Criminal Justice in Europe: A Comparative Study

By Phil Fennell; Christopher Harding et al. | Go to book overview

19
Conclusion: Europeanization and Convergence: The Lessons of Comparative Study

CHRISTOPHER HARDING, BERT SWART, NICO JÖRG, AND PHIL FENNELL

It will have been clear to readers of this book that two principal approaches have been taken in discussing these different areas of criminal justice: in the great majority of contributions the format has comprised a comparison of British and Dutch experience, while at the same time a good number of the chapters have been preoccupied with the impact of European developments and initiatives or, as it may be termed, the process of 'Europeanization'. These two analytical approaches have been undertaken in order to assess what may be perceived as an important potential tendency in the development of criminal justice in western Europe: the convergence of different systems, either as a response to external forces such as 'Europeanization' or for other reasons associated with the internal dynamic of individual systems.


EUROPEANIZATION

A number of the chapters represent an attempt to assess the impact of European legal developments on the criminal justice systems of two West European countries. Two significant points emerge clearly from this collective study. First, the impact of such developments--or, it may be said, the extent of Europeanization--is variable according to which area of criminal justice is under discussion. And secondly, the national reaction to European initiatives and international convergence differs in some important respects as between the Dutch and British systems, reflecting differences both in policy and in legal tradition and organization. Ultimately, a study of this kind provokes a basic question: what objectives drive the Europeanization of criminal justice and how well do such objectives accord (or do they conflict) with national aspirations in this field? Comparative research between European countries, moreover, may also be of more immediate significance in that it provides a better insight into the problems

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