The Project:

About The Project

The FIDUCIA project
New European Crimes and Trust-based Policy
(1 February 2012 - 31 January 2015) - Project overall budget: 2.7 Million €

FIDUCIA is a research project that will shed light on a number of distinctively “new European” criminal behaviours that have emerged in the last decade as a consequence of technology developments and the increased mobility of populations across Europe.

Proposing new approaches to the regulation of such behaviours, the central idea behind the FIDUCIA project is that public trust (in latin, “fiducia”) in justice is critically important for social regulation, in that it leads to public acceptance of the legitimacy of institutions of justice, and thus to compliance with the law and cooperation with legal authorities. While being highly relevant to responding to “conventional” forms of criminality, trust and legitimacy may be of special significance in the light of “new crimes”.

Several members of the FIDUCIA consortium have developed the idea of trust in justice in the FP7 funded EURO-JUSTIS project. In EURO-JUSTIS it was argued that the absence of reliable indicators of confidence in justice could have the unintended consequence of skewing criminal policies towards shortterm objectives of crime control, at the expense of equally important longerterm objectives relating to fairness, justice and normative compliance. An effective justice system must assess itself not only against narrow criteria of crime control, but against broader criteria relating to people’s trust in justice and their sense of security. In the long term, public compliance with the law depends on the legitimacy of institutions of justice, with institutions commanding legitimacy partly when citizens recognize that the institutions are fair, just and provide public security.

EURO-JUSTIS produced a set of survey indicators of confidence in justice that shed light on the utility of these concepts. The social scientific value of the work was recognised when the indicators were included – after competitive peer review – in the 2010 sweep (Round 5) of the European Social Survey. The resulting data will highlight the importance of trust and legitimacy in public compliance with the law and cooperation with legal authorities.

Against this background, FIDUCIA research will produce an innovative model of “trustbased” policy and related policy recommendations in relation to emerging forms of criminality, to be addressed to Member States and EU institutions. We believe that research can shed new light on complex problems across Europe, helping us understanding problems and develop fresh and evidence led strategies to deal with emerging problems of crime.

Our focus in FIDUCIA is on “trust based” policies, by which we mean approaches to the regulation of behaviour that pay particular attention to the impact of policing (in its broadest sense) on public trust in justice, on public perceptions of the legitimacy of justice institutions, and on people’s consequent commitment to the rule of law. The focus of criminal policy makers should shift from “why people break the law” to “why people obey to the law”.

In recognition of important European trends, the special focus of the FIDUCIA project is on new forms of criminality and supranational policies of crimecontrol. The FIDUCIA consortium places special importance on developing concepts of trustbased regulation and on translating these concepts into practical reality by means of a number of recommendations that could trigger a change in direction in European criminal policy.

After an initial phase of stateof the art review, the FIDUCIA project will have two parallel sets of work packages. On the one hand, FIDUCIA proposes the following a series of four case studies of new forms of criminality that reflect – in various ways – the development of supranational structures and processes across the European Union:
- trafficking of human beings;
- trafficking of goods;
- the criminalisation of migration and ethnic minorities;
- cybercrimes.

Each case study will:
• examine the causal dynamics of the type of crime (or family of crimes) under examination;
• assess current (“best” and “worst”) policy responses across Europe and at EU level;
• assess whether there are “trust based” alternatives that might prove more effective; and,
• devise ways of implementing these approaches.

On the other hand, a series of work packages will examine issues of criminalisation (when it is appropriate – or not – to use the criminal law), test the utility of a model of trustbased regulation and explore the dynamics of trust in justice within both the domestic realm (through the 2010 European Social Survey) and at the supranational level (through a new cross national survey).

Finally, the FIDUCIA project will test the central concept (that public trust in justice is critically important for social regulation) in the context of new forms of criminality.