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Taking of evidence in civil and commercial matters

Taking of evidence in civil and commercial matters

 

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 on cooperation between the courts of the EU countries in taking evidence in civil or commercial matters

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?

It aims to improve the effectiveness and speed of cross-border judicial proceedings in civil and commercial cases by simplifying and streamlining procedures for taking evidence.

KEY POINTS

The regulation applies in civil and commercial matters when a court* (‘requesting court’) either asks a court in another EU country (‘requested court’) to take evidence or wishes to do so directly itself.

Requests to obtain evidence are:

  • used only in judicial proceedings already underway or being considered;
  • submitted, in an official EU language, on a standard form containing all the necessary details;
  • transmitted through a secure and reliable decentralised IT system that respects fundamental rights and freedoms;
  • acknowledged to have been received within 7 days by the court;
  • processed under different deadlines if the request is incomplete or the requested court does not have the necessary jurisdiction.

A court requested to take evidence:

  • acts without delay and, at the latest, within 90 days;
  • may use video- or tele-conferencing if asked to do so by the requesting court and its national law allows it;
  • allows the parties and their representatives, including those of the requesting court, to attend when evidence is taken if that right exists in the country of the requesting court;
  • may reject the request if:
    • the person to be examined invokes the right to refuse to give evidence or is banned by law from doing so,
    • the application does not comply with the regulation or is outside the court’s competence,
    • the requesting court does not provide any additional information required or a deposit within the necessary deadlines.

A court looking to take evidence itself directly in another EU country:

  • contacts the country’s central body or competent authority which within 30 days accepts or rejects the request and may attach conditions and assign a particular court;
  • may use video-conferencing or another form of distance communication to question the person concerned.

In general, a court asked to take evidence may not claim reimbursement from the requesting court for taxes or costs, but may do so to cover:

  • fees for experts and interpreters, including a deposit or an advance towards the likely costs of the former;
  • the expense of video- or tele-conferencing.

EU countries:

  • designate a central body to:
    • supply information to courts,
    • sort out any difficulties that may arise,
    • forward, in exceptional cases, requests to the competent court;
  • provide the European Commission with practical information, such as the details of the central bodies and competent authorities;
  • cover the costs of installing, operating and maintaining the national IT systems used.

The Commission:

  • draws up and updates an electronic manual of practical information it receives from national authorities;
  • may adopt delegated and implementing acts on technical aspects of the legislation;
  • is responsible for creating, maintaining, developing and financing software that national authorities may use instead of their national IT system;
  • establishes, by 2 July 2023, a detailed programme to monitor the output, results and impact of the regulation;
  • submits an evaluation report to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee.

The regulation does not apply in Denmark.

Repeal

Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 repeals and replaces Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001 (see summary).

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It applies from 1 July 2022.

Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 revises and replaces Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001 (and its subsequent amendments), notably through the use of digitalisation and modern technology to speed up processes and reduce costs and delays for individuals and businesses.

BACKGROUND

  • Judicial civil procedures cover matters such as contracts, property, succession and family and company law. By 2018, some 3.4 million civil and commercial court cases involved more than one EU country.
  • For more information, see:

KEY TERMS

Court: any national authority that may take evidence (i.e. not only judicial bodies).

MAIN DOCUMENT

Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2020 on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters (taking of evidence) (recast) (OJ L 405, 2.12.2020, pp. 1-39)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Council Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001 of 28 May 2001 on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters (OJ L 174, 27.6.2001, pp. 1-24)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 26.01.2021

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