N° 6 / January 2022

The EFFORTS Project in brief

Embracing a practice driven approach, a consortium of experts in international procedural law will analyse the existing legislation and case-law of the 7 targeted Member States (Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg), promote the exchange of practices among operators (at 7 seminars) and collect good practices, with regards to the interaction of EU Regulations on circulation of judicial decisions and national legislation.

The consortium will: pursue clarity by means of 7 Practice Guides on cross-border recovery of claims in the targeted Member States – contribute to the improvement of existing EU and national legislation by drafting Policy recommendations for national and EU policymakers – setting up the EFFORTS Network and a Working Group on the digitalization of enforcement procedures.

About the Project (1/2): Reports on National case-law

The seven Reports on National case-law are being published on the EFFORTS Website. These Reports set one of the milestones of the Project and they are dedicated to the detailed collection and overall analysis of national jurisprudence on the application of the regulations covered by the Project. The jurisprudence may regard either incoming or outgoing judgements, authentic instruments or judicial settlements under the Title III of the Brussels Ia Regulation or the other regulations covered (European enforcement order, European order for payment, Small claims and the Reg. (EU) No 655/2014). Please visit the Research outputs section of our website to download an open access version of the Reports.

About the Project (2/2): International Exchange Seminar

On 25 February 2022 our partner Max Planck Institute Luxembourg will host the International exchange seminar, gathering experts, academics and practitioners, from several jurisdictions across the EU to promote dialogue and exchange experiences relating to the regulations covered by the Project, in light of the results of the major publications of the first year activities: the seven Reports for the collection of implementing rules, the seven Reports on national case-law and the six National exchange seminars. Please visit the Events section of our website for more information.

News on international and comparative civil procedural law

1. Legislative news

2. EUCJ Case-law

  • EUCJ, 9 December 2021, in Case C‑242/20, HRVATSKE ŠUME d.o.o., Zagreb v. BP Europa SE: Reference for a preliminary ruling – Judicial cooperation in civil matters – Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 – Article 5(3) – Concept of ‘matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict’ – Judicial enforcement proceedings – Action for recovery of sums unduly paid based on unjust enrichment – Article 22(5) – Enforcement of judgments – Exclusive jurisdiction
  • EUCJ, 9 December 2021, in Case C‑708/20, BT v. Seguros Catalana Occidente, EB: Reference for a preliminary ruling – Cooperation in civil and commercial matters – Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 – Jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement in civil and commercial matters – Jurisdiction in insurance matters – Claim for compensation for damage suffered by an individual domiciled in a Member State following an accident in rented accommodation in another Member State – Action brought by the injured person against, first, the insurer and, secondly, against the insured owner of that accommodation – Applicability of Article 13(3) of that regulation
  • EUCJ, 21 December 2021, in Case C‑251/20, Gtflix Tv v. DR: Reference for a preliminary ruling – Judicial cooperation in civil matters – Jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters – Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 – Article 7(2) – Special jurisdiction in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict – Publication on the internet of allegedly disparaging comments concerning a person – Place where the harmful event occurred – Courts of each Member State in which content placed online is or has been accessible

3. Digitalisation of judicial cooperation: «Digital by default»

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the digitalisation of judicial cooperation and access to justice in cross-border civil, commercial and criminal matters, and amending certain acts in the field of judicial cooperation

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 2003/8/EC, Council Framework Decisions 2002/465/JHA, 2002/584/JHA, 2003/577/JHA, 2005/214/JHA, 2006/783/JHA, 2008/909/JHA, 2008/947/JHA, 2009/829/JHA and 2009/948/JHA, and Directive 2014/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, as regards digitalisation of judicial cooperation

At Union level, there exists a comprehensive set of instruments designed to enhance judicial cooperation in cross-border civil, commercial and criminal cases. Many of these govern the communication between authorities, including in certain cases with the EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) agencies and bodies. However, most instruments do not provide for engaging in such communication through digital means. Even where they do, other gaps still exist, such as a lack of secure and reliable digital communication channels or non‑recognition of electronic documents, signatures and seals. This deprives judicial cooperation of using the most efficient, secure and reliable channels of communication available.

The proposed Regulation provides that written communication between competent authorities taking part in judicial cooperation in civil, commercial and criminal matters should be conducted through digital communication channel, subject to justified exceptions.

The impact assessment identified one non-legislative and one legislative policy option with three sub-options. The non-legislative option would involve action to encourage Member States to use the e‑CODEX system for digital cross-border communication and access to justice. Under the legislative option, legislative measures (a Regulation and a Directive) will be adopted. A regulation will include rules establishing a secure electronic channel based on e‑CODEX (identified as the most appropriate technical solution in the impact assessment on the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on e‑CODEX). Three sub-options were considered under the legislative option, namely a) compulsory or voluntary use of the digital channel, b) compulsory or voluntary acceptance of electronic communication regarding natural and legal persons, and c) regulatory or non-regulatory approach to the use and recognition of trust services. A Directive will amend the existing Framework Decisions and Directives to align them with the rules of the Regulation.

After comparing the policy options and the sub-options, and assessing them against the objectives of the proposal, the preferred option chosen is the legislative option. This option will make using digital communication compulsory (subject to justified exceptions) for communication between courts and competent authorities (and between them and the EU JHA agencies and bodies). It will also oblige courts and competent authorities to accept electronic communication from natural and legal persons, provide a legal basis for the use of videoconferencing or other distance communication technology for oral hearings in cross-border cases, and the use and recognition of trust services. While the courts and competent authorities will be required to accept electronic communication from natural and legal persons, the use of the digital channel will be voluntary for the natural and legal persons. They will be free to use traditional means of communication, including a paper based one if they wish.