DISQUALIFICATIONS ARISING FROM CRIMINAL
CONVICTIONS IN THE EU (7162/06)
Letter from the Chairman to Joan Ryan
MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Home Office
This Communication was considered by Sub-Committee
E (Law and Institutions).
We note that the Government broadly welcome
action in this field and would support a sectoral approach to
future European legislation. You refer in particular to the Belgian
Initiative for a Framework Decision on the recognition and enforcement
in the EU of prohibitions arising from convictions for sexual
offences against children. This draft Framework Decision was sifted
to this Committee in December 2004. We wrote to your predecessor
on 16 December 2005
and are still awaiting a reply to that letter, which itself seeks
a response to matters first raised in our letter of 27 January
Given your support for sector-by-sector legislation on disqualifications,
we would be grateful if you would explain your six-month delay
in responding to our letter. Are the Government genuinely committed
to EU legislation in this field?
We draw your attention to our letter to Lord
Goldsmith dated 22 June 2006
in which we referred to problems encountered in the Council in
negotiations relating to certain proposals with judicial cooperation
in criminal matters. We queried whether Member States remained
committed to the Hague Programme. As you know, the Hague Programme
called for the agreement of proposals on the exchange of information
on convictions relating to sex offenders by the end of 2005. Will
this area be revisited in the context of the review of the Hague
We have decided to hold this document under
6 July 2006
Letter from Joan Ryan MP to the Chairman
Thank you for your letter dated 6 July 2006
regarding disqualifications arising from criminal convictions
in the EU.
Firstly, please accept my apologies for the
fact that you did not receive responses to your previous letters,
dated 27 January and 16 December 2005. I regret the oversight
which caused this delay. As referenced in recent letters we are
undertaking a review of the scrutiny process to ensure this does
not happen again. I hope this letter addresses all of your concerns.
I can confirm the Government's ongoing commitment
to information sharing on convictions relating to sex offenders.
Further to Paul Goggins' letter to you, dated 5 October 2005,
I am, however, sorry to inform you that we have not made as much
progress with the Belgian Initiative as we would have hoped. Whilst
the United Kingdom is keen to pursue the Initiative this is proving
to be more problematic for other Member States.
The main reason for lack of progress is that
whilst each EU country is obliged to bar certain people from working
with children, each Member State has a different system. The Framework
Directive does not prescribe the way barring should be implemented.
Some Member States rely on administrative schemes or on employers
making decisions based on a criminal record. Finding common ground
between those states and those that have judicial schemes has
proved to be problematic.
The Working Group on Judicial Co-operation in
Criminal Matters met in November 2005 and April 2006. The United
Kingdom played an active role in negotiations but regrettably,
little progress was made. In order to break the impasse, it was
agreed that a new proposal would be drafted to be considered by
the Group, hopefully during the course of the current Presidency.
This will represent a fundamental overhaul to the original proposal
and we expect that there will be substantial changes to the text
of the Initiative. As such, many of the points raised in your
letter of December 2005 may no longer be pertinent to the redrafted
proposal and so I suggest that I write again, once the new Initiative
has been prepared.
The Hague Programme Review will be assessing
the progress of all proposals agreed and reviewing the priorities
it set in 2004. This dossier is one of the UK's priorities. We
will therefore continue to push strongly for the conclusion of
this instrument during and beyond this review period.
7 August 2006
149 Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of
Session 2005-06, HL Paper 243, p 470-471. Back
Correspondence with Ministers, 4th Report of Session 2005-06,
HL Paper 16, p 271. Back
See Presumption of Innocence (9128/06). Back