European Parliament Legal Affairs committee workshop on common minimum standards in civil procedure

On June 15th 2016 the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee held a workshop on common minimum standards in civil procedure in the EU. The meeting was yet another contribution to shaping the future of harmonisation of civil procedures at the EU level. Both the Commission and the Parliament are currently looking at the possibility of establishing a legislative measure containing a set of minimum standards in civil procedure, perhaps following the example of such standards having recently been drafted for criminal procedure. Before any concrete measure is proposed, questions of scope of the constitutional power of the EU to legislate in this area, the scope of the measure, and its potential effects must be addressed.

The June meeting was attended by MEPs, European Commission's official, the ELI (European Law Institute), the ENCJ (European Network of Councils for the Judiciary), the HCCH (The Hague Conference on Private International Law), and scholars (including Professor Burkhard Hess and Professor Neil Andrews). It also included presentation (by Dr Magdalena Tulibacka) of the findings of a Report on the European Added Value of common minimum standards in civil procedure conducted for the Research Service of the European Parliament and the JURI Committee. The Report was written by Dr Tulibacka, with Roland Blomeyer and Margarita Sanz of Blomeyer & Sanz. It addressed the following issues: whether and why action at the EU level may be necessary (comprehensively reviewing the existing common standards in operation in the EU at present, identifying gaps and recommending changes), what powers the EU has to adopt legislation on common minimum standards in civil procedure, and the costs and benefits of EU action. Importantly, the Report set out three different options for EU action on common minimum standards, and proposed that the current limited understanding of ‘matters with cross-border implications’ that define the EU power to legislate in this area be broadened. Thus, ultimately it offered an opportunity to propose EU-wide standards in civil procedure applicable to cross-border as well as domestic litigation.

The Report will form part of the (forthcoming) European Parliament’s legislative initiative report (2015/2084 (INL)) by the MEP Emil Radev (EPP, Bulgaria).

It is clear from the comments and presentations at the meeting that the matter is complex, and the issues of legislative competence, scope, and effects are not yet agreed upon, even between the Commission and the Parliament.

The programme of the meeting, the key presentations, the video streaming of the meeting, are available on the following website:

The Report is available at the following link:


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