Regulation BIa: a standard for free circulation of judgments and mutual trust in the EU (JUDGTRUST)

1 November 2018 - 31 October 2020

Background

In 2012, Regulation (EC) 44/2001 on the jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters underwent some considerable changes resulting in Regulation (EU) 1215/2012 (hereinafter: BIa Regulation or Regulation). The European Commission had identified a number of gaps and difficulties arising in the application of the Regulation. Yet the alterations were not as extensive as the Commission suggested in its 2010 Proposal. The relationship between the Regulation and other private international law instruments may appear problematic, in particular considering the lack of consistency in regulating certain aspects of civil procedure on the European level. The ongoing Europeanisation of private international law in civil and commercial matters has proven to be, in fact, a drawn-out process. The inconsistencies among the EU private international law instruments may cause practical difficulties in cross-border legal relations, particularly due to the lack of information from legal practitioners on their functioning and effectiveness. Furthermore, the abundant case law of the Court of Justice of the EU highlights the difficulties encountered by the national courts of EU Member States in the interpretation and application of the private international law instruments. Uncertainty in the unification of such instruments may also affect the level of protection of the procedural position for certain ‘weak’ parties, such as consumers.

Aims of the Project

This Project aims to identify the best practices and to provide guidelines in the interpretation and application of the BIa Regulation. It evaluates to what extent the introduced changes have achieved the intended aim, what the remaining shortcomings are, how to overcome them and assesses whether further changes are useful. Besides, it examines how legislative projects on the global level, such as the Judgment Project of The Hague Conference, and political developments, such as Brexit, influence the application of the Regulation. In addition, the Project aims at enhancing a general understanding of the autonomous nature of the EU legal sources. It improves the conditions for a more uniform interpretation and application of the Regulation and consequently promotes mutual trust and efficiency of cross-border resolution of civil and commercial disputes. It also identifies the ways in which the ‘procedural justice’ for some weak parties can be ensured and provides suggestions on how to reach a greater degree of consistency of the EU private international law legislation. The Project gives an important contribution to the dissemination of knowledge by using different educational tools and promotes coherence between various legal sources, which affect everyday lives of EU citizens and daily business practices.

Analytical and Comparative Research, Moot Court and other Outputs

The Project is ground-breaking, not only in its scope but also in terms of multi-disciplinary approach. In analysing the interaction between the Regulation and the other EU private international law instruments, it supplements a primarily comparative legal approach with the use of empirical research. The comparative legal research is carried out through the analysis of legislation, case law of national courts in EU Member States, as well as of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and legal writing. It identifies difficulties in application and points to best practices when applying the provisions of BIa Regulation primarily, but also of its predecessor (Brussels I Regulation) and other closely related private international law sources. The empirical research makes use of various methods, both qualitative and quantitative. On the basis of Questionnaires, National Reporters from EU Member States provide information on the relevant case law and legal literature, as well as any other available data.

The outputs of the Project, including National Reports, a collection of Research Papers on selected issues and current developments, backed by an online database of case law, will be published on the Project’s Website. A Handbook on the Interpretation and Application of the Regulation will be available as an electronic publication and in hard copy after the completion of the Project. Results of the Project will provide recommendations on how to achieve a greater consistency among various instruments in order to enhance legal certainty, predictability and access to justice in cross-border legal transactions.

A part of the Project is the development of a Moot Court Competition, primarily targeted at students and aimed at educating a new generation of practitioners dealing with EU private international law practices. The Moot Court Competition meets the Project’s main objective, which is to contribute to the application of relevant EU law in practice. It forms an additional pillar for the construction of a solid and growing legal community that is familiar with the operation of the Regulation. As such, it enhances the dissemination of knowledge of EU private international law sources while creating a network of young lawyers and senior experts working in the private international law field.

A Conference will be held in The Hague (September 2020), aimed at promoting knowledge sharing amongst academic, legal practitioners and legislators. It will involve a broad range of scholars and practitioners from various EU Member States who are known as specialists in international civil procedure.

The outputs of the Project will be made available on the Project Website, including the reference to the link where CJEU case law can be retrieved, the collection of Research Papers, and information about the Conference and Moot Court Competition.

Project Website

The project website will be made available shortly.

Partners

This research is conducted by the T.M.C. Asser Institute in cooperation with Universität Hamburg, University of Antwerp and Internationaal Juridisch Instituut. The foundations for the Project have been well established by the multitude of studies and projects that have been carried out by the Partners in the area of European private international law in general. Project Team Members have published extensively both on BIa Regulation and other topics, allowing the Project to build on such research results and knowledge in core research areas. The Project is led by Prof. Dr. Vesna Lazic, project coordinator, and Prof. Dr. Peter Mankowski, academic coordinator. Vesna Lazic is Senior Researcher at the Asser Institute, Associate Professor at Utrecht University, and Professor of EU civil procedure at the University of Rijeka, Croatia. Peter Mankowski is Chair for Civil Law, Comparative Law and International Private and Procedural Law at Hamburg University.

Project Team

The project is funded by the European Commission, DG Justice (JUST-JCOO-AG-2017).