The European Judicial Network and sources of information
About the European Judicial Network
The European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters (EJN-civil) was set"> up by the Council under the Decision of 28 May 2001. It began operating on 1 December 2002.
Denmark is not participating in the adoption of the Council Decision 2001/470/EC.
It is a flexible, non-bureaucratic structure, which operates in an informal mode and aims at simplifying judicial cooperation between the Member States. It gives unofficial support to the central authorities as stipulated in their instruments, and facilitates relations between different courts.
Which objectives and tasks?
The creation of the EJN comes from the idea that the gradual establishment of a genuine area of justice in Europe entails the need to improve, simplify and expedite effective judicial cooperation between the Member States in civil and commercial matters. The Network also represents an original and practical response to the objectives for access to justice and judicial cooperation set by the Tampere (Finland) European Council in 1999. The EJN therefore provides valuable access to justice for persons engaged in cross-border litigation.The activities of the Network are designed with the intention of promoting smooth operating procedures where the impacts cross borders and facilitating requests for judicial cooperation between Member States, in particular when no Community or international instrument is applicable.In other words, the Network makes it easier to conduct cases with cross-border connections, to facilitate requests for judicial cooperation between Member States (e.g. to provide assistance with the service of documents or the taking of evidence), and to ensure that Community legislation and conventions between Member States are properly applied in practice.
Who are the EJN members?
The Network is composed of contact points designated by the Member States, plus:
Bodies and central authorities that are specified in Community law, in international instruments whereby Member States are also participants, or in domestic law relating to judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters;
Liaison magistrates with responsibilities for cooperation in civil and commercial matters;
Other judicial or administrative authorities responsible for judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters whose membership is deemed to be useful by the Member State.
The contact points play a key role in the Network. They are available to other contact points and to local judicial authorities in their Member State. They are also at the disposal of authorities provided for in Community or international instruments relating to judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters. The contact points assist these authorities in all practicable ways. In addition, they communicate regularly with the contact points of other Member States.In each Member State, the contact points and the authorities provided for by Community or international instruments that relate to judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters meet regularly to exchange knowledge and information.On 30 September 2009, the Network was composed of approximately 418 members divided into the four categories mentioned above. Currently 83 contact points have been nominated by the Member States.
The new legal framework
The main challenges and future perspectives for the EJN will be due to its new legal framework (which will apply from 1 January 2011). The new Decision will bring about better operating conditions for the Network within the Member States by the way of the national contact points and will reinforce their roles both within the Network and in relation to judges and legal professions.One of the major outcomes of the EJN reform is the newly granted access of legal professionals to the Network's activities. Upon the application of the Decision the professional associations, representing legal practitioners at national level, directly involved in the application of Community and international instruments concerning judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters will be members of the Network and the contact points shall have appropriate contacts with these professional bodies.In particular, those interactions may include exchanges of experience and information with regards to the effective and practical application of European Community instruments and Conventions, collaboration in the preparation and updating of the information sheets available on the EJN website and the participation in relevant EJN meetings (namely the annual meeting of the EJN members).Sources of informationThe most complete sources of information on judicial remedies, available on-line, are:
- The European Judicial Atlas in Civil Matters, which provides a user-friendly access to information relevant for judicial cooperation in civil matters. With the Atlas it is possible to easily identify the competent courts or authorities to apply for certain purposes. Furthermore, in order to commence a judicial procedure, it is possible to fill in on-line forms, change the language of the form and transmit the forms electronically.
- The European e-Justice Portal, conceived as a future electronic one-stop-shop in the area of justice, to make citizens’ life easier by providing information on justice systems and improving access to justice throughout the EU, in 22 languages.