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An in-depth look at EU mutual recognition in civil justice

The EU brings many cross-border benefits to its citizens from different Member States, including cross-border cooperation between compatible legal and justice systems based on the principle of mutual recognition. Examining this concept will help iron out inconsistencies.
An in-depth look at EU mutual recognition in civil justice
Over and above its many pillars such as freedom of movement, the EU is also a union of justice that supports citizens in cross-border litigation. The principle of mutual recognition and direct judicial cooperation between national courts is required to ensure this premise.

Within the bloc, courts that deal in different policy areas of civil justice are bound to the idea of mutual recognition and trust. This has raised the issue of ensuring that due process and access to justice are also valid under the premise of free movement – i.e. when citizens travel to another EU Member State.

In this vein, the EU-funded RECLAIM (The legitimacy of mutual recognition as a regulatory strategy for the policy area of civil justice in the EU) project investigated whether the different goals of civil justice are compatible with free movement. It looked at how key measures, e-justice tools and established networks support mutual recognition, and investigated pressures that arise from increasingly harmonised civil procedures.

To achieve its aims, the project espoused an interdisciplinary approach, exploring issues related to mutual recognition and fostering dialogue on the legitimacy of European integration in the areas of justice, freedom and security.

Intensive research on the subject led to the publication of numerous papers and participation in events on the topic. The project also co-organised a workshop titled ‘The Principle of Subsidiarity - What Next?’ Another project initiative was participation in and co-organising a session at the Council of European Studies’ (CES) annual conference in Philadelphia, the United States, on mutual trust. The latter event was interdisciplinary in nature, bringing together economists, lawyers and political scientists.

Importantly, the project team produced a variety of book chapters, working papers and articles that investigate topics such as mutual recognition, civil justice, mutual trust, alternative dispute resolution and e-justice. Most of these were published in English, with some in Swedish, vigorously disseminating RECLAIM’s findings and outcomes.

More funding has been secured to continue this valuable work beyond the project’s end. Such initiatives are important to strengthen policymaking and mutual recognition across the EU.

Related information

Keywords

Mutual recognition, civil justice, cross-border litigation, RECLAIM, mutual trust
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