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IP/08/280

Brussels, 22 February 2008

Call for applications for the European Crystal Scales of Justice Prize for innovative practices contributing to the quality of civil justice

As part of the sixth European Civil Justice Day, the European Commission and the Council of Europe are organising the 2008 Crystal Scales of Justice Prize for innovative practices contributing to the quality of civil justice. The competition is organised every other year by the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

Vice-President Franco Frattini, European Commissioner responsible for justice, freedom and security stresses the importance of this competition: “This prize is an excellent way of encouraging European courts to emulate each other in introducing new practices that contribute to improving the quality of civil justice. It is exactly the type of event which can enable judges and other legal practitioners voluntarily to join forces with the Commission and the Council of Europe to assess the quality of legal systems by exchanging the best practices it generates. I am therefore convinced that this competition will continue to grow in success and the number of participants it attracts.”

In order to be eligible to compete, initiatives must be presented by a court, a legal bar, an association of legal professionals or any other entity responsible for legal affairs in a Member State of the European Union or the Council of Europe. Applications for the 2008 event must meet the conditions given in the competition rules and reach the organiser by 1 June 2008.

The prize will be awarded on 24 October, European Civil Justice Day, by a panel of judges made up of European legal practitioners. Three special distinction awards will also be given. In 2003 the European Commission and the Council of Europe launched “European Civil Justice Day”, held on 25 October each year, to bring civil justice truly within the reach of European citizens. It is an opportunity for citizens to familiarise themselves with civil justice, thereby affording them easier access to it.

Budgetary resources for this action have been earmarked from the “Civil Justice” Programme; the total budget for the programme is €109 million for the period 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013 and will go towards improving the mutual recognition of law and legal systems between Member States in civil matters and encouraging the exchange and circulation of information, experience and best practice. The Crystal Scales of Justice Prize is therefore an integral part of the objectives of the “Civil Justice” Programme.

The 2006 Crystal Scales of Justice Prize was awarded to an initiative from the Linz Regional Court in Austria providing litigants with a single contact point for undertaking business with or obtaining information from the court.

For further information see:

http://ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/news/whatsnew_en.htm

For further information on the activities of Vice-President Frattini, see his website at:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/frattini/welcome/default_en.htm


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