Xandra Kramer co-edited a the book Delivering Justice: A Holistic and Multidisciplinary Approach, Liber Amicorum in Honour of Christopher Hodges (Hart Publishing 2022), together with Stefaan Voet, Lorenz Kodderitzsch, Magdalena Tulibacka and Burkhard Hess. The book contains 23 chapters dedicated to the key topics Prof. Hodges has worked on, including collective redress, consumer dispute resolution, court reform and new technologies and ethical business regulation. The book was presented to Christopher Hodges OBE at the ADR Conference at Oxford University on 9-10 November 2022.
Xandra Kramer co-edited a the book Delivering Justice: A Holistic and Multidisciplinary Approach, Liber Amicorum in Honour of Christopher Hodges (Hart Publishing 2022), together with Stefaan Voet, Lorenz Kodderitzsch, Magdalena Tulibacka and Burkhard Hess. The book contains 23 chapters dedicated to the key topics Prof. Hodges has worked on, including collective redress, consumer dispute resolution, court reform and new technologies and ethical business regulation. The book was presented to Christopher Hodges OBE at the ADR Conference at Oxford University on 9-10 November 2022.
On 7 December 2022 (10-13 hrs) the team of the Vici project ‘Affordable Access to Justice’ at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University (Rotterdam), organised a fruitful online research seminar ‘Third Party Funding: Trends, Developments and the Future.’
The seminar included two presentations on two of the articles in the recently published special issue of Erasmus Law Review, edited by Vici members Professor Xandra Kramer (Erasmus School of Law) and Associate Professor Masood Ahmed (University of Leicester, UK) on Global Developments and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice. Dr David Capper (Queen’s University, Belfast) and Professor Michale Legg (UNSW, Sydney) presented their respective papers on third party funding in Australia and Ireland.
This seminar kicked off with the launch of the new book Frontiers in Civil Justice - Privatisation, Monetisation and Digitisation (Elgar 2022); an edited collection of essays from the ERC project Building EU Civil Justice. The editors, Xandra Kramer, Jos Hoevenaars, Betül Kas and Erlis Themeli introduced the book and posed questions on the questions on the main themes of the book to Prof. Stefaan Voet (Leuven University).
Carlota Ucín has developed a training site for disseminating her work on public interest litigation, human rights and argumentative theory. The purpose of this project is to be able to transfer this knowledge and help practitioners and judges to better legitimate their actions by supporting their claims and decisions from a human rights perspective.
Therefore, the site has two main sections: a blog and a training platform where courses online will be delivered. The first online activity was the presentation of her book (Juicio a la desigualdad. La defensa de los derechos sociales a través del proceso. Inequality on trial. The defence of social rights through the process, Marcial Pons, Madrid, 2021).
Although the site is for now only available in Spanish it may also be translated into English in the near future.
For visiting the site or getting to know more about it, you can follow this link.
We are happy and proud that our book Frontiers in Civil Justice: Privatisation, Monetisation and Digitisation (eds. Xandra Kramer, Jos Hoevenaars, Betül Kas and Erlis Themeli) has been published by Elgar. It is a volume evolving from the ERC project Building EU Civil Justice, and contains excellent chapters by many colleagues we have worked with in the past years.
The book studies three interrelated frontiers in civil justice from a European and national perspectives, combining theory with policy and insights from practice: the interplay between private and public justice, the digitization of justice, and litigation funding. These current topics are viewed against the backdrop of the requirements of effective access to justice and the overall goal of establishing a sustainable civil justice system in Europe.
The combined works take on a pan-European perspective and zoom in on several European jurisdictions, thereby providing a holistic exploration of current civil justice debates and frontiers. The book includes chapters dedicated to the interaction between public and private justice, the digitisation of both private dispute resolution and court litigation, including the rapid development and use of advanced forms of Artificial Intelligence, and the funding of justice, especially collective actions and settlements by means of private funding and common funds.
Carlota Ucín was invited to participate in a Seminar organised at the University of Barcelona on the topic: Consumer rights and housing, financing and dispute resolution. Her talk ‘Las formas del litigio de interés público y la tutela de los consumidores’ (The shapes of public interest litigation and the effective protection of consumers), focused on the characteristics of public interest litigation in the Global South, the reasons that can explain its evolution and the shapes it adopted in the Argentinean experience. She proposed the importance of applying the ‘public interest approach’ in order to facilitate access to justice of consumers in general and in the cases of housing claims in particular. This debate became particularly timely due to the discussion in Spain of a draft regulation related to the improvement of efficiency in civil procedures.
Our Vici member Adriani Dori will participate in a new project under the auspices of the European Law Institute (ELI) on “Third Party Funding of Litigation” (TPLF). The two-year-long project has been recently approved by the ELI Council. It will be conducted by three reporters (Professor Susanne Augenhofer, Ms Justice Dame Sara Cockerill, and Professor Henrik Rothe) with the support of an International Advisory Committee. The project’s main output will be the development of a set of principles (potentially supplemented by checklists) to identify issues to be considered when entering into a TPLF agreement. Adriani will participate as a project member (together with Mr Joseph Rich). The final outcome is expected in September 2024. More information, as well as regular updates, can be found on the ELI webpage.
Erasmus Law Review Issue on Global Developments and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice
We are happy to announce the publication of the Erasmus Law Review Special Issue on Global Developments and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice (also reported here). This Special Issue contains three contributions from our team members alongside an editorial note by Masood Ahmed and Xandra Kramer.
Firstly, Adriani Dori inquired whether the fact-finding process that supports the preparation of the EU Justice Scoreboard, as well as the data this document displays, conveys reliable and comparable information. Adrian Cordina critically examines, including from a law-and-economics perspective, the main sources of concern leading to the skepticism shown towards TPF in Europe and how the regulatory frameworks of England and Wales, the Netherlands, and Germany in Europe, and at the European Union level, the Representative Actions Directive address such concerns. Finally, in view of the UKSC’s finding of non-infringement of Article 6 ECHR in Coventry v. Lawrence  50, Eduardo Silva de Freitas argued that a more holistic view of the procedural guarantees provided for by Article 6 ECHR is called for to properly assess its infringement, considering mainly the principle of equality of arms.
On 14 July 2022, Xandra Kramer participated in a very well attended webinar on International Commercial courts, organized by the univerties of Bologna, Milan and Verona. Her talk ‘Commercializing Litigation: The Case of the Netherlands Commercial Court’, focused on the reasons why the NCC has been established, international justice competition, the key features of the NCC and the future prospects. While so far the number of cases the NCC has dealt with is limited, change takes time and the quality, efficiency and international outreach of the NCC are promising.
Carlota Ucín has participated in the Conference: ‘Courts as an Arena for Societal Change’ that took place on the 8 and 9 July 2022, at Leiden Law School. In her presentation, she developed some ideas from her recent book: Inequality on trials. The defence of social rights through the judicial process (in Spanish). In particular, she focused on the importance of introducing some reforms within the judicial process to legitimate the role of courts in public interest litigation. She presented the idea of the ‘deliberative legitimacy of courts’ that implies the possibility of opening up the dialogue between interested and affected groups through public hearings as well as enforcing the duty of justification of the judges by applying a scheme of argumentation that includes a more sophisticated proportionality test.
On 10 and 11 July, Jos Hoevenaars participated as a speaker at the meeting of the RCSL Working Group of the Comparative Study of the Legal Professions (WGLP) which was held from 10 till 12 July in Coimbra, Portugal. The working group brought together eminent researchers working on various aspects surrounding professional ethics of both judges and lawyers. Unable to travel to Portugal Jos joined the panel on legal ethics remotely to present his research on the impact of the (increasing) possibility for parties to litigate without the guidance of a legal aid provider on Dutch civil procedure in practice. Through interviews with Dutch subdistrict judges he analyses the extent to which self-representation influences the role of the judge. The research shows how judges seek a balance between their role as neutral arbitrator in a dispute and a more active role necessitated by parties not being represented by a legal aid provider. In doing so, they navigate between process and content, and must constantly balance the trade-off between acting more actively to gather sufficient information for a substantive handling and assessment of the case, on the one hand, and safeguarding the limits of party autonomy and their own (perceived) neutrality, on the other.
Thanks to all the participants and speakers for making the seminar series “Trends and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice” possible! In the course of seven months, we had over 500 registrations for seven seminars with industry and academic experts.
Your support was essential to expand our mission to provide the community with awareness on current issues in litigation costs and funding. We hope to see you again at one of our upcoming workshops, seminars, and conferences!
VICI project team
Carlota Ucin was kindly invited to give a presentation at the Public Interest Clinic at the University of Alicante in Spain. She presented there the shapes that Public Interest Litigation can adopt and the way this can serve access to justice of human rights. This is related to the topic of her recent book: Juicio a la desigualdad, (Inequality on trials, Marcial Pons, 2021).
On 22 June 2022 a hybrid seminar dedicated to Regulation of Third Party Funding in the EU will take place at Erasmus University Rotterdam/online.
This seminar is the last one in a seminar series on Trends and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice organised by the team of the Vici project ‘Affordable Access to Justice’ at Erasmus School of Law. The series kicked off in December 2021 with a general session that addressed several topics of access to justice and costs and funding, including collectiveredress and costs reforms, and a Law & Economics perspective. The second seminar in January 2022 was dedicated to legal mobilisation in the EU. The third one in February addressed the impact of Public Interest Litigation on access to justice, and the fourth one in March litigation funding in Europe from a market perspective. The April seminar zoomed in on austerity policies and litigation costs reforms, and the May session was dedicated to funding and costs of ADR.
Wednesday, 22 June 2022 (14-18 CEST)
For in person participation register here (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
For online participation register here.
