History of the EU’s attempt to take over UK criminal justice
Posted by Torquil Dick-Erikson | Feb 15, 2016 | Culture | 8 |
In April 1997, at a specially convened seminar in Spain, the EU Commission unveiled its “Corpus Juris project”, for a single system of criminal law for the whole of Europe, based entirely on Napoleonic-inquisitorial principles. It takes the form of an embryo criminal code. It would sweep away our own Magna Carta based system, and in particular our Trial by Jury and Lay Magistrates (art. 26.1), our Habeas Corpus (art. 20.3.g), our protection against double jeopardy (art. 27.2). I happened to be among 141 European jurists invited to attend, as guests of the Commission. I was included in the Italian delegation, as a last-minute replacement. The head of the Italian delegation had read an article I had published in an Italian law journal and had been impressed enough to invite me to come along and fill an empty slot.
In 1998 Brussels called an interparliamentary conference to look at the Corpus Juris project and to ask the participants, “How ready are the people of your country for a Europe-wide single system of criminal justice?”. The British delegation included Humfrey Malins QC MP, who looked at the Corpus Juris project, was horrified and wrote a letter to the Telegraph about it. The Telegraph, also primed by what I had reported in The European Journal, ran a week of articles every day sounding the alarm about Corpus Juris. The Telegraph had the necessary authority and credibility to galvanise some into action. There were PQs from two MPs, and Kate Hoey, Home Office Minister at the time, read Corpus Juris and was horrified and promised to veto it. Meanwhile the Labour MEP Pauline Green led all the Eurosocialists, including the Brits, to vote to “welcome” Corpus Juris in a resolution in the European Parliament. Blair did not have the stomach to disown Kate Hoey publicly (though later she was moved from Home to Sport), nor to publicly endorse Ms Green. There was then a weighty Report from the House of Lords, which examined Corpus Juris and rejected it (HL 62, 1999).
The EU realised that there would be a huge, flaming row with the UK which would boost the withdrawalist side enormously if they insisted and tried to bulldoze it through by Qualified Majority Voting, as a German and an Italian MEP told the House of Lords’ Committee they had been planning to do. So they put it quietly aside. The story was now that it had never been an EU proposal, but merely an exercise by a bunch of academics, almost as if they were just wishing to while away a rainy afternoon. The EU came to realise how inflammatory it was potentially, and how it would really frighten the monkee (Britain) who would escape their clutches if they put it on the agenda again. So it disappeared from the radar. The BBC and other media decided it was a non-story. The Telegraph did not mention it again. And there it has remained until now – at the back of the fridge.
Instead of a single criminal-law system for all Europe, it was decided at Tampere in 1999 that each nation would keep its own legal system, but to have “mutual recognition” of each other’s legal decisons. Mutual recognition presupposes mutual confidence in the fairness of each other’s systems. The other systems were and are largely unstudied, unresearched and unknown – at least in Britain, so it was decided that since they were all signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights and subject to the European Court of HR, that was OK. The main fruit of this approach has been the European Arrest Warrant. A provision was and is that a EAW should not provide any indication of evidence of a prima facie case, and the country receiving a EAW is not allowed to ask for any evidence, but has to trust the requesting country blindly.
Thus, the EAW, far from being an alternative to Corpus Juris, is actually a stepping stone towards it. By enabling arrest and lengthy “precautionary” imprisonment (months, and longer) without evidence nor any public hearing, it tramples underfoot our Habeas Corpus rights.
The next step towards Corpus Juris is to establish its central pillar – the European Public Prosecutor. This is now underway, though the UK has opted out. But having accepted the EAW, our opt-out from the EPP’s jurisdiction can be circumvented, for he will be able to issue EAWs against Britons in Britain, as confirmed by Jonathan Fisher QC in a formal Counsel’s Opinion, commissioned by the President of the Freedom Association, Christopher Gill.
All this was to be kept in abeyance, as long as the UK had an escape route, ie the ability to head for the exit door if its people and Parliament feel that our freedom is severely and really threatened. It is still, so far, open to Parliament to rescind the ECA72 (even unilaterally and with immediate effect if we feel that Brussels might abuse its residual power over us if we took the route of article 50).
But once Brussels sees that we are locked inside, and no longer have a quick way out, then they will wheel out Corpus Juris once more, and we will get the full nine yards of it.
This will be the case if the Brexit referendum returns a victory for the IN vote. The tragedy at present is that we are heading for the vote with 99% of the electorate in complete and blissful ignorance of this specific, looming, threat to our personal freedom and its safeguards from arbitrary arrest and wrongful imprisonment.
