Informations and abstract
Keywords: Ne bis in idem principle; criminal matter; tax penalties; European Court of Human Rights; Court of Justice of the European Union; Constitutional Courts.
In the national legal systems of various European countries, the repression of tax law offences is characterized by the coexistence of administrative and criminal proceedings which may lead to the infliction of multiple penalties. This configuration is nowadays questioned by the latest European Courts case law’s developments concerning the ne bis in idem principle, which require procedural coordination between the different proceedings in order to avoid overly repressive or disproportionate consequences. This essay analyses the penalty systems adopted by the Italian and French legal orders, focusing on potential frictions between these two systems and the abovementioned fundamental guarantee enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in the light of some recent judgments delivered by both the Italian Constitutional Court and the French Conseil Constitutionnel. This paper aims to demonstrate that, within the current Italian and French legal orders, the criteria for assessing violations of the ne bis in idem principle are vague, with the result that wide discretion is given to judges in interpreting and applying national rules, which provide administrative and criminal proceedings, and penalties, in relation to tax law offences.