14.00 Opening and Welcoming Remarks
Professor Xandra Kramer (Erasmus University Rotterdam/Utrecht University, the Netherlands)
14.10-15.45 Keynote Speech
Professor Geert Van Calster (KU Leuven, Belgium)
Session I – Current Status and the Need for Further Regulation
Chair: Professor Xandra Kramer
• Paulien van der Grinten (Senior Legislative Lawyer, Ministry of Justice and Security, the Netherlands)
• Johan Skog (Partner, Kapatens, Sweden)
• David Greene (Partner, Edwin Coe, England)
Discussant: Quirijn Bongaerts (Partner, Birkway, The Netherlands)
15:45 – 16.15 Coffee Break
16.15 – 18.00 Session II – Modes and Levels of Regulation
Chair: Dr. Eva Storskrubb (Uppsala University, Sweden; Erasmus University Rotterdam)
• Kai Zenner (European Parliament, Head of Office (MEP Axel Voss))
• Tets Ishikawa (Managing Director, LionFish Litigation Finance Ltd, England)
• Professor Victoria Sahani (Arizona State University, USA)
• Professor Albert Henke (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy)
Xandra Kramer gave a keynote at a young scholars conference on fundamental rights in private international law in Leuven on 16 June 2022. The conference focused developments in The Netherlands, Belgium and South Africa. Her lecture discussed the development of private international law as value neutral system towards a determinant of values and strategic instrument in the EU context. She also explored the rise of strategic litigation in climate cases and consumer cases as well as the proposed anti-SLAPPs to both enforce and secure rights, and how private international law rules (should) foster these.
On 28 April 2022, Eva Storskrubb participated as a speaker and panelist together with Prof. Paul Oberhammer (University of Vienna) and Prof. Albert Henke (Universitá di Milano Statale) in the 10th and final session of the online seminar series “Exploring the ELI-Unidroit European Rules of Civil Procedure” organized by Prof. Marco de Benito at IE University (Madrid). The theme of the session was “Costs and Third-Party Funding”, and the panel was moderated by Carlota Ucín postdoctoral researcher at Erasmus University Rotterdam (member of the Vici project).
After three years the annual Public Private Justice course and conference in Dubrovnik resumed in live format (23-27 May 2022). The overriding theme was: The End of Civil Procedure? Challenges of Automatization, Specialization and Privatization. Xandra Kramer gave a presentation entitled ‘Commercializing Litigation: from court specialization to commodification – the case of international business courts’. She discussed how the establishment of international commercial courts - in Europe in part as a response to Brexit - have contributed to commodification of litigation, which has both positive and negative aspects. Adriani Dori prestented on ‘The Role of the EU in the Transformations of EU National Civil Justice Systems’, critically discussing -based on collected empirical data - how the EU Justice scoreboard assesses the civil justice systems, and which recommendations resulted from this assessment.
On May 16th, Jos was asked to join an event organized by the PhD organization of Erasmus School of Law within the series ‘coffee with an expert’. The event focused on ethical dilemmas in empirical research. Jos was asked, based on his ample experience in qualitative research methodology, to act as a panelist and to discuss and debate ethical dilemmas that may arise when conduction empirical data collection. The lively discussion that followed presentations on data management and storage, focused in on ethical dilemmas regarding access to respondents, relationship with participants, and informed consent.
On May 11th Jos joined other authors for the launch of the long-awaited book ‘Researching the European Court of Justice: Methodological Shifts and Law’s Embeddedness’, edited by Edited by Mikael Rask Madsen (University of Copenhagen) Fernanda Nicola (American University, Washington DC) and Antoine Vauchez (Université Paris 1-Sorbonne). This new book, presented by the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence for International Courts(iCourts) at the university of Copenhagen, takes stock of the on-going ‘methodological turn’ in the field of EU law scholarship. Introducing a new generation of scholars of the European Court of Justice from law, history, sociology, political science and linguistics, the book provides a set of novel interdisciplinary research strategies and empirical materials for the study of the Court of Justice of the European Union. In his contribution Jos describes the use of a bottom-up approach in studying the dynamics behind litigation before the CJEU by drawing on research conducted among litigating parties that saw their cases referred to Luxembourg through a reference for a preliminary ruling.
From December 2021 to June 2022, the team of the Vici project ‘Affordable Access to Justice’ at Erasmus School of Law is organising an online seminar series dedicated to the Trends and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice.
The series “Trends and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice” kicked off in December 2021 with a general session that addressed several topics of access to justice and costs and funding, including collective redress and costs reforms, and a Law & Economics perspective. The second seminar in January 2022 was dedicated to legal mobilisation in the EU. The third one in February addressed the impact of Public Interest Litigation on access to justice, and the fourth one in March litigation funding in Europe from a market perspective. The remaining seminars will zoom in on austerity policies and litigation costs reforms, funding and costs of ADR in civil justice, and EU regulation of Third Party Funding.
You can register for (one or more of) the seminars here.
Wednesday, 25 May 2022 (15-17 CEST)
To attend the online event, please register here.
15.45 - 15.00: Registration / Zoom Connection
15.00 - 15.15: Masood Ahmed (Leicester Law School)
Welcome Address and Introduction
15.15 – 15.35: Sue Prince (University of Exeter)
Building bridges and fences: Mapping routes to resolving disputes using technology
15.35 - 15.55: Nicolas Kyriakides (University of Nicosia)
Affordability of ADR in Cyprus in light of new Civil Procedure Rules
15.55 – 16.10: Break
16.10 - 16.30: Dorcas Quek Anderson (Singapore Management University)
Counting the Cost of Enlarging the Role of ADR in Funding Civil Justice
16.30 - 17.00: Discussion & Conclusion of the Seminar
More information and registration here.
Sue Prince is the Head of the Law School at the University of Exeter. Her research interests focus on access to justice in the civil courts looking particularly at the role of court-based mediation. She has conducted a number of empirical studies of the impact of mediation in the courts for bodies such as the Civil Justice Council and the Ministry of Justice.
Nicolas Kyriakides is a lawyer, academic and lobbyist. He is a graduate of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, he holds postgraduate degrees from UCL and NYU and a PhD (DPhil) from the University of Oxford. He has also been a visiting researcher at Harvard University.
Dorcas Quek Anderson is Associate Dean (Student, Staff & Alumni Affairs) and an Assistant Professor of Law in the Singapore Management University’s Yong Pung How School of Law. As a practising mediator and a former District Judge in the State Courts, Dorcas’ research is drawn from her experience and explores the interaction between dispute resolution developments and access to justice. Her research has been published in leading international journals including the Civil Justice Quarterly and the Harvard Negotiation Law Review.
The team of the Vici project ‘Affordable Access to Justice’ at Erasmus School of Law is organizing an online seminar series dedicated to Trends and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice. The events of the series run from December 2021 to June 2022.
The 5th seminar of the series took place on 20 April 2022, 14-16 CET and was dedicated to Austerity policies and litigation costs reforms. The EU economic crises of the last decades and the ensuing austerity policies deeply impacted justice budgets in many EU jurisdictions and triggered justice reforms, particularly in the area of litigation costs. The seminar has offered the opportunity of reflecting on the implications of litigation costs reforms on access to justice and procedural efficiency. The speakers’ presentations and the following debate have highlighted a number of perspectives, which also reflected the diverse national backgrounds of the participants.
Panagiotis Perakis (CCBE Vice President) focused on the case of Greece. Using empirical data, he addressed the question of to what extent costs of litigation increased in Greece. He also explored in more detail how Greek justice reform policies have affected access to justice for the citizens and the efficiency of national courts.
Paula Costa e Silva (Lisbon University) provided a legal and economic analysis of the reforms implemented in Portugal before, during and after the financial crisis. Her presentation addressed, among others, the practical consequences for the users and providers of justice services and the need for the design of robust evidence-based justice policies.
Fernando Gascón Inchausti (Complutense University of Madrid) presented the case of Spain. His presentation focused on the instrumental use of costs as a lever for adjusting the volume of litigation in Spain also in light of mass consumer litigation and recent CJEU jurisprudence on unfair contractual terms.
The seminar was introduced and moderated by Adriani Dori, Academic Researcher of the Vici project at Erasmus School of Law.
In April 2022, the II International Conference of Young Researchers (Jornada Internacional Jóvenes investigadores – GINVESTIGA, 26-28 April) took place at the University of Girona. More than 40 researchers discussed “Efficiency, Modernization and Acceleration of the Judicial Process”. Adriani Dori gave a presentation on “Data on the Books and Law in Action”, assessing the actual impact of EU soft-law instruments on national justice systems. Her presentation focused on how quantitative and qualitative statistical and empirical judicial data contribute to determining EU Justice policy, how they transform into top-down policy guidelines for national justice systems, and how the Member States respond to such policy guidelines.
Xandra Kramer was kindly invited to give a presentation at a meeting of the Private International Law working group of the Law Society of England and Wales on 11 April 2022. The purpose was to provide an update on EU developments in the area of private international law, including on the interaction between England and Wales and the EU post Brexit. She discussed the enforcement of judgments and jurisdictional implications, including the Hague Choice of Court Convention, the (problematic) possible accession of the UK to the Lugano Convention, and the new Hague Judgment Convention. She also briefly addressed the establishment of international commercial courts in several Member States, including the Netherlands, the new Representative Action Directive as well as the ongoing evaluation of the Brussels I regulation and the ADR and ODR instruments.
From December 2021 – June 2022, the team of the Vici project ‘Affordable Access to Justice’ at Erasmus School of Law organizes an online seminar series dedicated to Trends and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice.
The fourth seminar was dedicated to Litigation Funding in Europe: A Market Perspective and took place on 23 March 2022, 15-17 CET. The funding of the costs of litigation, an essential dimension of accessing civil justice, was discussed. Among the topics presented were the current litigation funding landscape in Europe with particular attention to Third Party Funding (TPF) and collective redress. The pricing considerations for TPF and the ethical implications of TPF in international arbitration were also discussed.
Stefaan Voet (KU Leuven University) gave a brief overview of the current litigation funding landscape in Europe, with particular attention to third party litigation funding and collective redress and current and possible forthcoming legislation on TPF.
Thomas Kohlmeier (Nivalion AG) compared different concepts to provide access to justice such as legal aid, legal expenses insurance and TPF, with a special focus with a special focus on the pricing considerations for TPF.
Yihua Chen (Erasmus School of Law) discussed whether the existing international arbitration regime can adequately address the ethical implications of third-party funders for the professional conduct of arbitrators and lawyers representing clients. He focussed on the ethical implications for the independence and impartiality of arbitrators, as well as for the lawyers’ independence and their professional obligations to funded parties and arbitral tribunals.
