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European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters

The Council has set up a Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters to facilitate cooperation between Member States in these areas. Through the internet, citizens may access information on the legal system in Member States (on how to bring cases to court, on legal aid and so forth). The network is made up of contact points in Member States.

ACT

Council Decision 2001/470/EC of 28 May 2001 establishing a European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters [See amending act(s)].

SUMMARY

The gradual establishment of an area of freedom, security and justice, as well as the sound operation of the internal market, entails the need to improve, simplify and expedite effective judicial cooperation between Member States in civil and commercial matters.

This decision is intended to implement that objective, the importance of which was recognised in the December 1998 action plan of the Council and the Commission as well as by the European Council held at Tampere in October 1999, by the establishment of a European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters.

The European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters comprises:

  • central contact points designated by Member States and, if appropriate, a limited number of additional contact points;
  • liaison magistrates and other authorities (having responsibility in the field of judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters), whose membership of the Network is considered useful by Member States;
  • professional associations that represent legal practitioners participating in the application of Community and international civil justice instruments.

In this decision, the term “Member State” means all Member States other than Denmark.

Informing Member States and their citizens about civil and commercial matters

The Network has two specific tasks:

  • to facilitate judicial cooperation between Member States in civil and commercial matters by setting up an information system for members of the Network;
  • to facilitate access to justice by providing information on Community and international judicial cooperation instruments.

The Network also helps to:

  • smooth procedures that have cross-border implications;
  • facilitate requests for cooperation between Member States, especially when no Community act or international instrument is applicable;
  • apply Community acts or conventions in force between Member States.

Meeting network requirements: contact points

The contact points play a key role in the Network, they provide general information on Community and international instruments as well as information needed for cooperation and for applying the law of the Member State that is applicable, facilitate the processing of requests for judicial cooperation, seek solutions to any difficulties that arise, and coordinate cooperation between national members.

The contact points respond to requests for judicial cooperation within a set time limit (within 15 days of receipt, unless extended) by using the technological facilities provided by Member States. The Commission keeps a register of the requests and replies of contact points.

The contact points meet at least once every six months to exchange information and experiences, to identify problems and best practices, and to determine parameters for the information system.

Regardless of Denmark not being subject to the application of this decision, it may be represented at Network meetings. In addition, accession and candidate countries as well as certain third countries may send a maximum of three representatives each to participate as observers at these meetings.

Outside the meetings, the contact points can exchange information via a secure limited-access system set up by the Commission.

The Network is to liaise with similar networks and international organisations, such as the European Judicial Network in criminal matters, the European Judicial Training Network, the European Consumers Centres Network (ECC-Net), as well as judicial cooperation networks set up between third countries and with international organisations.

Providing information to the public

An internet-based information system gives access to information concerning judicial measures in force, case law, Member States legal and judicial systems, and cooperation in civil and commercial matters. The system also contains practical information sheets for the public.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2001/470/EC

1.12.2002

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OJ L 174 of 27.6.2001

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision No 568/2009/EC

11.1.2011

-

OJ L 168 of 30.6.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Council Decision 2001/470/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 16 May 2006 on the application of Council Decision 2001/470/EC establishing a European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters [COM(2006) 203 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report was drawn up by the Commission in accordance with Article 19 of the decision referred to above. It summarises the current characteristics and workings of the Network. The Commission believes that the Network has generally satisfied expectations, but recognises that it still has tremendous potential for development. The Network must be given the resources it needs if it is to fulfil that potential. The Commission would accordingly like:

  • all the main contact points in Member States to be able to devote their time entirely to the network, and Member States to grant them the necessary prerogatives and resources;
  • greater efforts to be made to complete the development of the Network’s website in terms of content and languages;
  • work to continue on practical guides, information initiatives and other activities regarding the discussion of concrete examples;
  • contact points gradually to become accessible to the public by using on-line communication techniques.
Last updated: 09.06.2011

See also

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