The purpose of this paper is, on the one hand, to highlight the reasons that have thus far prevented a systematic and widespread recourse to the commendable (in intent at least) European Protection Order, introduced by Directive 2011/99/EU (so-called EPO DIRECTIVE); and, on the other, to assess whether said mechanism is actually capable of preventing discriminations in the protection of victims within the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Starting from a general analysis of the above instrument, this article briefly examines how the foregoing Directive has been implemented in the domestic legal systems of the only Member States that, as at 2017, have issued at least one protection order: Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. In particular, the analysis focuses on the main issues surrounding this instrument that have caused it to be used on a merely sporadic basis, and it shows how the European Protection Order pays the price of the almost complete lack of harmonization in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters: the profound discrepancies between the individual domestic legal systems as to the type of offences criminalized, and the absence of protection measures common to all Member States, are the primary factors standing in the way of achieving sufficient and uniform levels of victim protection throughout the entire EU territory.
European Criminal Law Review , Volume 8, 3/2018
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