Europe's open societies and criminal justice: a challenging relationship

Criminal justice systems face the challenges of internationalisation, digitalisation and European integration. National criminal justice systems have to interact with other areas of law, in particular administrative law, and with other legal orders. This is acutely evident in the European Union, where significant parts of national substantive and procedural criminal law have been brought within the scope of EU law-making. EU law and criminal law have entered into a dynamic interaction, which shapes and redefines their very foundations, principles and concepts. This is necessary to control crime and ensure due process at a national, EU and international level (UN, Council of Europe), but also to enforce EU policies and retain EU’s position as a global actor in the area of security and criminal justice.

In the video Professor François Kristen tells you about the Master’s programme European Criminal Justice in a Global Context and the career prospects this Master offers: 

Integrated criminal justice: opportunities and challenges

The Utrecht University LLM in European Criminal Justice in a Global Context is an opportunity to dive deeper into this stimulating area of debate. A debate which is at the core of any criminal justice system. The programme links the national criminal justice systems of the EU Member States to EU criminal law, EU constitutional law, including fundamental rights law, and EU administrative law. It deepens your knowledge on EU criminal law. It analyses the interactions with the criminal justice systems of other EU Member States or third countries under new, innovative forms of enforcement cooperation. It examines the relationships of national criminal justice with the sharply increasing number of EU enforcement agencies, like the European Central Bank. This unique and innovative programme provides an inspiring intellectual challenge, as well as the platform for a rewarding legal career at a national, European or international level.

We challenge our students to examine how criminal justice systems can adapt to the shifting and changing demands those systems face nowadays.

Content of the programme

The LLM in European Criminal Justice in a Global Context focuses on:

  • The constitutional foundations for criminal justice in a Europeanised setting, including the fundamental rights dimension and the harmonisation of defence rights and safeguards;
  • The effects and impact of EU law on domestic criminal justice and its relationships with administrative law enforcement in such areas as anti-money laundering, financial fraud and other serious cross-border offences;
  • The different legal regimes for transnational enforcement cooperation and exchange of information, including the European Arrest Warrant and European Investigation Order;
  • The relationships between national criminal justice and EU authorities such as Eurojust and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office;
  • The relationship between European criminal justice and its global context (external dimension).

Read more about the study programme.

Programme objectives

Participating in this programme at Utrecht University is an opportunity to:

  • Gain profound knowledge of EU criminal law and its interaction with national criminal justice systems;
  • Develop a solid grounding in its pertinent issues, such as the constitutional foundations of the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, the harmonisation of criminal law and punitive administrative law;
  • Obtain in depth knowledge of EU principles and concepts, such as mutual recognition, criminal charge, direct and indirect effect, legality principle, and ne bis in idem principle;
  • Understand the EU’s policy and legal instruments to combat cross-border crime on the one hand, and safeguard human rights on the other;
  • Learn to navigate in the complex web of judicial cooperation in criminal matters;
  • Understand the relationship between European criminal justice and its global context;
  • Conduct your own research into the Europeanisation of criminal justice, and evaluate the role of your country’s criminal justice system within this landscape;
  • Prepare for legal practice and develop your oral and written presentation skills through a combination of case studies, Moot Courts, simulated negotiations, knowledge clips, podcasts and writing blog posts;
  • Quickly deepen your knowledge of specific areas of EU criminal law as a foundation for future learning;
  • Develop a critical, reflective stance, including the ability to give and receive feedback, also in societal debates;
  • Become part of the avant-garde of the new field of European criminal justice enforcement systems;
  • Prepare for exciting career opportunities at a national, European or international level. 

Career prospects

This specialist Master’s programme is designed to prepare you for today’s dynamic, fast-changing and increasingly globalised legal environment. Follow the link to read more about potential career opportunities at a national, European or international level. 


Do you want to know if you are eligible for this Master’s programme? Check the entry requirements.


Degree: This Master's programme is officially registered under its name in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes
  • Title: LLM
  • Master's degree in: European Law
  • Programme: European Criminal Justice in a Global Context
Accredited by the NVAO
Croho code:
Language of instruction:
Part- or full-time status:
1 year
Credits: 60 credits equals one year full-time study load (European Credit Transfer System, ECTS)
Start of studies:
Application deadline:
  • Dutch & EU/EER students: 1 June
  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 April
Tuition fees:
Law, Economics and Governance 
Graduate school:
Law, Economics and Governance