Why is criminal law so important? and why is Brussels so keen on getting control over our criminal law? British people usually think that taxation, monetary policy, business regulation, etc are more important. This is because we think of criminal law as being merely about catching and punishing criminals.
We British have had such a long and unbroken history of peaceful constitutional development, that we have forgotten that, at the end of the day, criminal law is actually the handle granting complete control over a State and all its inhabitants. Criminal law means police, handcuffs and prisons. It means the physically forceful, enforcement powers of the State over the citizens. It is under the criminal law that the State can (or cannot) send its officers into your home, breaking down the door, hauling you out of your bed and off to a prison. The State holds a monopoly of legal, even lethal, force over the citizens, and the exercise of this power is regulated by the criminal law.
In fact, the EU has not only developed the Corpus Juris project. It is also training and drilling its own paramilitary, lethally armed, police force, the European Gendarmerie Force (EGF). Six national gendarmeries are being trained and drilled side by side, in a location in Northern Italy, to weld them into a single European corps. They will then be deployed all over the territory, and once inside Britain – Mrs May said in 2012 “Of course we will call upon them, if we see the need” – they will surely not leave if asked to go by a merely British government, for they will owe allegiance only to Brussels.
The Corpus Juris plan envisages not only a European Public Prosecutor stationed in Brussels, but also that he shall have a Delegated Prosecutor in each member state (art. 18.3). And the national prosecutors will be “under a duty to assist him” (art. 18,5). And if there are riots and resistance to the imposition of these alien laws, the EGF will be available to suppress them. It will also be available to do the bidding of the European Prosecutor, should the local enforcement agencies prove recalcitrant. It will look like, feel like, and be like… a military occupation by a hostile armed foreign force.
The above scenario looks and sounds quite incredible to any British person. Unlike our continental friends, we have not seen anything like it, on our own shores, for hundreds of years. Yet it could so easily turn true. The documentary evidence of this plan is all there.
taken with the authors permission, from https://savebritishjustice.wordpress.com
You can learn more here:
Read his essay Magna Carta and Europe on the official, govt-sponsored, Magna Carta celebratory website: http://www.magnacarta800th.com/articles/magna-carta-europe-yesterday-today
The above was summarized by the novelist Frederick Forsyth (with the author’s permission) in his weekly page in the Daily Express: http://www.express.co.uk/comment/columnists/frederick-forsyth/578984/Napoleon-laugh
Torquil made the following submission, “Serious Risks”, to the House of Lords at the time of the debate on whether to reconfirm the European Arrest Warrant or not, giving some in-depth description of the differences between our system of criminal justice and those used on the continent. This text also contains links to the Youtube video-recording of the public debate he held against the British co-author of Corpus Juris, the Cambridge Law Professor John Spencer QC, in Cambridge in 1999. His motion that “Corpus Juris is a threat to our civil liberties” was carried by 39 votes to 4. Professor Spencer subsequently paid him the great compliment of naming and blaming him, in two published articles, as the man chiefly responsible for having influenced the media and the government to reject Corpus Juris. http://www.tfa.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Full-EU-HoLsubmission.pdf
The full text of Jonathan Fisher QCs Counsels Opinion shows that by reconfirming the European Arrest Warrant, as it did in 2014, Parliament has enabled the European Prosecutor to sidestep our opt-out from his jurisdiction and to order the arrest of Britons in Britain. II can be read here:
PreviousCourant Times – Sunday 14 February 2016
NextCourant Times – Monday 15 February 2016
About The Author
Torquil Dick-Erikson has been living in Rome for over 40 years,and, as a legal journalist, studying the differences between the continental and the Anglo-Saxon systems of criminal justice (there are no Chairs of comparative criminal procedure in any University in the UK or elsewhere, AFAIK). He has spoken in conferences in Italy and in England, and published in Italian and English law journals, as well as in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. From 1993 to 1998 he was a contributor to The European Journal, where he published his findings on Corpus Juris
t g spokes on March 7, 2018 at 11:14 am
I have Lived in France and Spain and love the people. BUT
The European justice system can be encapsulated as follows: Denouncement , Prison, Inquisitorial, Cheap Judge, As long as it takes.
Yes that’s right Denunciation, as in communist Russia, as in Nazi Germany. Inquistorial ? Yes that’s right the search for evidence.Cheap Judges ? Yes there’s one in every town ready to sign your EAW.