After finalizing most of the research within the ERC project, Jos has moved on to a new position as executive project manager and senior researcher within a new research project. This research project, commissioned by the WODC and led by Prof. Xandra Kramer and Prof. Ianika Tzankova (Tilburg University), aims to investigate the usefulness and necessity of a revolving litigation fund for mass claims in the Dutch legal system. The study will map developments in collective redress, and existing means to finance collective actions, including legal aid, insurance, and third party litigation funding, and identify problems in funding. It will investigate whether creating a (public) fund for collective redress is desirable, also taking into account such funds in other jurisdictions (among others Canada and Israel), and if so, how such a fund can be set up.In addition to his role as a senior researcher, Jos acts as executive project manager.
From March till November 2022, we will be conducting a research on a procedural fund for collective redress, commissioned by the Research and Documentation Center (WODC) and the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security. The study will map developments in collective redress, and existing means to finance collective actions, including legal aid, insurance, and third party litigation funding, and identify problems in funding. It will investigate whether creating a (public) fund for collective redress is desirable, also taking into account such funds in other jurisdictions (among others Canada and Israel), and if so, how such a fund can be set up.
The study is conducted in collaboration with Tilburg University (prof. Ianika Tzankova) and will be carried out primarily by Xandra Kramer and Jos Hoevenaars, with the support of the Vici group.
Carlota Ucín was invited as a speaker at the International Congress on Consumers’ judicial protection (Congreso Internacional “La tutela de consumidores y usuarios. El marco europeo, su aplicación en el ordenamiento español y los sistemas de actuación y protección en Andalucía”) which took place in Sevilla the 15 and 16 of March 2022. She there presented the forms of Public Interest Litigation and their role in providing access to justice to consumers. In particular, she focused on the Argentinean experience in structural reform litigation.
From December 2021 – June 2022, the team of the Vici project ‘Affordable Access to Justice’ at Erasmus School of Law is organing an online seminar series dedicated to Trends and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice.
The third took place on 16 February 2022 and was dedicated to the impact of public interest litigation on access to justice: An empirical perspective. Public Interest litigation can be a way of providing access to justice to certain causes related to human rights and other fundamental claims. The climate change litigation movement shows how can human rights approach provide a strong basis for this kind of collective claims.This emerging contitutional practice can indeed cooperate in access to justice in this broad sense but may also prove to be effective in terms of its impact. Bringing tocourt some strategic cases and building up a case around some public goods may provide greater results than individual claims. But this impact has to be conceptualised and then measured.From this perspective the speakers presented their research.
14.45 – 15.00: Connecting on Zoom.
15.00 – 15.15: Carlota Ucín
(Erasmus Law School), Welcoming words and introduction
15.15 – 15.40: Prof. Dr Maurice Sunkin* (University of Essex),
15.45 – 16.10: Prof. Dr Siri Gloppen** (University of Bergen),
16.15 – 16.40: Prof Dr. LaDawn Haglund ***(Arizona State University)
16.45 – 17.00: Q & A
*Prof. Dr Maurice Sunkin is Professor of Public Law and Socio-Legal Studies in the School of Law at the University of Essex. He is an Associate Member of Landmark Chambers, London; a member of the Administrative Justice Council; a member of the expert group advising the government on its evaluation of the current major programme of court and tribunal reform; a member of the Eastern Region’s Advisory Group on Counter Terrorism; and a member of the Civil Justice Council’s sub committee on Pre Action Protocols in Judicial Review.
** Prof. Dr Siri Gloppen is Professor and Director of the Centre on Law & Social Transformation in the Department of Administration and Organization Theory at Bergen University. Her main contribution to the field of socio-legal studies is the conceptualisation, theorisation and empirical study of the use of law and legal institutions at a political tool and strategy for social change – how this plays out in different contexts, is engaged by diverse actors, and in various policy fields and institutional arenas.
***Dr LaDawn Haglund is associate professor and Faculty Lead of Justice & Social Inquiry at Arizona State University, as well as President of ASU’s Tempe Academic Assembly and Senior Global Futures Scholar at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. Her work is situated at the intersection of political economy, human rights, and sustainability, with a focus on justice and social change. Her current empirical research examines legal, institutional, and political dimensions of social rights in the context of capitalism, urbanization, and global environmental change.
From December 2021 – June 2022, the team of the Vici project ‘Affordable Access to Justice’ at Erasmus School of Law organizes an online seminar series dedicated to Trends and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice.
The second seminar was dedicated to Legal Mobilization: A European Perspective, and took place on 19 January 2022, 15-17 CET. This discussed recent scholarship on legal mobilization at the Pan-European level in the context of EU Migration Law, EU Data Protection Law, and European Human Rights Law.
Lisa Harms (University of Münster) presented on Human rights advocacy and the transnational regulation of religion: The case of Muslim legal mobilization. She focused on the case of Muslim legal mobilization at the ECtHR and present quantitative data collected regarding the legal mobilization of religious groups at the ECtHR as well as in-depth interviews conducted with litigants and their supporters.
Virginia Passalacqua (Utrecht University) presented on Legal mobilization via preliminary references: the case of migrant rights. She discussed how the EU Court of Justice became a central venue for migrant rights defenders that increasingly rely on the preliminary reference procedure to challenge national anti-migration policies. However, legal mobilization varies greatly among Member States: some countries make multiple references and others make none. Virginia Passalacqua’s presentation will shed light on the factors that facilitate or hamper legal mobilization for migrant rights before the EU Court.
Sanja Badanjak (University of Edinburgh)prestented on Constitutional review as an opportunity structure for legal mobilization in the EU. She addressed how constitutional complaints offer routes through which citizens’ mobilization in defence of their rights may be realized. In the EU, this can be used to voice opposition and change EU law via the preliminary reference procedure. However, this also requires further consideration of cross-country variation in citizens’ access to constitutional litigation.
On the 17th of December, 2021, Adrian Cordina participated as a speaker at the 17th annual conference of the Italian Society of Law and Economics (SIDE) which was held from December 15 to 17 at the University of Trento. He presented his paper titled ‘Is it all that Fishy? A Critical Review of the Concerns surrounding Third Party Litigation Funding’. The theme of the session was ‘Litigation process and legal profession’ and was moderated by Evangelia Nissioti (University of Hamburg).
From December 2021 – June 2022, the team of the Vici project ‘Affordable Access to Justice’ at Erasmus School of Law organizes an online seminar series dedicated to Trends and Challenges in Costs and Funding of Civil Justice.
First session: Access to Justice and Costs and Funding of Civil Litigation
On 15 December 2021, the series kicked off with a general session that will address several topics of access to justice and costs and funding, including collective redress and costs reforms, and presented a present a Law & Economics perspective.This first session was combined with the launch of the book New Pathways to Civil Justice in Europe (Springer, 2021) that resulted from an earlier conference organized by the ERC project team.
Judith Resnik (Yale University) who authored the concluding chapter (available open access), among others, discussed the question from which perspective to understand the civil legal system so as to make judgments about whether a system is just or unjust.
Ianika Tzankova (Tilburg University) focused on access to justice against the background of trends in global dispute resolution where big players are shaping the future, and the funding of litigation.
John Sorabji (University College London) zoomed in on developments in costs and funding of civil justice, including the move to recoverable fees, the upcoming review of the Jackson costs reform and funding of representative actions.
Louis Visscher (Erasmus School of Law) presented a Law & Economics perspective on costs and funding, including rational apathy, risk aversion and agency problems.
The seminar was introduced and moderated by Xandra Kramer, PI of the Vici and ERC projects at Erasmus School of Law.
Carlota Ucín gave a presentation on: “The forms of Public Interest litigation” in the Law Conference held on November 17 and organized by the San Isidro Bar Association, under the slogan “The new process.” She presented the experience of public interest litigation in the Argentinean practice and the role of collective procedures in this field.
Carlota Ucín participated in the event organized by Serra Dominguez Foundation (Spain) where she developed some of the ideas of her book (Juicio a la desigualdad, Marcial Pons, 2021). In particular, she focused on the proportionality test within the Public Interest Litigation cases showing how the role of judges in these cases could be legitimated in an argumentative way. The event took place in Valencia the 11 and 12 November 2021.
Carlota Ucín was invited to present some of the ideas of her book (Juicio a la desigualdad, Marcial Pons, 2021) at Salamanca School of Law (Spain).The topic of the meeting was related to the debate on the possible public policies to eradicate any forms of inequality of women in political, economic and social participation. She then spoke about the importance of Public Interest Litigation to enforce access to justice and help to remove these inequalities.
On 13 October 2021, Revista Jurisprudencia Argentina has published Carlota Ucin’s paper about the imprisonment conditions in Buenos Aires.
Tutela judicial efectiva en litigios estructurales. A propósito de las condiciones de detención en la Provincia de Buenos Aires (Effective judicial protection in structural claims. About the imprisonment conditions in Buenos Aires Province) in: Revista Jurisprudencia Argentina, JA 2021 - IV, fasc. 3, 13/10/2021, pp 3-10.
The Argentinean Supreme Court of Justice has recently issued a new ruling in the Verbitsky case related to the imprisonment conditions. The decision, which I will refer to as Verbitsky II, tackles some relevant issues that I would like to highlight and analyze in this paper. These points are the effectiveness of the judicial protection of persons that are deprived of their liberty, the notion of procedural efficacy and the efficiency of the process in general and of habeas corpus in particular. The richness of the case allows me to rely on it to exemplify some particularities of the litigation that, raised in the Public Interest, seek to introduce structural reform of a collective situation that is considered unconstitutional or detrimental to human rights recognized in the Constitution and international conventions.
In this paper, Carlota Ucín analyzes the recent case “Milieudefensie vs. Shell”. The decision adopted in the first instance condemned the company to achieve a net reduction of at least 45% of emissions by 2030, taking as a reference the values of 2019. This particular form of Public Interest Litigation, oriented to mitigate climate change, imposes new ways of understanding law and jurisdiction. In this sense, the ruling highlights an expansive interpretation of the content of human rights, used in the case as an interpretive key for the precision of state and private obligations.
Our book New pathways to civil justice in Europe has just been published by Springer. It results from one of the international conferences organized by our ERC group (’Challenge accepted!’) and this one was particularly memorable. The book focuses on innovative pathways to civil justice with a view to improving access to justice. It encompasses the four key topics of the project: use of Artificial Intelligence and its interaction with judicial systems; ADR and ODR tracks in privatising justice systems; the effects of increased self-representation on access to justice; and court specialization and the establishment of commercial courts to counter the trend of vanishing court trials. Top academics and experts from Europe, the US and Canada address these topics in a critical and multidisciplinary manner, combining legal, socio-legal and empirical insights. More information and sales available at the Springer website. The Introductory chapter by the editors (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and the final chapter by Judith Resnik (Yale University) are available for free download.
