Commission welcomes political agreement on further digitalising EU judicial systems to improve cross-border cooperation

The European Commission welcomes the provisional agreement reached yesterday by the European Parliament and the Council on the new EU rules on digitalisation of judicial cooperation and access to justice in cross-border civil, commercial and criminal matters, proposed by the Commission in December 2021.

These new rules will make the cross-border judicial cooperation in the EU more efficient and resilient. Responsible national authorities will be obliged to use electronic means of communication, with certain well-defined exceptions. This will allow individuals and businesses to communicate with courts and other judicial authorities electronically. In addition, the new rules will enable oral hearings to be held remotely through videoconferencing, in both civil and criminal cases. The legislation will also ensure that there are no legal obstacles to the transfer requests, documents and data by digital means between the judicial authorities of different Member States.

Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, said: “Crime does not stop at a border; neither should justice. The new law makes the best use of digital solutions to help citizens and businesses to speed up and facilitate justice proceedings. Also, it will equip judicial authorities with swift and secure means to exchange needed information. This is EU at its best: solving real problems and improving lives of Europeans.”

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said: “This Regulation takes judicial cooperation to a different level by making it resilient, reliable, secure and significantly faster. At the same time, the new rules will improve access to justice tremendously by making it possible for citizens and companies to choose between the traditional and the digital channels for communication and by allowing remote participation in hearings which will eliminate the disadvantages created by physical distance from the court.”

The European Parliament and the Council will now need to formally adopt yesterday’s political agreement. More information can be found online.