The thing is, The locals all fear and are terrified by the law, and stay well away from using it if possible. Trouble is our drunken idiot teenagers who think the world will forgive them, go far beyond what locals consider bad. It is astonishing what their police put up with. In the poorer parts of France and Spain an ordinary chair can have come down thru several generations. So when you smash a chair?
Panmelia on February 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm
This article has inspired me to work harder than ever to persuade people to vote LEAVE. Unfortunately, this kind of information is very difficult to encapsulate and disseminate in a leaflet that would be read and understood by those who are unfamiliar with the politics of the EU and our dire need to get out of it. Only the other day at the hairdressers, the stylist didn’t know that everyone would have a vote on referendum day, thinking it would be just MPs (God forbid!). Can’t this article be sent to the Daily Express or to UKIP HQ where,say, Patrick O’Flynn could present it for popular readership?
Vivian Evans on February 15, 2016 at 9:18 pm
A very timely and thoroughly frightening article! This is what is meant by losing our sovereignty – this is why we must take our country back. And look at the date: this is 20 years in the making – no bureaucracy ever forgets, and while this may have been on the back burner (or the back of the fridge!), it was not forgotten. Sadly, at the present times, neither the BBC nor the Telegraph would do anything to upset the “IN”-applecart, so this won’t be reported, nor will the consequences for all of us. I wrote in another place that the Continental Powers – farce first and foremost – have not forgiven us for defeating Napoleon. His ‘Code Napoleon’, the basis of so many continental law codes, was meant to unite Europe, under his boot. Well – it took them over 200 years, but they’re nearly there now – unless we vote OUT.
eaglesoars on February 15, 2016 at 7:52 pm
The last time I read the EU charter or whatever you call it, there was this clause that is very specific: Article I-6:
The Constitution and law adopted by the institutions of the Union in exercising competences conferred on it shall have primacy over the law of the Member States.
The abolition of the nation-state has always been the purpose of the EU. This is just an argument about which corpse gets disposed of first.
Peter Gardner on February 15, 2016 at 7:39 pm
Frau Merkel would have us trust the Turkish legal system?
Peter Gardner on February 15, 2016 at 7:37 pm
Truly alarming. People should also ponder that since there is no equivalent of Article 50 of the EU Treaty in the EMU treaty, the next round of EU treaty changes due from 2017 may see it removed from the EU treaty.
Michael Keal on February 15, 2016 at 7:28 pm
Thank you so much for writing such a well-written and much needed article highlighting the very foundations upon which our freedom stands.
We tend to take for granted the brilliant legal system we have in the UK and would only come to fully appreciate the full extent of it if we had it taken away from us. As pointed out law abiding citizens might well believe that as they aren’t criminals this wouldn’t touch them.
But that could change in a heartbeat. Take away Trial by Jury, Lay Magistrates, Habeas Corpus and introduce double jeopardy, precautionary imprisonment (months, and longer) and law abiding citizens might quickly find themselves realising they too have to worry about the law. (I’m not sure if ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is in this lot but if it isn’t and we lose it, it too would be a big one.)
Unrestrained, power can corrupt. Change the rules so corrupt politicians are free to use the police as an instrument to protect their own interests, political or otherwise and human nature being what it is, some will, especially if they and the police speak the same language, which might not be English.
It is often said in jest that the EU is coming to resemble the old USSR however I think the former East Germany is a little closer to home, especially for those who began their political careers therein and have now resurfaced in the EU. We accuse them of being undemocratic and they smile back at us thinking in their heads we are fools, that we don’t understand the meaning of the word as they did in back in the good old German Democratic Republic. ‘Freedom’ also has a special meaning for these political elites.
For two years I shared an office with someone born and brought up in Kiev in the Ukraine under soviet rule and escaped. From her I learned, fortunately second-hand, what it means for ordinary citizens to be free.
You are already free. Vote to keep it that way. Vote leave.
Roger Turner on February 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm
A wonderful clear warning about the “ever closer” drift to Corpus Juris, which will be unstoppable should e not vote LEAVE. I particularly note the formation and possible use in our country of the EGF, at our invitation now, never mind their imposition should we vote to “remain” in the EU. But what is not mentioned is the composition and membership of a European ARMY, which I would guess, should the Gendarmerie be insufficient, could be called in to deal with us EXTREMISTS?????? Please take note everybody of this valuable article – it is the real biz unlike the dire faux warnings being manufactured by Cameron and his coterie of failed terminally inexact no/lost hopers.