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At the Service of the Profession of Judicial Officer in the World since 1952
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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurInstitutionsSéparateurEuropean CommissionSéparateurParticipation of the UIHJ at the 14th Annual Meeting of the European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters in Brussels on 21 and 22 January 2016
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Participation of the UIHJ at the 14th Annual Meeting of the European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters in Brussels on 21 and 22 January 2016

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About 150 representatives of the European Commission, ministries of justice and governments, professional organisations, judges and representatives of courts of the 28 Member States of the European Union were present

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The UIHJ was represented by its President, Françoise Andrieux, and its Secretary General, Mathieu Chardon. Karen Vandekerckhove, acting head of Unit A1, Civil Justice Policy, DG Justice and consumers, European Commission, chaired the meeting. She addressed the four main topics mentioned on the agenda:
1.    Civil Justice Policy: Recent Developments
2.    EJN at Work
3.    Key working tools for cross-border case handling
4.    Cooperation with other networks

Civil Justice Policy: Recent Developments

Georg Haibach (DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission) presented the report of 10 October 2015 (COM (2015) 495 final) from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and social Committee on the application of Regulation (EC) 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council creating a European Order for Payment Procedure. Mr Haibach thanked the EJN members for their contributions. He indicated that there is a wide disparity among the countries of the European Union in applying the regulation. It appears from the study that only 6% of respondent citizens indicated being aware of this procedure. The report addresses several issues, including jurisdiction, electronic submission of the application, service of documents, cost, opposing the European Order for Payment, or the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Georg Haibach also presented the first results relating to a public consultation on the application of Directive 2008/52/EC on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters.

Then Jacek Gatska (DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission) discussed the revision of Regulation 861/2007 of 11 July 2007 on small claims (Regulation (EU) 2015/2421 of 16 December 2015). He explained that the most important change concerned the value of the claims, which rose from € 2,000 to € 5,000. Though this amount is half of what the Commission expected this is nonetheless significant and will give more coverage to the regulation, according to Mr Gatska. Among other changes, the representative of the European Commission mentioned in particular the strengthening of the written nature of the procedure, the promotion of the use of appropriate distance communication technology and the electronic service, the provisions on legal costs, the conditions for reviewing the decision, or the possibility of using the Small Claims Regulation in the event of opposing a European Order for Payment. The Regulation will apply from 14 July 2017. The Commission will use this time to ensure the promotion of this instrument and prepare guides to the attention of professionals and users.

Mikolaj Zaleski (DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission) presented the proposals of the European Commission for Directives on the Supply of Digital Content and on the Online Sales of Goods adopted by the Commission on 9 December 2015. Then Maria Vilar Badia (DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission) discussed the draft Public Documents Regulation.

Michael Wilderspin, (Legal Service, European Commission), referred to the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2015. He focused in particular on three recent decisions.

The first case (C-4/14, Christophe Bohez against Ingrid Wiertz), concerns in particular the interpretation of Articles 1 (2) and 49 of Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 and Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 in matrimonial matters.

The second case (C-681/13 - Diageo Brands BV against Simiramida) notably acknowledged that “When determining whether there is a manifest breach of public policy in the State in which recognition is sought, the court of that State must take account of the fact that, save where specific circumstances make it too difficult, or impossible, to make use of the legal remedies in the Member State of origin, the individuals concerned must avail themselves of all the legal remedies available in that Member State with a view to preventing such a breach before it occurs”.

The third case (C-300/14 - Imtech Marine Belgium NV against Hellenic Radio) concerned the application of Regulation (EC) No 805/2004 of 21 April 2004 creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims. The ECJ considered in particular that “Article 19(1) of Regulation No 805/2004 must be interpreted as meaning that, in order to certify a judgment delivered in absentia as a European Enforcement Order, the court ruling on such an application must satisfy itself that its national law effectively and without exception allows for a full review, in law and in fact, of such a judgment in the two situations referred to in that provision and that it allows the periods for challenging a judgment on an uncontested claim to be extended, not only in the event of force majeure, but also where other extraordinary circumstances beyond the debtor's control prevented him from contesting the claim in question”.

Mathieu Chardon mentioned the study conducted by the UIHJ on the European Enforcement Order presented at the international conference it organised in Sibiu (Romania) in 2009. This study showed in cross-border cases in the European Union the need to establish minimum-security standards as regards documents initiating proceedings. In this respect, he recalled that the UIHJ has prepared a draft European Directive on a harmonised document initiating proceedings). Such a document is twofold: the information contained in the document, and the service of this document to the recipient. The Secretary General of the UIHJ added that European case law was at the heart of the concerns of the UIHJ. In this context, the UIHJ has published in 2014 a book on European case law (European Court of Human Rights and Court of Justice of the European Union) on enforcement of judgments and service of documents.

EJN at Work

First, Florence Hermite, the EJN contact point for France, explained the organisation and functioning of the EJN in France. Then Julia Burk, the EJN contact point for Germany, presented the European Day of Justice taking Germany as an example.

The EJN working groups then gave an account of their work. Regarding the working group on the visibility of the EJN, Julia Burk and Tomasz Debski (DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission), spoke of the new EJN section at the European e-Justice Portal. Eral Knight, contact point for England and Wales (United Kingdom) mentioned the work of the Working group on Guidance for completing the forms under the Maintenance regulation. Florence Hermite and Stephan Matyk (DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission), talked about the work of the Working Group on succession, especially the citizens' guide and information exchange on foreign law.

Key Working Tools for Cross-Border Case Handling


Tomasz Debski (DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission) took interest in the database of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Bogdan Dumitriu (DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission), gave an account of the state of play of the e-Codex project. Moritz Röttinger (DG Internal Market, Industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission), gave an account on information, advice and problem resolution tools for citizens and businesses.

Cooperation with Other Networks

Information on the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Courts of the European Union was provided by its Secretary General Dominique Hascher. Maria Joao Almeida Gomes, Secretary of the European Judicial Network in criminal matters, presented the key tools of her network. Vicky Pellini (DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission) evoked the European Consumer Centres (EEC-Net). Finally, Ilse Couwenberg, Judge at the Court of Appeal (Belgium) focused on the recent activities of the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN).
 
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