Xandra Kramer gave lectures and led a workshop for EU court staff on European Cross-Border Civil Procedures in Helsinki on 22 and 23 September 2021. She discussed the Brussels I-bis Regulation, the European Enforcement Order, the Order for Payment and the Small Claims procedures. This course is part of a programme on Court Staff Training in the
EU, coordinated by the European Law Academy (Trier), in which she has also been involved to prepare training materials for courses throughout the EU. In this course 23 judges and other judicial staff members from 9 different EU Member States took place. It was the first one that could take place live since the Spring of
Carlota Ucín has recently published this book, that is part of her PhD thesis. As she refers, Human Rights represent —today more than ever— a shared morality that guides us towards subsistence as cohesive communities. From this perspective, Public Interest Litigation becomes fundamental as a way of achieving the enforcement of these rights and to some extent, social change. This practice took shape in most of the countries of the so-called Global South after the latest constitutional reforms. It then emerged there as a body of lawsuits oriented by the Public Interest and tending to give effect to the social rights promised in the Constitutions but violated in practice. However, the phenomenon is not exclusive to these countries, and we are beginning to see signs of this in the so-called climate change crisis litigation.
The first debates in the legal theory field were linked to the possibility of ensuring the judicial enforceability of these rights and to the role of the courts in this new scenario. The dialectic was oriented, centrally, towards the demonstration of the analogies that exist between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and social rights on the other. In practice, the lack of specific regulations replicated —at its turn— the existence of social inequalities. First because of the limited access to justice and then because of the overuse of the procedural instruments specific to individual rights.
JUICIO A LA DESIGUALDAD suggests an alternative view, which at the same time serves as a guide for the new forms of litigation emerging. For this, the author analyses the theoretical and institutional difficulties derived from social rights and suggests the elaboration of categories according to their speciality. She develops her argument in two parts, the first specifies the reasons why social rights should not be totally equated with civil and political rights, showing, instead, the convenience of a specific theoretical and procedural treatment. The second part is based on the experience of Public Interest Litigation and sets out the guidelines that will serve for the development of a collective procedural paradigm —with participatory and deliberative bases— that allows ensuring the effective protection of these rights.
Xandra Kramer was elected to the European Law Institute Council by the Membership at the 2021 Annual conference. Her four-year term (which may be renewed once) started on 8 September 2021. Xandra was invited to become a member of the Association that preceded the formal establishment of the ELI and has been an active member of the ELI since 2012. She was a involved in the ELI-Unidroit Model European Rules of Civil Procedure that were adopted in 2020 from the inception of the project in 2013, as a co-reporter of the overarching Structure group and reporter of the Provisional measures working group (see also our blogpost on conflictoflaws.net). In 2020, she also wrote the response to the public consultation on the European Enforcement Order Regulation on the
request of ELI, and she serves as an observer for the ELI at the Best Practices for Effective Enforcement Project of Unidroit.
Xandra Kramer was elected as a Member of the Institut de Droit International, IDI (Institute of International Law) at the bi-annual meeting in August 2021 (see also here). The IDI was founded in 1873 as an academic association that aims to improve the advancement of international law and peace. In 1904, the Insititute received the Nobel Peace Prize for improving international arbitration as a way of peaceful settlement of conflicts. The IDI has a counselling role in the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The IDI has 130 members, all prominent academics and scholars from the field of international private law or public law from across the world. Xandra has been selected based on her expertise in the area of private international law.
The ERC team is organizing, together with BIICL and UNIL the conference Taking Stock: International Commercial Courts in Europe and Asia. The conference will take place on 17 September, in a hybrid format (London - limited places - and online). You can register via the BICCL website.
In recent years, International Commercial Courts have been established across Europe and in Asia. Now that these courts have been dealing with international cases for a while, it is time to take stock and look at various questions: the reasons behind the recent proliferation of these courts and their international features in terms of court language, judicial composition, parties and disputes; the perspectives of court users and judges on key features of these courts, their suitability for specific kinds of disputes and the handling of international commercial disputes in practice; the interface between International Commercial Courts and arbitration, in particular in jurisdictions with well-developed arbitration centres; and the ever more important question how these courts deal with global challenges such as Covid 19, Digitalisation & AI.
More information and the program available here.
The ERC Building EUCivil Justice team organized a series of six seminars between May and July2021. The series covered a variety of topics in the field of European civil justice and zoom in on the key topics our group has been working on over the past four years. These include the privatization and digitalization of civil justice, cross-border judicial co-operation, international business courts, and self-representation. Each session brought together invited speakers and our own researchers. The webinars gathered between 25 to 85 participants from all over the world per session and resulted in lively and fruitful debates, despite the online format.
The first seminar, organized by Betül Kas, was dedicated to The Role of Out-of-Court Justice in the European Enforcement Regime, discussing among others the role of Article 47 TFEU and the process of obtaining remedies in the Volkswagen diesel case. During the second seminar, organised by Erlis Themeli, the discussion zoomed in on Modernising European Cross-Border Judicial Collaboration, including an ongoing digitization project of the European Commission, the Dutch participation in e-Codex and digitisation in the context of uniform European procedures. The third seminar was organised by Emma van Gelder, and was dedicated to Digital Constitutionalism and European Digital Policies and discussed remedies in the context of European policies, the role of private platforms and judicial review. The fourth seminar, organized by Jos Hoevenaars, dealt with the topic Representing Future Generations: Private Law aspects of Climate Change Litigation. Making the shift from self-representation under the ERC project to the representation of present and future generations it discussed different aspects of recent climate change litigation, with a focus on the recent Dutch Shell case. The fifth seminar by Georgia Antonopoulou was dedicated to the Arbitralization of Courts, and discussed how recently established international business courts copy features of arbitration and what the limits are. The sixth and last seminar entitled European Civil Justice in Transition: Past, Present & Future, moderated by Xandra Kramer and Alexandre Biard concluded the series. The speakers addressed the upcoming revision of the Brussels I-bis Regulation, digitisation and the development of integrated dispute resolution, trust and quality in civil justice and the future of civil justice.
The Fourth seminar of the EU Civil Justice Seminar Series took place on Thursday July 1st. The seminar focused on the private law aspects of climate litigation. Striking a bridge between his current work on (self)representation in civil justice and past work on strategic litigation and the representation of public interest through law, Jos Hoevenaars brought together a panel to discuss the most recent developments in climate change litigation.
In that context, the recent Milieudefensie/Shell decision of the district court of The Hague signifies a move in climate change litigation from targeting mainly the responsibilities of governments in curtailing the effects of climate change, like in the already famous Urgenda case, to suing corporations, and using the courts to force multinationals to adjust their practices. The panel of speakers discussed the implications the Shell decisions at the crossroads of strategic litigation, collective representation, civil tort law and human rights in climate litigation.
Chantal Mak, professor of Professor of Private law at the Amsterdam Centre for Transformative Private Law (ACT) analyzed the Shell decisions and highlighted the human rights angle of climate change litigation. Professor Geert van Calster, Head of the department of European and international law at the University of Leuven, gave an overview of the private international law aspects of climate change litigation. And finally, Sanne Biesmans, PhD candidate at the Business Law Institute of the Radboud University Nijmegen, analysed the Shell decision from a corporate liability perspective and sketched a future outlook for corporations and how this decision may affect their practices going forward.
The seminar was very well-attended, with some 65 participants joining for the subsequent discussions.
Carlota Ucín gave lectures at the Public Lawyers training body in Argentina (ECAE) during April and May 2021. She developed some topics on argumentative theory and law practice. In this course, lawyers that work on the defence of the State participated as part of their training program. She also gave some lectures on the postgraduate course on argumentative theory in Paraguay, Argentina and Colombia, in August and November and December respectively.
The third seminar of the EU Civil Justice Seminar Series took place on Friday 4th of June 2021. The Seminar touched upon the topic of European digital constitutionalism and remedies. In the past two decades, the European Union has developed a framework of European digital constitutionalism. This framework was prompted as a reaction towards the predominance of digital private norm activities which were accelerating within the EU. Within this EU framework, there are various remedies and dispute resolution mechanisms available. These remedies are not just public remedies, but also bottom-up approaches to enforcement. For example, the Facebook Oversight Board presents a form of private adjudication. The European Commission proposal for a Digital Services Act (DSA) acknowledges the need to regulate such online platforms, for instance it requires online platforms to be transparent about why they take particular decisions.
Giovanni De Gregorio, who is a postdoc at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford, kicked of the seminar with providing the introduction of the topic European digital constitutionalism. He explained how the remedies within the framework are shaped and why these remedies have been made available. He noted the shift which is experienced from digital liberalism to digital constitutionalism.
The second speaker, Catalina Goanta, who is an assistant professor at Maastricht University, touched upon the platform powers. She explained that platforms are offering much more functions than just content, such as commercial functions of social commerce. She gave the example of Instagram, through which people can buy shoes. Catalina stressed the importance of asking the question on how to answer to this increasing power of these platforms. In this regard, Catalina addressed the potential of the DSA.
The third speaker was Clara Iglesias Keller, who is a postdoc research fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Media research and at WBZ Berlin Social Sciences Centre. She touched upon the topic of judicial review and constitutionalism. She highlighted the complexity of drawing up regulation for the Internet and also raised concerns of how claims can be redressed, as she pointed out that some claims are not brought to court.
A vivid discussion followed raising numerous insights and food for future thought.
