BETA


2002/0020(CNS) Access to justice, cross-border disputes: legal aid, financial aspects of civil proceedings

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead LIBE SANTINI Giacomo (icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE)
Committee Opinion JURI WALLIS Diana (icon: ELDR ELDR)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
EC Treaty (after Amsterdam) EC 061

Events

2012/02/23
   EC - Follow-up document
Details

The Commission presents a report on its assessment of the application of the Directive 2003/8/EC on access to justice in cross border disputes by establishing minimum common rules relating to legal aid. The report covers the period of 30 April 2004 to 31 December 2010.

Transposition: all Member States bound by the Directive have transposed the right to legal aid in cross border cases in civil and commercial matters, although it can be observed that not all provisions of the Directive have been perfectly implemented. These difficulties are explained principally by the fact that the provisions of the Directive are sometimes different from national provisions concerning legal aid.

Practical application : during the period 2004-2009 the number of persons benefitting from cross border legal aid has increased only to a limited extent. According to the data available, the total number of cross-border legal aid applications processed by any Member State only twice reached 10029. A Eurobarometer report shows that awareness of cross-border legal aid in civil and commercial matters amounts to 12% in respondents in the EU27. The report also states that the situation may also be explained by the lack of knowledge of the instrument among legal professionals, and the restricted scope of the Directive, which is limited to civil and commercial matters. The report also observes that differences in interpretation were noted as regards:

· the definition of the scope of the Directive, i.e. civil and commercial cases;

· the conditions for the grant of legal aid: differences in the cost of living between Member States were taken into consideration by the Directive but there are no objective criteria specifying the way in which these differences should be taken into account;

· costs covered by the Directive: arrangements for the choice and designation of a legal advisor differ significantly between Member States.

Points of reflection

Economic criteria to benefit from legal aid : the report notes that there are cases where the claimant obtains from the court of his domicile a confirmation that under national rules he would be eligible for legal aid but the competent court deprives him of it. Two solutions could be considered:

· taking into account the difference in the cost of living between Member States, the eligibility and the amount of legal aid could be calculated on the basis of a common and objective criteria or on the basis of the criteria applied in the usual place of residence of the person applying for legal aid, or

· harmonisation of the economic level or mutual recognition of thresholds.

Costs not covered currently : the report observes that since travelling costs lie outside the scope of the Directive, an applicant may be deprived of legal aid, even if he is entitled to it in his Member State of residence.

Facilitation of relationship between legal professionals and beneficiaries : this could be through measures such as: (i) the designation of a professional who speaks the language of the beneficiary, (ii) the assistance of a translator, or even the designation of a second professional from the State of the legal aid recipient, who would serve as a link and, for example, conduct correspondence with the legal professional based in another State.

Clarity as to the whereabouts of the competent authority : it appears to be advisable to designate a single receiving and transmitting authority in each Member State in order to facilitate the implementation of the Directive. This is particularly important in the situation when the legal aid application is submitted directly to the competent authority of the Member State in which the court is sitting or where the decision is to be enforced. As the Directive does not regulate the issue of what happens if the application is submitted to the incorrect receiving agency, discrepancies in such situation may arise.

Scrutiny of the same application by two authorities with two possibly different results : the Directive provides two ways of submitting the application for legal aid, and the report notes that this may create confusion as it is possible that the receiving authority may reject the application although the transmitting authority would consider it as founded, or vice versa. Conclusions: the Commission notes the insufficient knowledge about the provisions of the Directive among citizens, legal professionals and national legal boards, and encourages efficient and active promotion of the Directive through providing the general public and professionals with information on the various systems of legal aid under the Directive, and will step up its own efforts in this regard.

Further to the points of reflection, the Commission will take into account the reactions to this Report in its considerations for actions, as appropriate.

Lastly, as regards the legal aid policy with third countries , the Commission will consider the accession of the EU to the 1980 Hague Convention on Access to Justice, particularly as the EU is a member of the Hague Conference. Such a step could be desirable as it would enable the uniform application of the Convention through the Union and could attract the accession of other states.

