Commentary on the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 21 July 2020 in the Case of Velkov v. Bulgaria (Accumulation of Proceedings Concerning Penal Responsibility for the Same Act)

Czasopismo Prawa Karnego i Nauk Penalnych Rok XXV: 2021, numer 1
Journal of Criminal Law and Penal Studies Volume XXV: 2021, No. 1

Anna Błachnio-Parzych – habilitated doctor, Kozminski University in Warsaw; ORCID: 0000-0002-2392-3479; e-mail:

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ne bis in idem, cumulation of penal proceedings, European Court of Human Rights, cumulation of penal responsibility, integrated mixed proceedings


The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Velkov v. Bulgaria case regards the accumulation of proceedings concerning penal responsibility for the same act. If there is ”a sufficiently close connection in substance and time” between such proceedings, they are treated as integrated ”mixed” proceedings. Th  e criteria for the assessment of those connections between proceedings were formulated in the judgment in A and B v. Norway case. This judgment was met with fair criticism, which was mainly due to the imprecise nature of the given criteria. However, the judgment in Velkov v. Bulgaria case demonstrates that the adoption of these criteria does not mean that the accumulation of penal responsibility for the same act is generally permissible, and a careful examination of the connections between proceedings from the perspective of the above-mentioned criteria may lead to the assessment of the accumulation as inad-missible in the light of Article 4 of Protocol No. 7 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.


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