The second EU Civil Justice seminar took place on Friday, 21 May 2021. On Focus during this seminar were the attempts of the European Union to digitise cross-border judicial cooperation. The aim of this initiative is to reduce the hurdles for such cooperation and eliminate the need for paper. Digital technologies are mature and safe enough to exchange sensitive documents between Member States institutions. Both citizens and public institutions will benefit from the speed and low costs of these solution. Considering this perspective, the European Commission is considering different routes which the speakers of the seminar discussed. Gösta Petri from the DG Justice explained the background and some of the implications that the digitisation of EU cross-border collaboration implies. He stressed the importance of digitisation and the need to evaluate already exiting tools. The next speaker, Sandra Taal from the Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands, provided an overview of eCodex, a cross-border communication infrastructure for the exchange of documents in Europe. eCodex has proven to be a very useful and reliable tool which explains why the EU plans to invest more on it. Taal agrees with Petri about the need to integrate eCodex with any other possible solution that Commission’s consultation will produce. The third speaker, Alina Ontanu from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, provided an extensive and in-depth overview of several European attempt to digitise cross-border judicial collaboration. While these experiences have had different degrees of success, they should be considered in their entirety and better orchestrated to achieve their goal. Erlis Themeli, who served as host and moderator, used the development of the voting procedure for the Eurovision Song Contest (which was taking place in Rotterdam during that same week) to make parallels with the need for more digitisation in Europe. This was the spark that ignited the discussion about the importance of cross-border digitisation, which turned out to be both inspiring and insightful for the speakers and the audience alike.
On Thursday 6 May, our seminar series on ‘EU Civil Justice’ kicked off with a general introduction to the series by Xandra Kramer. The first two-hour seminar dealt with the role of out-of-court justice in the European enforcement landscape. Taking a holistic perspective, our invited speaker Fabrizio Cafaggi (Judge at the Italian Council of State, former professor at the EUI and the University of Trento) talked about the role of Article 47 EUCFR in shaping the interaction between different enforcement processes. Specifically, Cafaggi explained how Article 47 EUCFR has institutional implications for the balance between individual and collective redress and for the relationship between judicial and administrative enforcement as well as ADR. The Court of Justice of the European Union has played a key role in employing the fundamental right to an effective remedy to give shape to their complementarity. Reference points are the Court’s rulings in Cases C-73/16 - Puškár, C-317/08 - Alassini, C-75/16 - Menini and Rampanelli and C-381/14 - Sales Sinués. According to Cafaggi, the case-law shows that Article 47 generally favors choice between different processes. However, mandatory sequences that oblige to either exhaust administrative remedies or attempt ADR before accessing judicial remedies are not excluded as long as certain conditions are met. Betül Kas (post-doctoral researcher, Erasmus University Rotterdam) zoomed in on the relationship between ADR and court proceedings in collective disputes by discussing the highly contentious collective settlement in the Volkswagen litigation in Germany. Kas reconstructed the procedural and practical circumstances that lead the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband - vzbv) to settle outside the procedural scope of the German model case procedure (Musterfeststellungsklage). While this move withdrew the settlement from the safeguards installed within the procedure and any judicial oversight, it enhanced the choice of individual consumers, which could either accept Volkswagen’s settlement offer or pursue individual judicial proceedings benefitting from the suspension of the limitation period. The topic of collective settlements raises interesting questions about safeguarding Article 47 in opt-in/opt-out mechanisms and as to the degree of judicial involvement required in collective settlements. The discussion raised further interesting question of a principal nature, such as the meaning of ‘privatization’ and ‘effectiveness’ in EU civil justice.
Cuestiones probatorias en el Litigio de Interés Público. Sobre la prueba de la violación de los dere
In this paper, Carlota Ucín argues that the claims that seek to enforce social rights may find it difficult to prove the facts that support them. This can be explained by the indeterminacy of the normative statements and by the asymmetry in access to public information. As she claims, presumptions can alleviate evidentiary difficulties, with a clear benefit on access to justice for these cases.
At the Annual meeting of the Law and Society Association (LSA) Jos Hoevenaars presented a paper, co-written with Betül Kas and Erlis Themeli on the impact of trends of digitalisation, increasing self-representation and privatisation of justice on the function of civil courts and the day-to-day practise of civil judges. The panel, chaired by prof. Tomohiko Maeda, brought together scholars from Japan, Chili and the Netherlands and focused on topics such as the attitudes towards the use of AI in courts AI (Shozo Ota), the relationship between income and access to justice (Myrte Hoekstra), innovative neuro-legal research into the ‘legal mind’ (Takeshi Asamizuya) and the Chilean judiciary’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic (Macarena Vargas).
Xandra Kramer taught a course on Global and European Civil Procedure at the HSE University in Moscow in collaboration with Georgia Antonopoulou. It adressed developments in civil procedure in Europe and at the global level and discussed rules on private international law, in particular international jurisdiction, choice of court and recognition and enforcement. One lecture dedicated to International Commercial Courts was taught by Georgia.
Carlota Ucín was invited to participate in a webinar organized by the Research group Fundamentos do Processo Civil Contemporâneo (FPCC) coordinated by Professor Dr Hermes Zaneti Jr. at the Federal University of Espirito Santo, Brazil (UFES). In her presentation, she outlined the main features of Public Interest Litigation and how it may have a great impact on promoting access to justice of fundamental rights. In particular, she highlighted that the shift from public to private funding of civil litigation could be benefited from the Public Interest approach, which is more concentrated in raising certain claims that could imply lower cost with greater benefits. This can be explained in part because these claims may provoke the change of a bureaucratic practice or they could protect some public goods. The exchange was very enriching for both sides since Brazil has great experience in this kind of litigation and must face great dilemmas related to costs and access to justice.
In 2019 Xandra Kramer was elected to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). As of April 2021 she also chairs the law scholars section which is part of the Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences and Law Domain, in which she also serves as a committee member. The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1808 as an advisory body to the Dutch Government and still fulfils this role of advising on subjects of science and scholarship.
On 1 and 2 April 2020, ERC project members Erlis Themeli and Emma van Gelder co-organized the conference ‘Digital and Intelligent Europe: EU Citizens and the Challenges of New Technologies for Civil Justice’, together with Anna van Duin and Rachel Rietveld (University of Amsterdam). The two-day conference revolved around EU citizens in their search for justice in an increasingly digitized world. Digital technologies can reduce barriers to access to justice by offering more affordable, swifter and simpler solutions. Key notes were delivered by Natali Helberger and Tania Sourdin and the three panels evolved around the topics of digital and intelligent out of court procedure, digital and intelligent justice solutions for supporting the court, and digital and intelligent courts. The conference brought together academics and practitioners from around the world and resulted in vivid discussions and a lot of food for thought. We will prepare a full conference report in the upcoming days.
Xandra Kramer presented at a conference organized by Emory University Law School and Oxford University on developments in civil justice in the US and Europe, Qua Vadis civil justice? The first part of this three-part Zoom event on Trends in Civil Procedure took place on 26 March 2021. One of the statements was that European civil justice policy, contrary to the US, while also under pressure from the efficiency advocates, continues to focus on encouraging litigation. Xandra focused on collectivizing litigation in Europe and the Netherlands in particular. She discussed trends and developments in European civil justice, where in recent years collective redress and digitisation have been key issues and in the Netherlands where the establishment of the Netherlands Commercial Court in 2019 and the completion of the collective redress system in 2020 are highlights. Despite the emphasis on collective redress in recent years, there are no indications that litigation has become more important. In the European context, enhancing ADR by putting quality standards into place and the setting up the ODR platform are equally important.
In 2020, the Comparative Procedural Law and Justice project (CPLJ) of the Max Planck Institute on Procedural law in Luxembourg, funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund, kicked off. This is a global project in which more than one hundred scholars participate. It aims a comprehensive study of comparative civil procedural law and civil dispute resolution and to understanding the rules in their cultural context. The work is divided into different sections, including on technology, ADR and collective redress and will result in the publication of a Compendium on Comparative Civil Justice. Alexandre Biard participates in the team on collective redress. Xandra Kramer participates in the team working on special forms of procedure. On 26 February 2021, she presented the work of this group so far at one of the seminars of the CPLJ project.
On 17-18 February 2021, the Bar Ilan University Faculty of Law organised the conference Digital Governance in the Times of Covid-19. The Conference focused on changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and how many aspects of our (legal) life turned from analogue to digital. During the second day, Erlis Themeli presented in the Online Courts During Covid-19 and Beyond panel, together with Professor Schmitz (University of Missouri School of Law) and Adv. Naqui (PEW Charitable Trusts). Erlis spoke on how in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic Dutch courts went digital. He considered this event both a cure and a disease. A disease because it threatened the right to access to justice for many; but also a cure, because it showed that courts can be dynamic and use technology to improve access to justice for many. Two other panels in the conference focused on Algorithmic Regulation and Digital Policy Tools During Covid-19 and Zoom Parliaments During Covid-19 respectively. Two keynote speeches from Prof. Frank Pasquale (Brooklyn Law School) and Prof. Richard Susskind (Oxford) provided a fertile ground for discussion and interesting ideas for further research.
On 10 February 2021, Georgia and Erlis were invited as guest lectures at the Private Law Master programme of the Erasmus School of Law. This was a special master class where students follow advanced level lectures from experts in the field. They were asked to lecture about international commercial courts, which is a topic of growing importance. Georgia and Erlis consider that the competition of civil justice systems and dispute resolution methods incites international commercial courts to market their features in order to raise awareness on their recent establishment and attract disputes. This development raises many questions about the development of these courts in particular and public litigation in general. Before the lecture, students were asked to reflect on this topic and discuss with Georgia and Erlis. The class was successful in drawing up the complex nature and activities of international commercial courts, but it also produced food for thoughts for both students and lecturers.
On 5 February 2021, Xandra Kramer participated in the online seminar ‘The Netherlands: a forum conveniens for collective redress?’, jointly organized by Maastricht University, Tilburg University, the Univerisity of Amsterdam, in collaboration with the Open University. The seminar was dedicated to the interantionational attractiveness of the Dutch courts and Dutch remedies, the interaction between EU law and Dutch collective actions and the market for mass litigation. Together with Alexander Layton, QC, she discussed in how far the position of The Netherlands is reinforced in a fragmented international legal landscape, also resulting from Brexit.
The European Order for Payment Regulation became applicable in 2005 and aims to smoothen cross-border enforcement of debts. After the partial abolition of exequatur in the enforcement rules on parental responsibility in the Brussels II-bis Regulation, it was the first broad instrument to abolish intermediate proceedings for enforcement in civil and commercial matters as far is it concerns an uncontested claim. For that purpose it introduces a number of minimum norms of civil procedure, in particular on the service of documents and information. This instrument was followed by a number of other instruments, including the European order for payment procedure, the Small Claims procedure and the Account preservation order, that advanced the harmonisation of civil procedure and the abolition of exequatur. With the Brussels I-bis Regulation becoming applicable in 2015, the abolition of exequatur with the aim to simplify cross-border enforcement reached its momentum.
