6 September 2012 | Interaction lunch-seminar: criminal law, human rights and EU subsidy law

The PhD-candidates of the profile area ‘Interaction between legal systems’ are organising several lunch seminars with an ‘interaction theme’.

On September 6th, the first meeting took place, concerning the Bonda-judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (C-489/10). This high-profile case sits at the crossroads of European subsidy law, article 6 ECHR and the principle of ne bis in idem – and may even profoundly influence purely national legal areas.


Under the chairwomanship of Alison McDonnell, and in the spirit of ‘interaction’, the participants from different departments took part in an animated discussion.

The question at stake was whether the recovery of Agricultural aid and the exclusion from further aid for a number of years must be qualified as a criminal charge within the meaning of article 6 ECHR. The Court determined that this did not constitute a criminal charge, which experts Bas van Bockel and Pinar Ölcer found to be a logical conclusion. Pinar Ölçer noted that the ‘Engel-criteria’ as developed by the ECtHR are very vague and are insufficiently adaptive to complex situations. This gave the Court leeway to conclude that the measures at stake were merely of an administrative nature. Bas van Bockel argued that the Court did not have a free hand in applying the Engel-criteria and considered that the Court failed to tackle important legal issues. Willemien den Ouden pointed out that the judgment fits within the strict case law of the Court concerning the protection of financial interests of the EU. Nevertheless, she stressed that the Bonda-case must be viewed in a wider context; there is a real risk that this judgment, which specifically concerns European subsidies, will be (mis)used by national judges when they are asked to rule on the application of article 6 ECHR in the context of other, national, administrative sanctions. It was generally felt that the case law of the ECtHR should be refined and that the actual effect of the sanction should be included in the assessment of its character.

Given the success of this first meeting, the intention is to organise more lunch seminars in the same vein. On October 30th, prof. mr. J.H. Crijns will provide a lunch lecture about research on the crossroads of different legal areas. All PhD-candidates of Leiden Law School are cordially invited (registration via the e-mail address below).

Should you have an interesting idea for a further interaction-themed lunch meeting, please email the PhD-candidates and organizers of this lunch-seminar, Judit Altena-Davidsen, Elsbeth Beumer and Alke Metselaar, via symposiumILS@law.leidenuniv.nl.

Last Modified: 07-09-2012