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EU Cuts Red Tape In Cross-Border Court Cases

by Ulrika Lomas, LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

11 December 2012


European Commission (EC) Vice-President Viviane Reding, the European Union's Justice Commissioner, has welcomed the adoption by the European Council of reformed rules to determine which national court has jurisdiction in cross-border cases and how court judgments issued in one European country are recognized and enforced in another.

Businesses and consumers should be able to resolve cross-border legal disputes more easily, thanks to the reform adopted by European justice ministers, which was first proposed by the EC in 2010.

"This reform will cut red tape for thousands of consumers and companies around Europe, reducing legal headaches and making it easier to do business in the Single Market," said Reding.

The European Council adopted the recast of a regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the so-called "Brussels I" regulation). The purpose of this regulation is to make the circulation of judgments in civil and commercial matters easier and faster within the EU, in line with the principle of mutual recognition.

The legislation proposed by the EC aims to cut red tape by abolishing the costly "exequatur" procedure (i.e. the procedure for the declaration of enforceability of a judgment in another member state), which requires companies to first go through a time-consuming procedure in courts to get a judgment in civil and commercial matters recognized in another EU country.

According to the new provisions, a judgment given in a member state will be recognized in the other member states without any specific procedure and, if enforceable in the member state of origin, will be enforceable in the other member states without any declaration of enforceability.

Abolishing this administrative procedure is expected to save businesses and consumers up to EUR48m (USD62.9m) a year.

The reformed regulation will enter force following its publication in the EU’s Official Journal in the coming weeks, and will start applying two years thereafter. The United Kingdom and Ireland have also decided to take part in the adoption and application of the recast regulation, while, once adopted, it will also be applicable to Denmark in the context of the 2005 agreement between the EU and Denmark in this area.

TAGS: court | business | European Commission | Denmark | Ireland | law | United Kingdom | enforcement | legislation | regulation | legislation amendments | European Union (EU) | Europe

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