Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Official Journal Reference

L 115 of 2002-05-01

Legislative Reference

743/2002/EC of 2002-04-25
The objective of this programme is to promote judicial cooperation in civil matter, to improve mutual knowledge of Members States' legal and judicial systems, to ensure sound implementation and application of Community instruments and to improve information to the public on access to legal systems.


The European Union has set itself the objective of maintaining and developing an area of freedom, security and justice, in which the free movement of persons is assured. To that end, the Community must adopt, among others, measures in the field of judicial cooperation in civil matters necessary for the proper functioning of the internal market. The general Community framework for activities should provide for initiatives taken by the Commission, in compliance with the principle of subsidiarity, for actions in support of organisations promoting and facilitating judicial cooperation in civil matters, and for actions in support of specific projects. The Commission's actions could include specific actions, such as studies, research, seminars, conferences, experts' meetings, publications, manuals, databases and/or websites, as well as measures to disseminate the results of projects co-financed under the general Community framework for activities.

A general Community framework for activities to improve mutual understanding of the legal and judicial systems of the Member States will contribute to lowering the barriers to judicial cooperation in civil matters, which will improve the functioning of the internal market. Measures to ensure good use is made of Community instruments in the area of judicial cooperation in civil matters are necessary; they will be more effective if they are coordinated within a general Community framework for activities. The participation in this general Community framework for activities of the candidate countries for accession to the European Union will provide a useful preparation for accession, in particular as regards these countries' ability to apply the Community acquis..
This Regulation shall not apply to Denmark.


Activities given financial support or carried out under this general framework for activities shall meet at least one of the objectives and shall consist of:
_ Specific actions taken by the Commission or;
_ Actions providing financial support for specific projects of Community interest or;
_ Actions providing financial support for the activities of nongovernmental organizations

The specific projects shall consist of one or more of the following:
_ Training;
_ Exchanges and work experience placements;
_ Studies and research;
_ Meetings and seminars;
_ Dissemination of information.

Projects may be submitted by institutions and public or private organisations, including professional organisations, research institutes and legal and judicial training/further training institutes for legal practitioners. 'Legal practitioners' means, inter alia, judges, prosecutors, advocates, solicitors, academic and scientific personnel, ministry officials, court officers, bailiffs, court interpreters and other professionals associated with the judiciary in the area of civil law. To be eligible for co-financing, the projects must involve at least three countries participating in this general framework for activities.Projects may also associate practitioners from Denmark, from the candidate countries where this would contribute to their preparation for accession, or from other third countries not participating in this framework for activities where this serves the aims of the projects.

_ Activities of non-governmental organizations
Financial support may be granted to support activities included in the annual activity programmes of non-governmental organisations which meet the following criteria:
_ They must be non-profit-making organisations;
_ They must be constituted in accordance with the law of one of the Member States;
_ They must pursue activities with a European dimension and involve, as a general rule, at least half of the Member States;
_ The aims of their activities must include one or more of the objectives.


The Commission shall be responsible for the programme and shall publish each year, if possible before 30 June, an annual work programme:
- Setting out the priorities in terms of objectives and types of activities for the following year;
- Giving a description of the actions which the Commission intends to take;
- Including a description of the selection and award criteria and the procedures for submission and approval of proposals for actions.
The Commission shall also adopt the annual work programme.

The Commission shall pay particular attention to the following criteria when evaluating and selecting proposals:
- Ability to contribute to the objectives of the programme;
- Problem-solving orientation;
- European dimension;
- Measures planned to ensure dissemination of results;
- Complementarity with other past, present or future activities;
- Size of the action, in particular in terms of economies of scale and cost-effectiveness
The Commission shall examine each of the draft actions submitted to it. Decisions relating to these actions shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure.

The Commission's financing decisions shall be followed by grant agreements between the Commission and the beneficiaries. The financing decisions and grant agreements arising there from shall be subject to financial control by the Commission and to audits by the Court of Auditors. The Commission shall ensure the regular monitoring and supervision of the implementation of the actions financed by the Community. Monitoring and supervision shall be done on the basis of reports using procedures agreed between the Commission and the beneficiary. These may include checks in situ by means of sampling. Beneficiaries shall submit a report to the Commission for each action within three months of its completion. The Commission shall determine the form of this report, including the type of information that must be included in it. Beneficiaries of financial support shall keep at the Commission's disposal all the documentary evidence of expenditure for a period of five years from the last payment concerning an action.

The Commission shall ensure the yearly publication of a list of the beneficiaries and of the activities financed under this general framework, including an indication of the amount of the support. At the beginning of each year, the Commission shall provide the Committee with information on the activities undertaken in the previous year. The Commission shall be assisted by a Committee and the Committee shall adopt its rules of procedure.

The Commission may terminate a grant agreement concluded under the general framework if it detects irregularities, or if obligations under the grant agreement are not met. If irregularities are detected or if obligations under a grant agreement are not met, the Commission may suspend payment of the balance of the financial support. The Commission shall ask the beneficiary to explain or rectify the situation within a reasonable period set by the Commission. If the reply is not satisfactory or if the situation is not rectified, the Commission may terminate the grant agreement and ask for the sums already disbursed to be refunded, with payment of default interest. If some of the obligations under the agreement are not met, the Commission may reduce the balance of financial support and ask for part of any sum already disbursed to be refunded, with payment of default interest.

The Commission shall report to the European Parliament and to the Council by 30 June 2004 at the latest on the implementation of this general framework, including the results of the control, the reports and the monitoring of the activities. The Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and the Council an evaluation report on this general framework to be available in time for a possible renewal of the general framework or by 31 December 2005 at the latest. This report will include an evaluation of cost-effectiveness and an assessment, based on performance indicators, of whether the objectives have been achieved.
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