • Practical applications of EU Criminal Law in national jurisdictions

Note: The syllabus can be subject to adjustments reflecting the progress of the scheduled meetings. Students will be informed on time in case of any changes to the syllabus. The latter will be also updated online, if and where necessary.