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

Research project (2018-2021)

Project leader: Prof. Dr Vesna Lazic

The project website can be found here.


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.


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 made 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. In addition to comparative and analytical research, the project will develop a Moot Court Competition, and organize a Conference at the end of the project. 

Partners & Project Team

This research is conducted by the T.M.C. Asser Institute in cooperation with Universität Hamburg, University of Antwerp and Internationaal Juridisch Instituut. Project team members are:

This project is funded by the Justice Programme of the European Union (2014-2020).