Fifteen years after the European Enforcement Order Regulation became applicable it was high time that the Regulation be evaluated. Xandra Kramer acted as national reporter for the Netherlands. In addition, she wrote a response to the public consultation on the request of the European Law Institute (here) and participated to an opinion of the EAPIL (here).
Apart from evaluating the overall functioning in the Member States, the question is also whether it is still a useful instrument considering the enactment of new instruments and the abolition of exequatur under Brussels I-bis. While it is still used in the Netherlands and part of the other Member States, the undesired multiplicity and incoherence of instruments in the area of European civil procedure coupled with the inherent complexity of the present Regulation cast doubt. While it has served its purpose in enhancing access to justice its value in the present European civil justice system is very limited.
Xandra Kramer gave a lecture and led a workhop on the Cross-border enforcement of debts for EU judges on 29 January 2021. This was part of a programme on Court Staff Training in the EU, coordinated by the European Law Academy (Trier) and in collaboration with the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN), for which she prepared course materials that are used across the EU. The present training was part of a 4 days training on European Cross-border civil procedures and legal English for Court Staff. While many of the trainings within this programme, planned for 2020, had been postponed, this training which should have taken place in Brussels moved online.
On 8 January 2021 we hosted a mini webinar on International Commercial Courts and Jurisdiction, as part of our ERC Building EU Civil Justice project.
In recent years international commercial courts have been established in a significantnumber of countries in Europe and across the world. An important aspect in attracting international commercial cases is how international jurisdiction rules are framed. ERC project member Georgia Antonopoulou is writing her PhD research on international commercial courts and presented on how a wide casting of the jurisdictional net influences the caseload of international commercial courts. Discussant was Caroline Lasthaus, PhD candidate at Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, who also conducts research on international commercial courts.
The presentations were very interesting and appreciated by the around 45 participants in the webinar and led to fruitful discussions.
The launch of the Elgar Companion to the Hague Conference on Private International Law took place on 15 December 2020. The book, edited by Thomas John, Rishi Gulati and Ben Köhler, was launched by Christophe Bernasconi, Secretary General of the HCCH, and was followed by a conversation and Q&A on a key
theme that emerged in the Companion: the importance of private international law to providing access to justice. Xandra Kramer kicked off by stressing the importance of the various instruments of the Hague Conference for increasing access to justice at the global level and the crucial rule digitisation plays in enhancing judicial cooperation. Her talk was followed by a practical perspective by Justin Gleeson SC (Barrister and Arbitrator, Banco Chambers, Sydney). The conversation was kindly led by Matthew Neuhaus, Australian ambassor to the Netherlands.
Xandra Kramer participated in a webinar within the Civil Procedure Series organized by IE Law School, Madrid. The series focuses on the ELI-Unidroit Model European Rules of Civil Procedure. Xandra discussed the creation, general principles and future of the Model Rules, Emmanuel Jeuland focused on language and translation issues and Fernando Gascon on comparative aspects of the project. The webinar was hosted by Marco de Benito.
The Conference Frontiers in Civil Justice organized by our ERC team on 16-17 November 2020 was a success and - despite having to move online - it was a very lively event. Impressive keynotes were given by speeches by Hazel Genn (UCL) and Hrvoje Grubisic (European Commission). Four great panels with high level, insightful and thought-provoking presentations.
Of course we had hoped to welcome our speakers and adience in Rotterdam or at least have a blended event, but it worked out very well online. Close to 200 people from all over the world had registered, some of whom accompanied us throughout the event; many others picking and choosing the panels and talks they were most interested in. The parallel chat discussions were extensive and very lively, and our chairs supported by chat moderators from our team managed to highlight the key issues that were discussed further in the panel and with ‘live’ questions from the audience.
We are grateful to all the speakers, chairs, tech support and the organizing team (Betül Kas and Ilja Tillema). We are also proud of accomplishing this despite having to work under more challenging circumstances in these strange times, as everyone around the globe.
A brief discussion of the conference presentations has been prepared by Jos and Betül and is available at conflictoflaws.net.
Stay safe and healthy!
16 and 17 November 2020 at Erasmus University Rotterdam
Civil justice remains in constant flux. The design of a sustainable civil justice system for the 21st century is continuously discussed both at national and international level. Particularly at international level, several soft law instruments have been adopted in recent years such as the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the ELI/UNIDROIT Model European Rules of Civil Procedure and the ELI statement on the relationship between formal and informal justice.
The conference addresses four key issues in civil justice, which require a deeper and renewed reflection in light of their contribution of facilitating access to justice. Those trends concern the shaping of the interaction between formal and informal justice, the digitalization of consumer dispute resolution, the collectivizing and monetizing of civil litigation and efforts of bringing justice closer to citizens. The conference will bring together academics, policymakers, practitioners and representatives of civil society to critically reflect on the opportunities and possible drawbacks ensuing from these paramount developments.
You can find the program and register here!
This conference is organised by Erasmus School of Law at Rotterdam University under the ERC project ‘Building EU Civil Justice’ (www.euciviljustice.eu).
The conference was set up as a blended event, with speakers at the site and some presenting online, but will be fully online in view of the Covid-19 developments.
For more information, do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com (Betül).
On 6 November 2020, the ERC group organized a small scale webinar on the occasion of adoption of the ELI-Unidroit Model Rules and the upcoming kick-off of the Vici project related to our ERC project on Affordable Access to Justice: The ELI-Unidroit Model European Rules of Civil Procedure: soft law shaping the future of European Civil Procedure?
Xandra Kramer presented on the creation, main principles and future prospects of the Model Rules. Eva Storskrubb (University of Uppsala) discussed the Cost rules, in the drafting of which she was closely involved being one of the co-reporters. Masood Ahmed (University of Leicester) viewed the rules on cost, management and ADR from the English perspective. Despite the small set up and short notice, over 60 people participated in the webinar and the discussion.
At an online conference on European civil procedure organized by the European Law Academy in Trier on 26 October 2020, Xandra Kramer presented on on ‘European civil procedure 4.0? The European Account Preservation Order & Payment Order at the Court of Justice’. She showed that considering the case law and legal practice these European procedures still operate in the shadow of the Brussels I-bis Regulation and national civil procedure. Discussing the first case of the European Court of Justice on the European Account Preservation Order and case law on the European Payment Order it is clear that the Court maneouvers it’s way into the national intricasies when implementing the European regulations on civil procedure.
Xandra Kramer was interviewed by Geert Maarse at Talkshow Studio Erasmus on 20 October 2020. She was asked to participate on the ocassion of obtaining a Vici grant from the Dutch Research Council. The interview was about the costs litigation and the importance of keeping access to justice affordable. The interview was held in Dutch and is available here.
On 25 September 2020, Xandra Kramer presented on the ELI-Unidroit Model European Rules of Civil Procedure: perspectives for national and European legislators at the closing workshop on the occasion of the UNIDROIT Governing Council meeting.
While the Rules cannot be copied into a national or supranational legal order one-on-one as they are not created as an all encompassing code, they have a number of interesting features that can serve as a model for national and European legislators.
The ELI-Unidroit Model European Rules of Civil Procedure were adopted by the European Law Institute and Unidroit in 2020. Xandra Kramer was involved in this large scale project from the inception at an exploratory workshop in Vienna in October 2013. She was a member and reporter of the working group on provisional and protective measures, and together with Loic Cadiet (Paris 1, Sorbonne) acted as co-reporter of the overarching Structure group, charged with with coordinating the work of the different working groups, filling the gaps, and securing a coherent set of model rules to be used by European and national legislators in particular. See also our blogpost on the adoption of these Model Rules on conflictoflaws.net.
Together with Andrea Evers (professor of Health Psychology, Leiden University, Delft and Erasmus University), Xandra Kramer moderated a webinar on research practices during and after Covid-19 in the social sciences and humanities. The webinar took place on 10 September and was organised by the Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, of which Xandra is a member.
Panellists discussed the influence of Covid-19 on their research and research practices in general. It led to vivid and very interesting dicussions. While research practices and in particular international collaborations and field research is challenged, the pandemic and the opening up of more intensive online collaborations also creates opportunities. In particular for younger researchers and research communities in countries that are less versed in online communication, however, the pandemic has created uncertainties that need attention. The expectation is that the pandemic will continue to be topic of research in many areas of social sciences and will have a long-lasting effect on research practices.
These effects are also experienced by our research team. While it gave some food for thought (see also our blogposts on access to justice in times of corona and on collective redress and this webinar), it also hampers field research, research stays abroad, daily interaction between our team members as well as the participation in and organisation of live events that are more than the content of presentations only.
The recordings of the webinar (mostly English spoken, but parts in Dutch) are available here.
Xandra Kramer participated as a commentator in a digital workshop organized by the Swedish Network for European Legal studies and Uppsala University on 20 August 2020. Xandra discussed a paper presented by Eva Storskrubb on the European Acccount Preservation Order.
The paper focused on the question whether the Regulation needs improvement. Xandra pointed to a number of issues that makes the implementation of this Regulation in the diverse legal systems of attachment and enforcement in the Member States particularly difficult. These include the intertwinement with substantive law, debt and insolvency law and the involvement of third parties. Recent case law and empirical research in a number of Member States shows that so far this Regulation is not used often in practice. It seems too early to draw firm conclusions as to whether the Regulation needs amendment or whether further harmonisation is required.
On 17 July 2020, Xandra Kramer participated, on invitation byPaula Sarno, in an Instagram Live event organized as part of the Projeto mulheres no processo by the the Brazilian Institute of Procedural Law (IBDP). Her talk evolved around international judicial cooperation and business litigation, in particular the trend of establishing international business courts and the importance of the new The Hague Judgment Convention for international dispute resolution. Her counterpart was Thiago Borges and the presentation took the form of a lively conversation, only hampered somewhat by the technique.