2012/02/23
   EC - Follow-up document
2003/01/31
   Final act published in Official Journal
2003/01/27
   EP/CSL - Act adopted by Council after consultation of Parliament
2003/01/27
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2003/01/27
   CSL - Council Meeting
2002/12/19
   all - Additional information
2002/12/02
   CSL - Debate in Council
Documents
2002/12/02
   CSL - Council Meeting
2002/10/14
   CSL - Council Meeting
2002/09/25
   EP - Text adopted by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2002/09/25
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Documents
2002/09/23
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2002/09/16
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2002/09/12
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading
Documents
2002/09/12
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2002/09/12
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading
Documents
2002/07/26
   CSL - Supplementary legislative basic document
Documents
2002/07/02
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2002/06/13
   CSL - Debate in Council
Documents
2002/06/13
   CSL - Council Meeting
2002/05/29
   ESC - Economic and Social Committee: opinion, report
2002/02/26
   EP - WALLIS Diana (ELDR) appointed as rapporteur in JURI
2002/02/07
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2002/01/28
   EP - SANTINI Giacomo (PPE-DE) appointed as rapporteur in LIBE
2002/01/18
   EC - Legislative proposal
2002/01/18
   EC - Legislative proposal published

Documents

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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commission
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docs
  • date: 2002-01-18T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2002/0013/COM_COM(2002)0013_EN.pdf title: COM(2002)0013 url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=EN&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2002&nu_doc=13 title: EUR-Lex url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/JOHtml.do?uri=OJ:C:2002:103E:SOM:EN:HTML title: OJ C 103 30.04.2002, p. 0368 E summary: type: Legislative proposal body: EC
  • date: 2002-05-29T00:00:00 docs: url: https://dm.eesc.europa.eu/EESCDocumentSearch/Pages/redresults.aspx?k=(documenttype:AC)(documentnumber:0687)(documentyear:2002)(documentlanguage:EN) title: CES0687/2002 url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:C:2002:221:TOC title: OJ C 221 17.09.2002, p. 0064 type: Economic and Social Committee: opinion, report body: ESC
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  • date: 2002-09-12T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A5-2002-312&language=EN title: A5-0312/2002 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2002-09-16T00:00:00 docs: title: PE319.691/DEF committee: JURI type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2002-09-25T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P5-TA-2002-441 title: T5-0441/2002 url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/JOHtml.do?uri=OJ:C:2003:273E:SOM:EN:HTML title: OJ C 273 14.11.2003, p. 0131-0184 E summary: type: Text adopted by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2012-02-23T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/registre/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2012/0071/COM_COM(2012)0071_EN.pdf title: COM(2012)0071 url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=EN&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2012&nu_doc=71 title: EUR-Lex summary: The Commission presents a report on its assessment of the application of the Directive 2003/8/EC on access to justice in cross border disputes by establishing minimum common rules relating to legal aid. The report covers the period of 30 April 2004 to 31 December 2010. Transposition: all Member States bound by the Directive have transposed the right to legal aid in cross border cases in civil and commercial matters, although it can be observed that not all provisions of the Directive have been perfectly implemented. These difficulties are explained principally by the fact that the provisions of the Directive are sometimes different from national provisions concerning legal aid. Practical application : during the period 2004-2009 the number of persons benefitting from cross border legal aid has increased only to a limited extent. According to the data available, the total number of cross-border legal aid applications processed by any Member State only twice reached 10029. A Eurobarometer report shows that awareness of cross-border legal aid in civil and commercial matters amounts to 12% in respondents in the EU27. The report also states that the situation may also be explained by the lack of knowledge of the instrument among legal professionals, and the restricted scope of the Directive, which is limited to civil and commercial matters. The report also observes that differences in interpretation were noted as regards: · the definition of the scope of the Directive, i.e. civil and commercial cases; · the conditions for the grant of legal aid: differences in the cost of living between Member States were taken into consideration by the Directive but there are no objective criteria specifying the way in which these differences should be taken into account; · costs covered by the Directive: arrangements for the choice and designation of a legal advisor differ significantly between Member States. Points of reflection Economic criteria to benefit from legal aid : the report notes that there are cases where the claimant obtains from the court of his domicile a confirmation that under national rules he would be eligible for legal aid but the competent court deprives him of it. Two solutions could be considered: · taking into account the difference in the cost of living between Member States, the eligibility and the amount of legal aid could be calculated on the basis of a common and objective criteria or on the basis of the criteria applied in the usual place of residence of the person applying for legal aid, or · harmonisation of the economic level or mutual recognition of thresholds. Costs not covered currently : the report observes that since travelling costs lie outside the scope of the Directive, an applicant may be deprived of legal aid, even if he is entitled to it in his Member State of residence. Facilitation of relationship between legal professionals and beneficiaries : this could be through measures such as: (i) the designation of a professional who speaks the language of the beneficiary, (ii) the assistance of a translator, or even the designation of a second professional from the State of the legal