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Cooperation in civil matters

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Judicial cooperation in civil matters has been established in the Community framework since 1999 and aims for closer cooperation between Member States in order to minimise obstacles emerging from the existence of various legal systems.


Cooperation in civil matters

Judicial cooperation in civil matters aims to establish close cooperation between the authorities of the Member States in order to eliminate any obstacles deriving from incompatibilities between the various legal and administrative systems.

Initially governed by international conventions, judicial cooperation in civil matters was included in the Maastricht Treaty as a 'matter of common interest', and subsequently in the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997), which places judicial cooperation in civil matters at Community level by associating it with the free movement of persons.

The European Council held in its 1999 Link opens in new windowTampere conclusions that “in a genuine European area of justice individuals and businesses should not be prevented or discouraged from exercising their rights by the incompatibility or complexity of legal and administrative systems in the Member States”. This confirmed their commitment to establishing a genuine area of justice “where people can approach courts and authorities in any Member State as easily as in their own”. This has been reconfirmed in the Link opens in new window2004 Hague Programme in order to strengthen justice as well as  by the European Commission in the so- called Link opens in new window2009 Stockholm Programme.

The principle of mutual recognition is the cornerstone of judicial cooperation. The goal is that judicial decisions should be recognised and enforced in another Member State without any additional intermediate step, in other words, suppression of exequatur.

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Last update: 22/10/2013