Our conference Frontiers in Civil Justice will be held on 16-17 November 2020. We will address four key issues in civil justice requiring a deeper and renewed reflection in light of their contribution of facilitating access to justice. These are the shaping of the interaction between formal and informal justice, the digitalization of consumer dispute resolution (ODR), the collectivizing and monetizing of civil litigation and efforts of bringing justice closer to citizens. The conference will bring together academics, policymakers, practitioners and representatives of civil society to critically reflect on the opportunities and possible drawbacks ensuing from these paramount developments. The outline of the conference, including confirmed keynote speakers, is avaible here. Further details will be made available soon. Call for Papers! For the last part of the conference we welcome abstracts on the topic ‘Innovations in Civil Justice - Bringing Justice Closer to Citizens’. Please send in your abstract of max. 500 words before 31 July. Further details can be found here. We will have great speakers and look forward to exciting debates. We hope to see you in Rotterdam or online in case meeting in real is not possible due to the Covid-19 crisis.
We are recruiting five researchers (two postdocs, two PhDs and one parttime associate/endowed/full professor) for the new research project Affordable Access to Justice: towards sustainable cost and funding mechanisms for civil litigation in Europe.
This five year project is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and led by Prof. Xandra Kramer. The project will assess new pathways to civil justice funding and cost schemes, with a view to developing a balanced financing system securing access to justice in Europe. It builds onto the ongoing ERC consolidator project Building EU Civil Justice: challenges of procedural innovations – bridging access to justice.
Please contact Xandra Kramer (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on the project, and see Vici vacancies 2020 for the vacancy descriptions, application requirements and procedure. You can apply here till 17 July 2020.
On the 15th of May, Xandra Kramer participated in an online conference dedicated to Covid-related litigation and judicial and legislative responses. The conference was organised with Catherine Piché (University of Montréal) and 18 speakers from different countries around the globe participated in this online event. Xandra discussed the closing down of the courts in the Netherlands on the 17th of March resulting from the lock-down. After this date, only urgent and written proceedings continued. A new temporary act was put in place to regulate distance hearings and other temporary measures concerning the operation of the courts and the online submission of documents. As of 11th of May, the courts re-opened, however with limitations to physical oral hearings and exclusion of the general public. She also discussed, following an interview with the president of the Rotterdam district court, how the corona crisis has led to boosting technology and innovation and a pragmatic approach of Dutch courts in this respect.
Jos Hoevenaars and Xandra Kramer published a blogpost on conflictoflaws.net on mass litigation in times of corona and developments in the Netherlands. It discusses the rise of litigation and in particular mass litigation following from the corona crisis. Around the world, cases are being filed relating to health and economic effects and labour conditions. The new Dutch act that became applicable on the 1st of January 2020, the Collective Redress of Mass Damages Act (WAMCA), may be a useful tool to address the litigation following the corona crisis.
Digital court room Rotterdam (rechtspraak.nl)
While our focus is on keeping ourselves and others healthy and safe and we share the great concerns and grief caused by the corona virus, our team tries to keep the spirit up and is working at a reduced pace from home. Our PhD researcher Georgia had to return earlier from her research stay in Singapore – but we are happy to have her back safe and sound – and many of our planned activities have been cancelled. Luckily, some meetings and events can still go through online and we hope that this virus that has been so devastating for many people can be controlled soon and we can begin to pick up our normal life routines and work activities in a world that has been shaken.
The disruption of society has naturally also affected our justice systems. In the Netherlands, the courts were closed on 17 March 2020, and only process designated urgent cases (including child protection cases, health and security related cases, insolvency cases, and certain criminal cases). A positive side effect is the rapid uptake of digitisation of justice. In the Netherlands, on 3 April 2020 a legislative proposal was put forward to enable more electronic communication and video calling to secure that the judiciary can keep functioning. We report more in detail on this in our blogpost on Conflictoflaws.net.
Stay safe and healthy!
Jos Hoevenaars was interviewed for the Dutch magazine for the legal profession ‘Het Advocatenblad’ about his insight into the experiences of lawyers who find themselves litigating before the European Court of Justice after their case is referred though a reference for a preliminary ruling. In the interview (freely translated: ‘Court of Justice? Experience Needed!’) he discusses his empirical research among Dutch lawyers and paints a picture of generally overwhelmed professionals scrambling for assistance among EU law scholars, while making the best of their opportunity to plead before the ECJ, often in opposition to a group of well-trained EU law experts appearing on behalf of intervening Member States. His work on the reference procedure highlight the inequality in representation before the ECJ and its potential negative impact on the Court’s caselaw and its national consequences.
In February, we hosted Anna Wysocka-Bar as a guest researcher at our team and Erasmus School of Law. Anna is a lecturer at Jagiellonian University (Poland) and an academic coordinator of a Jean Monnet Module 2019-2022 on European private international law. She holds PhD degree (the thesis on party autonomy in international succession law was successfully defended at Jagiellonian University, Poland) and an LLM in law and technology (Ottawa University, Canada).
Anna reported: "I came to Rotterdam to kick-off my research on the interaction between EU private international law and unified transport law conventions. Within three weeks of my stay in the Netherlands, I profited greatly from the Sanders Law Library in Rotterdam and Peace Palace Library in the Hague, attended seminars and guest lectures, spotted best practices when observing how EU private international law is taught at Erasmus School of Law, and, last but not least, was given the opportunity to discuss my ideas with top experts from Erasmus University – the hub of international transport, trade and private international law in Europe. My stay in the Netherlands was possible thanks to the famous Dutch hospitality and a research grant from the Miniatura programme of the National Science Center (Poland)."
On Friday 21 February 2020, the team of the ERC project Building EU Civil Justice organised a seminar on European Cross-Border Procedures. Guests of this seminar were nine students from the Sigmund Freud University Vienna. The aim of this event was to create an international outlet where students would discuss topics related to the theme of the seminar and receive feedback from senior academics.
Before joining the Seminar, the students prepared a presentation which they presented and discussed at the Austrian Ministry of Justice, EU institutions in Brussels and the Hague Conference on Private International Law. The Erasmus School of Law was the last stage of this trip and the Building EU Civil Justice team gladly accepted to discuss with the students.
The Seminar was opened by Prof. Xandra Kramer, the leader of Building EU Civil Justice, and Florian Heindler, assistant professor at the Sigmund Freud University who was accompanying the students. After these warm greetings, Alina Ontanu gave a short lecture on Access to Justice via e-Handling of Cross-border Procedures. Next, Felix Gruber, Sarah Kremser, and Mariella Sturz presented respectively their research on the amendment of the EU Evidence Regulation in the light of IT, the amendment of the EU Service Regulation in the light of IT, and the impact of the Hague Service Convention on Austria. Priskila Pratita Penasthika form the ESL commented on their presentation and gave some feedback.
Emma van Gelder started the second half of the seminar with a lecture on online dispute resolution in Europe. Her lecture was followed by the presentations of Stella Galehr, Tessa Grosz, and Tanja Pfleger who respectively presented on the liability of states and private entities in relation to the use of IT in international legal cooperation, non-discriminatory access to IT-based judicial infrastructure, and questions of data protection in judicial cooperation under the Hague Adults Convention. For this panel, Betul Kas served as discussant and moderator. In the last panel of this seminar, Julius Merhaut, Simon Kirschner, and Andrea Szell presented while Erlis Themeli provided feedback. The presentations of these students focused on iSupport status quo and further perspectives, possibilities and risks of IT for a uniform commercial register, and the EIO - The implementation of the Directive 2014/41/EU (Int adm law).
In the end, those attending the seminar joined a small reception where they expressed their gratitude for the organisation and in particular for Erlis and Florian who coordinated it. Considering the positive experience, the Austrian guests wish to see similar events more often in the future. The Building EU Civil Justice team is more than happy to host and help organising similar events in the future.
On 21 February 2020, Dr. Florian Heindler (Sigmund Freud University, Vienna) our team - with special thanks to Erlis Themeli - organized a small scale a seminar on e-justice at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Nine students from Vienna accompanied Dr. Heindler to learn abouy and give presentation on e-justice. Our univeristy was the last one in a series of visits, including to the European Commission and the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
The students presented their research on a wide variety of interesting topics on judicial cooperation and the use of IT, including on the Service and Evidence Regulations and Conventions, liablity in relation to the use of IT international legal cooperation, non-discriminatory access to IT-based judicial infrastructure, and data protection. Some of our ERC members and other staff members of our law school gave a presentation or acted as commentator to the students' presentations.
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Xandra Kramer a Vici grant of 1.5 million euros for the project 'Affordable access to justice: towards sustainable cost and funding mechanisms for civil litigation in Europe'. This grant will enable to further develop her research in the area of civil justice and to consolidate her research group in the coming five years. Vici is one of the largest scientific grants for individuals in the Netherlands and targets advanced researchers.
The project will assess new pathways to civil justice funding and cost schemes, with a view to developing a balanced financing system, thereby securing access to justice in Europe. We will analyse the development of (private) financing and cost mechanisms in several European jurisdictions and build on a framework for financing and cost rules that contributes to a sustainable European civil justice system.
The Vici grant builds on the present ERC Consolidator project Building EU Civil Justice. The new project is expected to kick off in September 2020. We will start recruiting postdoc and PhD researchers as well as a senior researcher soon.
See the press release by Erasmus School of Law.
On 6 February 2020, Xandra Kramer gave two presentations on developments in e-justice and e-evidence in Europe and globally at MacKenzie University in Campinas, Brazil. These presentations were part of a 'trilogy' on civil justice, focusing on the past, the present and the future. Prof. Remco van Rhee (Maastricht University) focused on historical aspects, while Prof. Alan Uzelac (University of Zagreb) addressed the use of artificial intelligence in civil justice.
These lectures were part of the celebration of the 150th anniversity of MacKenzie University in Campinas. Our stay in Campinas was kindly hosted by Prof. Edilson Vitorelli.
Xandra Kramer presented at a Summer School on New trends in European Civil Procedure and the ELI-Unidroit Model Rules that took place in Vitória, Brazil, from 3-5 February 2020. Her key note focused on the mission, general principles and prospective of the ELI-Unidroit European Rules of Civil Procedure, which are expected be adopted this year. Commentators were Profs. Antonio do Passo Cabral (UERF) and Ricardo Gueiros (UFES). This Summer School was organized by Profs. Hermes Zaneti jr. (UFES) and Antonio Cabral, and hosted by the Federal University of Espírito Santo. Other key notes speakers were Prof. Remco van Rhee (Maastricht University) and Alan Uzelac (University of Zagreb). Our stay in Vitória was kindly hosted by Prof. Hermes Zaneti.
