European Parliament backs rules to do away with 27 national rules for recognising judgements in cross-border court cases

The European Commission's proposals to help businesses and consumers resolve cross-border legal disputes more easily received the support of the European Parliament today. Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, welcomed the overwhelming support (567 votes in favour, 28 votes against and 6 abstentions) to back the reform of rules to determine which national court has jurisdiction in cross-border cases and how court judgements issued in one EU country are recognised and enforced in another (also known as the "Brussels I reform", see IP/10/1705 and MEMO/10/677).
"Removing bureaucratic obstacles, extra costs and the legal uncertainty of having 27 different and often contradictory systems makes the single market more attractive. This is a very good example of how justice policies can stimulate growth," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "This reform will save time and money for businesses and consumers because judgements from one EU Member State will be automatically recognised in another EU Member State. It is a small revolution for the European area of justice which brings us closer to the model of the U.S. Single Market, where, in the words of the U.S. Constitution, judicial proceedings are given ‘full faith and credit’ in every other state of the union.
“I would like to thank the rapporteur Mr Zwiefka and his colleagues in the European Parliament for their hard work in getting these important proposals approved and I look forward to their swift adoption under the Cypriot EU Presidency."
The legislation proposed by the Commission in December 2010 aims to strengthen the Single Market and cut red tape. It proposes to abolish the costly "exequatur" procedure which requires companies to first go through a time-consuming and costly procedure in courts to get a judgement in civil and commercial matters recognised in another EU country. Abolishing this administrative procedure is expected to save businesses and consumers up to EUR 48 million a year. Today's vote by the European Parliament plenary follows the positive vote by the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) on 11 October 2012 (MEMO/12/775) which endorsed the reforms. The draft legislation will now pass to the Council for final adoption, expected to take place at the next Council of Justice Ministers in December 2012.
For more information
European Commission – recognition and enforcement of judgements
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