Digital justice: Parliament endorses rules on service of documents and taking of evidence 

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Plenary session 
 
 

On Monday, Parliament adopted two proposals that will make access to justice faster, more affordable and user-friendly for EU citizens and businesses.

The two amended regulations on taking of evidence and on service of documents, which were agreed between Parliament and Council negotiators in June 2020, aim to make judicial cross-border cooperation between national courts and access to justice more efficient through digitalisation.

Changes in both regulations establish among other things the use of mandatory decentralised IT system (composed of interoperable national IT systems) to exchange documents electronically cross-border. This will allow for faster, more secure and effective exchange of documents between EU courts.

The updated rules also promote the use of videoconferencing to allow a party or witness to be heard online when they based in another country. Transmitting documents and evidence will also become faster and safer, while personal data and privacy will be better protected.

Greater legal certainty, combined with simple and digitalised procedures, will encourage individuals and businesses to engage in cross-border transactions, thereby boosting trade within the EU, and hence the functioning of the internal market.

The two regulations will enter into force 20 days following their publication in the EU Official Journal.

Quote

Emil Radev (EPP, BG) rapporteur for Cooperation between the courts: taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters said: “The use of new technologies can greatly facilitate and speed up the taking of evidence in the EU when it comes to civil and commercial cases with cross-border implications. The provisions adopted by the European Parliament will not only improve the judicial cooperation between member states, but will also guarantee a faster, cheaper and more secure access to justice for EU citizens and businesses”.

Background information

The two proposals, presented by the Commission in May 2018, update the Regulations on Service of documents and Taking of evidence.

The 2008 regulation on the Service of documents has put in place a fast-track and standardised transmission procedure for the service of documents between courts and other parties in different EU countries. The 2004 regulation on Taking of evidence provides a framework for cross-border judicial assistance between EU countries by facilitating the collection of evidence across borders.