As part of a two weeks stay in Brazil, Xandra Kramer gave a presentation at a seminar on collective redress, organized by the Public Procecutors Office and ProcNet, in Rio de Janeiro on 31 January 2020. Our stay was kindly hosted by Prof. Antonio Cabral (UERF). The seminar assembled public prosecutors involved on collective action in Brazil, lawyers, academics and students. Her presentation focused on Collective redress and mass settlements in a Dutch, European and private international law perpective. Discussion evolved around the WCAM settlement mechanism and international jurisdiction, safeguards in collective actions and the new Dutch act on collective action for damages that came into force on 1 January of this year.
On 1 January 2020 Betül Kas joined our ERC team as a postdoc researcher on the subproject on privatisation of civil justice. She is the successor of Alexandre Biard, who as of December 2019 continued his career as a senior advisor at BEUC in Brussels, where he will be able to use his extensive research experience for the benefit of enforcing consumer rights in the EU. We are grateful for his invaluable contribution to our project, resulting in an impressive number of publications and conference presentations among others. We all greatly appreciated his many initiatives, his fieldwork, support of the other researchers, work spirit, and good sense of humour. We are happy to keep him in our team as an affiliated researcher and look forward to our futher collaboration.
We welcome Betül to our team as the successor of Alexandre for the postdoc project on privatisation. She has an impressive track record, having worked among others as a PhD researcher in the ERC Advanced project of Hans Micklitz at the European University Institute in Florence and as a postdoc researcher in the Vidi project led by Chantal Mak at the University of Amsterdam. Her German background will further strengthen our research on German law and practice. One of her research focuses will be the interaction between public and private justice. We are very happy to have Betül on our team and look forward to working with her in 2020 and onwards!
Two ERC Members – Erlis Themeli and Emma van Gelder – in cooperation with Anna van Duin (UvA) received the ACES research grant to organize an academic conference. The theme of this Conference focuses on the question if and how digital and intelligent technologies can contribute to enhancing access to justice for EU citizens and consumers. It aims at bringing together legal scholars and social scientists with an interest in (automated) decision-making processes and dispute resolution mechanisms in contemporary Europe. As such, it aims to spark an interdisciplinary debate within the research community at UvA and beyond on how technological developments can facilitate access to justice, a cornerstone of the rule of law. The organisers are preparing the programma and the conference is intended to take place in September 2020.
Erlis Themeli was invited as a guest lecturer at the Bar-Ilan University (Ramat Gan, Israel) from 16 to 20 December 2019. Erlis delivered lectures on digital technologies and law to a group of Israeli and international students. During this week, Erlis presented also at the Law, Artificial intelligence and Data Science Conference organised on 18-19 December 2019. The Conference served as an inauguration event for the BIU LawData LAB. This invitation was supported by an Erasmus+ grant of the European Union. Erlis’ presentation was well received with many participants suggesting ways to follow up on it. Erlis had also the possibility to establish a bridgehead with colleagues from the BIU LawData LAB, which will serve as a starting point for future collaborations.
On 11 December, Xandra Kramer and Emma van Gelder participated in the HCCH a|Bridged Edition 2019 held at the Peace Palace in the Hague. The conference evolved around innovation in cross-border litigation and civil procedure, focusing on the HCCH Service Convention in the era of electronic and information technology.
Emma presented within the Panel ‘The Prism: The Tech Battle for e-Service’. Her topic was distributed ledger technology (DLT). She first briefly explained what DLT is. Subsequently, she explained how DLT could support and improve the operation of the HCCH Service Convention, touching upon benefits as efficiency, transparency and the mitigation on the dependence of an intermediary. After setting out the benefits, she presented several challenges of DLT touching upon challenges as lack of an international legal framework and legal standards, scalability challenges and the digital divide.
Xandra chaired the Open Lab panel, involving an academic examination of the operation of the Service Convention in the world of tomorrow and a discussion with the audience. Xandra’s presentation focused on the achievements of the Service Convention, as one of the most successful Conventions. She highlighted problems encountered in the EU context extrapolated to the global level as well as the tension between the required efficiency to improve access to justice and the need for protecting other fundamental rights, including the right to be heard, privacy and security in the digital context. She addressed the question in how far the Convention would need amendment, considering the principle of functional equivalent, and the need for an overarching instrument on digital judicial cooperation.
On 28-29 November 2019, the Ius Commune Research School organised its annual congress. Emma van Gelder and Erlis Themeli presented at the workshop Technology for Civil Justice. Erlis presented on The virtual courtroom and users’ perception, which relates to his research on the use new technologies in courts rooms. Emma presented jointly with Bianca Kremer (University of St Gallen) on Consumer ODR and blockchain within the workshop Technology for Civil Justice, aimed to explore the impact of technology on civil justice from the perspective of acess to justice and procedural fairness. Both Erlis and Emma participated in the open discussion organised at the end of this workshop. In addition, Erlis presented also at the workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Fundamental Rights. His presentation on Applying AI in Courts received positive feedback and served as an important building block for the discussion during the workshop.
The INTRAlaw programme of the Aarhus University organised a colloquium on 21st and 22nd November 2019 intended to discuss issues related to access to justice. The organisers were particularly interested in legal aid and digitisation and access to justice in environmental cases. Erlis Themeli was invited to participate and bring his expertise and that of our project in the discussion. During the discussion Erlis pointed out the new challenges that digital technologies bring to courts, court-users, and legislators. He pointed-out that these challenges should not be isolated from other aspects of access to justice. A comprehensive approach, like the one Building EU Civil Justice takes, is more beneficial to the parties involved. The colloquium ended with a pledge to meet again in the future and further discuss on this important topic.
The latest issue of Erasmus Law Review, edited by Xandra Kramer and John Sorabji, is dedicated to International Business Courts. It contains eleven papers focusing on a specific jurisdiction or on horizontal issues, including on international jurisdiction and lawyers’ preferences in international litigation. This special issue results from the seminar ‘Innovating International Business Courts: a European Outlook’, and includes the speaker contributions to that seminar and additional articles resulting from a call for papers on this blog.
The complete issue can be downloaded here.
Similtaneously a book expanding on the topic and including views from twelve jurisdictions has just been published: International Business Courts: A European and Global Perspective (eds. Xandra Kramer & John Sorabji), Eleven International Publishing 2019. (order form)
The open access electronic version of this book is available here.
On the 29th of October, Emma van Gelder gave a presentation at the ODR Forum 2019, held in Virginia, United States of America. This conference gathers ODR experts and practitioners from around the world to discuss topical issues within ODR. Emma presented her research on the European Union approach to consumer ODR with references to two case-studies she undertook giving insights derived from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. She outlined the EU legislation on Consumer ADR/ODR, discussing the ADR Directive 2013/11 and the ODR Regulation 524/2013, and the first results of this legislation in practice. Based on the findings as well as the case-studies, she gave some recommendations and thoughts on how to improve the legislation.
On 27 September the VSR and the ESL-research programme ‘Rethinking the Rule of Law’ organised a socio-legal seminar at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. During this meeting, Linda Mulcahy (Professor of Socio-Legal Studies and the Director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford) presented her research titled ‘The Democratic Courthouse? Unravelling the complex relationship between design, due process and dignity in English courts’. Xandra Kramer acted as a discussant for professor Mulcahy.
Additionally, Jos Hoevenaars presented results of his doctoral research on litigation before the European Court of Justice and tied it into his research on (self)representation and the impact of lawyers in the courtroom.
Following the election as a member to the Royal Netherlands Society of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) earlier this year, Xandra Kramer was installed at a ceremony on 17 September 2019, along with 21 other Dutch and foreign scholars. After giving a short speech, focusing on the importance of access to civil justice and research speerheads, the sound of the chime confirmed the installation.
Xandra was elected for her work in the area of European civil justice and private international law. The Royal Academy is the forum, conscience, and voice of the arts and sciences in the Netherlands, the Academy promotes the quality of scientific and scholarly work and strives to ensure that Dutch scholars and scientists make the best possible contribution to the cultural, social, and economic development of Dutch society. The Royal Academy currently has around 500 Dutch members and a selection of foreign members, elected for life, representing all arts and sciences.
On 3 September 2019, Erlis Themeli participated in the 110th Annual Conference of the Society of Legal Scholars, “Central Questions about Law” held at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, the United Kingdom. This Conference gathers academics from the UK and abroad to discuss almost all the topics related to law. A part of the Conference is dedicated to private international issues. Erlis presented his research on possible limits to consumer protection in the Brussels I (recast) Regulation. This study suggests that in the digital world some customers may conceal or deform their identity. As a result, unaware traders may find themselves dealing with customers domiciled in jurisdictions where they do not want to trade. The aim of the study is consider the possible consequences that new technologies have on private international law.
Xandra Kramer has been appointed as an external scientific fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law in Luxembourg. In August she will stay at the Institute to work on several research projects.
Xandra Kramer has authored the updated Practice Guide and User Guide for the European Small Claims Procedure, approved by the European Judicial Network. The Small Claims Regulation became applicable on 1 January 2009, and an amended version became applicable on 14 July 2017, necessitating updates of the Guides. The European Small Claims Regulation aims to provide a low threshold procedure for consumers to claim their rights in cross-border cases in the EU. The amended Regulation enables to pursue claims with a value up to 5,000 EUR. It strengthens the electronic support and conduct of the procedure, making it more accessible to in person litigants. A novelty in the User Guide and the extensive Practice Guide is the link to available ADR mechanisms and the reference to the ODR platform, which informs consumers and practitioners about the existing alternatives. These are part of a consumer campaign launched in July to inform consumers about their rights. The new Guides as well as other tools on and information about the Small Claims Procedure is available in the Small Claims Section of the e-Justice Portal.
On 18 July, Alina Ontanu and Georgia Antonopoulou gave a presentation at the ‘International Civil and Commercial Dispute Resolution and Judicial Cooperation in Asia Pacific’ conference organized by the China-Australia Private International Law Forum in Shanghai, China. During her presentation Alina focused on the potential of the newly established international commercial courts to address the needs of cross-border litigation. Georgia in turn compared the international commercial courts established in Europe and Asia. Despite their common features, Georgia highlighted the differentiated approaches the European vs. the Asian courts adopt with regard to the international character of the disputes they handle, their voluntary establishment of jurisdiction and their arbitration like features.