The Concept of a Technology Neutral Payment Instrument in Criminal Law
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The development of electronic payment instruments and their online availability constitute important parts of the development of the EU payments market. Individual states adopt different approaches towards interpretation (legal aspects) and types of electronic payment instruments. To encourage sustainable payment services, minimize possible threats, and create favourable conditions for the development of new payment instruments, legislators adopt general legal acts stipulating the legal status of electronic payment instruments. However, the actual interpretation of payment instruments is often narrowed in legal practice, and does not cover payment instruments newly introduced to the market. A new insight into electronic payment instruments corresponding to the latest trends in the market is important in criminal law as well, because crimes related to the use of a payment instrument are common and difficult to investigate. In view of recent changes in payment services (the new Payment Services Directive in 2019), the norms of criminal law stipulating liability for the illegal disposal of electronic payment instruments must reflect circumstances predetermined by today’s technological developments. In terms of criminal law, a technologically neutral conception of the payment instrument is necessary, to include a wider range of payment instruments that differ considerably from conventional personalized payment cards. The aim of this article is, therefore, to demonstrate that the current regulation of the Criminal Code of Lithuania lags behind the development of payment instruments, and in order to avoid excessive criminalization it is proposed to narrow the application of Article 214 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code.
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