10 July: PhD Defence “The Margins of Discretion in European Expulsion Decisions” by Kathrin Hamenstädt

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Date(s) - 10/07/15
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Maastricht University Aula, Minderbroedersberg 4-6


National expulsion decisions following a criminal conviction in light of European standards and their effects on the European level

PhD Defence by Kathrin Hamenstädt

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Hildegard Schneider and Dr. Elise Muir

Abstract: Foreigners who have been convicted of crimes and are subsequently issued with an expulsion decision have to leave a state which might have become their home and are often barred from returning to this state for a considerable period of time. An expulsion decision can constitute a severe interference with the private and family life of the individual and has the potential to destroy his or her personal, cultural, social and economic ties in that state. In light of these serious consequences, an expulsion decision should only be issued if it meets certain requirements. This research assesses whether the national (German and Dutch) law on expulsion complies with the standards set by European law. It identifies shortcomings in national statutory provisions on expulsion and provides recommendations for its reorganisation. In addition to the impact of the European level on the national level, the impact of the national level on the European level is also interesting. National expulsion decisions can be given a European effect by the entry of an alert in the Schengen Information System (SIS). Third country-nationals with regard to whom an SIS alert was entered are barred from entering the territory of the EU or Schengen Area. The requirements set by European law for entering such an alert are not very specific and the thresholds are relatively low. Consequently, Member States are granted a considerable margin of discretion to accommodate their national policies and to enter alerts for very diverging reasons. Member States are required to mutually recognise an alert entered by another Member State – meaning that an SIS alert entered against a Third Country National by one Member State is required to be recognised by a subsequent Member State, even if the behaviour which gave rise to the SIS alert by the first Member State would not necessarily have given rise to an SIS alert by the subsequent Member State. The low thresholds for entering an alert stand in considerable contrast to the high “personal costs” of the individual. Therefore, this research explores options of how to remedy some of the current problems relating to the mutual recognition of SIS alerts. Moreover, it proposes certain criteria that should be met before an expulsion decision/SIS-alert can be mutually recognised.