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Storming the Bastille: Detention conditions, the right to liberty and the case for approximation in EU law

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-90
JournalCommon Market Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


Over recent years, detention conditions within the European Union (EU) have come under the spotlight as an issue of extreme relevance. Concerns about appalling standards of living in places of deprivation of liberty have emerged transversally in the area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ).The risk that poor detention conditions result in inhumane and degrading treatment – prohibited by Article 4 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFREU) - has served to limit the operation of secondary EU law. This has occurred in the framework of forced movement of persons as between member states, and has mainly called into question the level of protection ensured in the state where the person will be transferred. This may hold true for both asylum law and mutual recognition in criminal matters. While the broader debate on detention conditions has hitherto focused on Article 4, the impact on the right to liberty under Article 6 CFREU has been somehow underexplored. This paper submits that detention conditions must be studied from the perspective of the right to liberty,and makes the case for approximation of detention conditions at EU law level.

    Research areas

  • detention condition, right to liberty, mutual recognition, european arrest warrant, asylum law

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