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In June 2007, the Justice and Home Affairs Council decided that work should be carried out with the aim of using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the area of justice. It was to add to the already functioning: European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters, the European Judicial Network in Criminal Law Matters or the Interconnection of Criminal Records, as well as networking of business registers interconnected through EBR and land registers interconnected through EULIS. The Working Party on Legal Data Processing (e-Justice) was set up. In June 2008 Commission published a Communication to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee entitled Towards a European e-Justice Strategy. The Parliament also adopted a resolution on e-Justice (December 2008). See also the opinion of the Parliamentary Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. E-justice is part of a wider initiative on e-government, and now for the purposes of EU-level activities it has been renamed: ‘European e-Justice’. European e-Justice has been set up as a series of initiatives which are ‘a step on the way to creating a European Judicial Area’. See a draft European e-Justice action plan prepared by the Presidency, taking into account the communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee entitled Towards a European e-Justice Strategy and comments made by delegations at the meeting of the Working Party on Legal Data Processing (e-Justice) on 15-16 September and 30-31 October 2008 (http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/08/st15/st15315.en08.pdf).

The aim is to establish a European e-Justice portal by the end of 2009.

LATEST: On 30 March 2009 the Council adopted the Multi-Annual European E-Justice Action Plan 2009 – 2013 (2009/C 75/01). The Action Plan sets up a framework of European E-Justice activities (including their financing and their technical aspects), which would accompany Member States’ E-justice activities. E-justice has been renamed European E-justice to reflect the European dimension of the project in contrast to purely national projects. The E-justice portal will provide access to the whole European e-justice system (European and national information websites and services).

The Plan emphasized that the project will have a horizontal reach: including civil, administrative and criminal justice. The project will be coordinated by the Council Working Party on E-Justice, and the legislative work will be relevant Council Working Parties: for example the Committee on Civil Law Matters.