'The definition of criminal sanctions in the EU'

This Article reviews how we should define criminal sanctions in EU law. Defining what are ‘criminal sanctions’ is a long- standing issue of criminal law which has been debated for almost a century. The term ‘criminal’ is generally used by commentators and courts to refer to sanctions of a severe nature that are intended to punish rather than simply deter or compensate in contrast to civil or administrative sanctions. The distinctions have also been drawn as a matter of procedure. Criminal proceedings are, in contrast to civil proceedings, initiated by the government or by governmental authorities rather than by private parties. They entail a higher stan- dard of proof, different rules of discovery and evidence. Criminal proceedings further trigger certain fundamental rights such as the right to counsel, the right to a fair trial and other procedural guarantees. It is further suggested that in order for a sanction to be considered criminal, it must involve having moral-social stigma attached.

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