EU feedback period is open! The roadmap to modernising judicial cooperation between EU countries – use of digital technology


Last week, the EAPIL blog published a post on the EU feedback period on modernising judicial cooperation between EU countries – use of digital technology (see here). This feedback period is open until 5 February 2021 (midnight Brussels time) and may be provided by clicking here.  A possible future type of act is a proposal for a regulation.

The relevant documents are: the Inception impact assessment – Ares(2021)172677 (available on the feedback page) and the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

In general, the objective and target groups of such feedbacks are: “Inception Impact Assessments aim to inform citizens and stakeholders about the Commission’s plans in order to allow them to provide  feedback  on  the  intended  initiative  and  to  participate  effectively  in  future  consultation  activities. Citizens  and stakeholders  are  in  particular  invited  to  provide  views  on  the  Commission’s  understanding  of  the  problem  and  possible solutions  and  to  make  available  any  relevant  information  that  they  may  have,  including  on  possible  impacts  of  the  different options.” But it is possible for non-EU citizens to provide feedback.

Apparently, an official public consultation – by way of a questionnaire – is upcoming (although there seems to be a mistake on the year on the website).

As stated on the EU website, the summary of this initiative is the following:

“This initiative aims to make judicial cooperation in cross-border cases throughout the EU more efficient and more resilient to crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will make it mandatory for the authorities involved in each country to use digital technology, instead of paper, to communicate.

It will improve access to justice by ensuring that individuals, businesses and legal practitioners involved in cases can communicate digitally with the competent authorities in the other countries.”


It is worth noting the following excerpt of the Impact Assessment about the likely economic impacts:

“Positive. The initiative could require new investment from EU countries to develop the necessary infrastructure that can interact with e-CODEX. Investment  would  depend  on  the  current national level  of digitalisation, level  of involvement  in the e-CODEX  project, the  interoperability  of  solutions  implemented by EU countries and  the possibility under national law to allow for electronic transmissions. However, in the long run, digitalization of justice would significantly decrease the costs incurred by national justice systems in cross-border procedures.

To  address cost  concerns,  the initiative could  also propose that  the  Commission  develops  and  provides EU countries with a reference implementation software solution (back-end portal) for their national use.

As mentioned in the Communication on the digitalization of justice, the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework and financial instruments for Next Generation EU could also provide funding.

The EU countries could reduce costs by re-using the infrastructure being developed for the European Investigation Order in criminal proceedings (eEDES) and for Service of Documents and Taking of Evidence also for other judicial cooperation instruments.

With  its  potential  to substantially cut  the cost of participating in cross-border  cases,  the  initiative would also directly  benefit citizens  and  businesses  (including small/medium  firms)  concerned  by  the various  EU civil  law instruments. Use  of  these  instruments  (e.g. the  European  Small  Claims  procedure  and  European Order for Payment) by citizens, businesses and legal practitioners would also increase, through the new electronic access point.”

The EU press release is available here.