aid recipient, who would serve as a link and, for example, conduct correspondence with the legal professional based in another State. Clarity as to the whereabouts of the competent authority : it appears to be advisable to designate a single receiving and transmitting authority in each Member State in order to facilitate the implementation of the Directive. This is particularly important in the situation when the legal aid application is submitted directly to the competent authority of the Member State in which the court is sitting or where the decision is to be enforced. As the Directive does not regulate the issue of what happens if the application is submitted to the incorrect receiving agency, discrepancies in such situation may arise. Scrutiny of the same application by two authorities with two possibly different results : the Directive provides two ways of submitting the application for legal aid, and the report notes that this may create confusion as it is possible that the receiving authority may reject the application although the transmitting authority would consider it as founded, or vice versa. Conclusions: the Commission notes the insufficient knowledge about the provisions of the Directive among citizens, legal professionals and national legal boards, and encourages efficient and active promotion of the Directive through providing the general public and professionals with information on the various systems of legal aid under the Directive, and will step up its own efforts in this regard. Further to the points of reflection, the Commission will take into account the reactions to this Report in its considerations for actions, as appropriate. Lastly, as regards the legal aid policy with third countries , the Commission will consider the accession of the EU to the 1980 Hague Convention on Access to Justice, particularly as the EU is a member of the Hague Conference. Such a step could be desirable as it would enable the uniform application of the Convention through the Union and could attract the accession of other states. type: Follow-up document body: EC
  • date: 2012-02-23T00:00:00 docs: url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SWD:2012:0020:FIN:EN:PDF title: EUR-Lex title: SWD(2012)0020 type: Follow-up document body: EC
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  • body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: Former Council configuration
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PreLex
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activities/3/committees/1/rapporteur/0/mepref
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committees/1/rapporteur/0/mepref
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activities
  • date: 2002-01-18T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/registre/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2002/0013/COM_COM(2002)0013_EN.pdf title: COM(2002)0013 type: Legislative proposal published celexid: CELEX:52002PC0013:EN body: EC type: Legislative proposal published commission: DG: url: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/ title: Justice
  • date: 2002-02-07T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2002-02-26T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs and Internal Market rapporteur: group: ELDR name: WALLIS Diana body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2002-01-28T00:00:00 committee_full: Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: SANTINI Giacomo
  • body: CSL meeting_id: 2436 docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=2436*&MEET_DATE=13/06/2002 type: Debate in Council title: 2436 council: Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) date: 2002-06-13T00:00:00 type: Council Meeting
  • body: EP committees: body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2002-02-26T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs and Internal Market rapporteur: group: ELDR name: WALLIS Diana body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2002-01-28T00:00:00 committee_full: Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: SANTINI Giacomo docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A5-2002-312&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading title: A5-0312/2002 date: 2002-09-12T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
  • date: 2002-09-23T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20020923&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament body: EP type: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2002-09-25T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P5-TA-2002-441 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T5-0441/2002 body: EP type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
  • date: 2002-10-14T00:00:00 body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) meeting_id: 2455
  • body: CSL meeting_id: 2470 docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=2470*&MEET_DATE=02/12/2002 type: Debate in Council title: 2470 council: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs date: 2002-12-02T00:00:00 type: Council Meeting
  • date: 2002-12-19T00:00:00 body: all type: Additional information
  • date: 2003-01-27T00:00:00 body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: General Affairs meeting_id: 2482
  • date: 2003-01-27T00:00:00 body: EP type: End of procedure in Parliament
  • date: 2003-01-27T00:00:00 body: EP/CSL type: Act adopted by Council after consultation of Parliament
  • date: 2003-01-31T00:00:00 type: Final act published in Official Journal docs: url: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=EN&numdoc=32003L0008 title: Directive 2003/8 url: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2003:026:TOC title: OJ L 026 31.01.2003, p. 0041-0047
committees
  • body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2002-02-26T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs and Internal Market rapporteur: group: ELDR name: WALLIS Diana
  • body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2002-01-28T00:00:00 committee_full: Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: SANTINI Giacomo
links
European Commission
other
  • body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: Former Council configuration
  • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/ title: Justice
procedure
dossier_of_the_committee
LIBE/5/15810
reference
2002/0020(CNS)
subtype
Legislation
legal_basis
EC Treaty (after Amsterdam) EC 061
stage_reached
Procedure completed
instrument
Directive
title
Access to justice, cross-border disputes: legal aid, financial aspects of civil proceedings
type
CNS - Consultation procedure
final
subject