In the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers v. BV breakthrough judgment of 16 July 2020 (Case C-129/19; ECLI:EU:C:2020:566) the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice addressed the interpretation of Article 12 (2) of Council Directive 2004/80/EC relating to compensation to crime victims.
The Court’s position is unequivocal: Member States must guarantee “fair and appropriate” compensation not only to “cross-border victims”, but also to “resident victims”.
Moreover, the Court has concluded that Article 12 (2) of the Directive must be interpreted as meaning that fixed rates of compensation awarded under the national scheme of compensation to victims of violent intentional crime cannot be classified as ‘fair and appropriate’, within the meaning of that provision, if the awards are fixed without taking into account the seriousness of the consequences, for the victims, of the crime committed and do not therefore represent an appropriate contribution to the reparation of the material and non-material harm suffered. Accordingly, Member States are bound to provide compensation for non-pecuniary losses including moral damages too.
This judgment is extremely relevant and will be the basis for further harmonization of the State redress protection of victims of violent intentional crimes through European Union.
The Author of this short note was among the lawyers representing the victim BV (the Respondent) and discussed the case at the Grand Chamber’s hearing on 2 March 2020. In 2002 he took part to the consultation that followed the European Commission’s Green Paper on compensation to crime victims COM (2001) 536 Final.