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Facilitating judicial cooperation in civil matters

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Facilitating judicial cooperation in civil matters

This regulation establishes a general framework for Community activities to facilitate judicial cooperation in civil matters. Such activities include actions in support of organisations promoting and facilitating judicial cooperation in civil matters and actions in support of specific projects.


Council Regulation (EC) No 743/2002 of 25 April 2002 establishing a general Community framework of activities to facilitate the implementation of judicial cooperation in civil matters.


This regulation aims to establish a general framework for Community activities for the period from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2006 to facilitate judicial cooperation in civil matters. The European Commission put forward a proposal on 6 April 2005 to establish for the period 2007-13 the specific “Civil justice” programme as part of the general “Fundamental Rights and Justice” programme (see “related acts”).

This regulation is not applicable in Denmark. The United Kingdom and Ireland, on the other hand, expressed their wish to participate in the adoption and application of this regulation (in accordance with the Protocols on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland annexed to the EU and EC Treaties).

Providing grants, working towards the programme’s objectives

The programme’s objectives are to:

  • promote judicial cooperation in civil matters with a view to ensuring legal certainty and improving access to justice;
  • improve mutual knowledge of legal and judicial systems between European Union (EU) countries;
  • ensure the sound implementation and application of Community instruments in the area of judicial cooperation in civil matters;
  • improve information to the public on access to justice, judicial cooperation and the legal systems of EU countries.

As regards the activities supported, the general framework is to provide:

  • grants for co-financed projects that meet at least one of the objectives;
  • grants to cover the running costs of European non-governmental organisations;
  • funding for actions set up by the Commission of its own motion.

Providing grants for private and public institutions

This regulation provides for grants for the activities of non-governmental organisations and for specific projects submitted by institutions and public or private organisations.

Non-governmental organisations may be granted financial support if they meet specified criteria:

  • they must be non-profit-making organisations, established under the law of one of the EU countries;
  • they must pursue activities with a European dimension, involving, as a general rule, at least half of the EU countries;
  • they must pursue activities with a view to promoting judicial cooperation in civil matters.

Specific projects may be submitted by institutions and public or private organisations, including professional organisations, research institutes, etc. They must consist of training, exchanges and work experience placements, studies and research, meetings and seminars or dissemination of information.

Article 4 of the regulation provides for this general framework to be opened up to include the participation of the candidate countries of central and eastern Europe, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, and other countries, subject to various conditions and if the relevant agreements and procedures permit. This article is no longer applicable to the ten new EU countries that joined the Union on 1 May 2004.

Ensuring implementation of the Community activity framework

To ensure implementation of the framework for activities, the Commission, if possible before 30 June each year, is to publish an annual work programme setting out the priorities in terms of objectives and types of activities for the following year.

The Commission is responsible for the evaluation and selection of projects, having regard to a series of priority criteria (the European dimension, ability to contribute to the objectives set, complementarity with other activities, etc.).

All financing decisions are subject to financial control by the Commission and to audits by the Court of Auditors. The proportion of financial support from the general budget of the EU should in principle not exceed 60% of the total cost of the actions undertaken. However, under exceptional circumstances, financial support may amount to 80%.

The Commission is to ensure the yearly publication of a list of recipients and actions financed to ensure transparency. Recipients are to report to the Commission on each action. The Commission may reduce, suspend or recover financial support granted for an activity if it detects irregularities.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 743/2002



OJ L 115 of 1.5.2002


Decision No 1149/2007/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 September 2007 establishing for the period 2007-2013 the Specific Programme “Civil Justice” as part of the General Programme “Fundamental Rights and Justice” [Official Journal L 257 of 3.10.2007].

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 9 February 2005 on the implementation of the framework programme for judicial cooperation in civil matters (2002-2006) [COM(2005) 34 – Not published in the Official Journal]. This report documents the programme’s progress from its adoption in 2002 to 30 June 2004. The Commission’s actions, which aimed to inform legal practitioners and the general public of progress made in the field of cooperation in civil matters (e.g. the European Judicial Atlas in Civil Matters, the case-law database under the “Brussels I” and “Brussels II” and an information campaign aimed at legal practitioners), have been very well received. However, the 2002, 2003 and 2004 calls for proposals for specific civil-society projects attracted a limited amount of interest, probably owing to the available budget. 51 of the 106 proposals were accepted.

Last updated: 18.08.2010