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Civil Justice specific programme (2007-2013)

The 'Civil Justice' programme fosters judicial cooperation through support for the training of legal practitioners and by strengthening networks for exchanging and disseminating information. As part of the general 'Fundamental Rights and Justice' programme, it contributes to the creation of a European area of justice in civil matters based on mutual recognition and confidence.

ACT

Decision No 1149/2007/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 September 2007 establishing for the period 2007-2013 the Specific Programme 'Civil Justice' as part of the General Programme 'Fundamental Rights and Justice'.

SUMMARY

The aim of the 'Civil Justice' programme is to maintain and strengthen an area of freedom, security and justice in the European Union. It covers the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.

The programme (which does not apply to Denmark) has four main general objectives:

  • to foster judicial cooperation in civil matters in order to create a European area of justice based on mutual recognition and confidence;
  • to eliminate obstacles to the good functioning of cross-border civil proceedings between Member States;
  • to facilitate access to justice for individuals and businesses;
  • to promote and strengthen contacts, networks and the sharing of information between judicial and administrative authorities and the legal profession so as to improve mutual knowledge and understanding.

Encourage judicial cooperation in civil matters

This decision fosters better administration of justice by preventing conflicts of jurisdiction, promoting recognition of judgments in civil and commercial matters, ensuring legal certainty, improving access to justice, eliminating obstacles to the good functioning of cross-border litigation and making Member States' legislation more compatible.

The programme further aims to:

  • improve mutual knowledge of national legal and judicial systems;
  • promote training in Community law for legal practitioners;
  • encourage networking, cooperation and exchanges of information and experience;
  • ensure the sound implementation and assessment of EU actions;
  • improve information on the legal systems in the Member States and access to justice;
  • reinforce mutual confidence while respecting the independence of the judiciary;
  • facilitate the operation of the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters.

Achieve these objectives through concrete actions

The Community supports actions initiated by the Commission, transnational projects presented by NGOs, international organisations or national partnerships (involving at least two Member States or one Member State and an acceding or candidate country) and the activities of NGOs or other bodies pursuing aims of general European interest, and helps finance the work of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) and the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union in pursuing objectives of general European interest.

The 'Civil Justice' programme targets inter alia national authorities, legal practitioners and the citizens of the EU in general. Actions under the programme are open to acceding and candidate countries and the Western Balkan countries included in the stabilisation and association process (in accordance with the conditions laid down in the association agreements or additional protocols relating to participation in Community programmes concluded or to be concluded with those countries). Projects may associate legal practitioners from Denmark or candidate countries or third countries not participating in the programme.

The programme is also open to public and private organisations, including professional associations, universities, research institutes and legal and judicial training institutes, legal practitioners, international organisations and NGOs.

Projects are evaluated and awards made on the basis of: the conformity of the proposed action with the Commission's annual work programme, the quality of the proposed action (design, organisation and expected results), the amount of Community financing applied for and the link between the actions, the objectives and the expected results.

Budgetary resources and protection of the Community's financial interests

The Programme has a budget of EUR 109 300 000 for the period 2007-2013. Community financing can be in the form of operating grants or grants to actions following calls for proposals, or public procurement contracts for accompanying measures (purchase of goods and services).

The Commission applies preventive measures against fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities. It carries out checks, recovers amounts wrongly paid, imposes penalties if it detects irregularities, and can, if time limits are not observed, cancel the remaining financial support, demand repayment of sums already paid, and add interest to delayed payments.

Role of the Commission: monitoring and follow-up

The Commission adopts an annual work programme specifying objectives, thematic priorities and accompanying measures. It is assisted, as appropriate, by a management or an advisory committee.

It monitors and evaluates the programme and must submit to the European Parliament and the Council an annual report on the implementation of the programme, an interim evaluation report (not later than 31 March 2011), a communication on the continuation of the programme (not later than 30 August 2012) and an ex-post evaluation report (not later than 31 December 2014).

It ensures that beneficiaries submit technical and financial reports on the progress of work, a final report and supporting documents regarding expenditures, and makes these available to the Member States. It also ensures that payment timetables and financing conditions are adjusted as required, monitors the implementation of the programme, publishes the list of actions financed each year and provides for audits by the Court of Auditors.

Complementarity with other programmes

The Commission seeks to ensure synergies and complementarity with the following programmes:

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force - Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1149/2007/EC 1.1.2007-31.12.2013 - OJ L 257 of 3.10.2007
 
Last updated: 12.02.2008
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