Out-of-court justice in the European Enforcement Landscape – 1st EU Civil Justice Seminar
Sustaining Access to Justice in Europe: New Avenues for Costs and Funding
The team of the NWO Vici project ‘Affordable Access to Justice’ at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University (Rotterdam), is organising the conference ‘Sustaining Access to Justice in Europe: New Avenues for Costs and Funding’ on 19 and 20 October 2023 at the Erasmus Paviljoen at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Access to civil justice is of paramount importance for enforcing citizens’ rights. At the heart of access to civil justice lies litigation funding and cost management. Yet, over the past decades, access to justice has been increasingly put under pressure due to retrenching governments, high costs of procedure, and the inefficiency of courts and justice systems. Within this context, the funding of litigation in Europe seems to be shifting from public to private sources. Private actors and innovative business models emerged to provide new solutions to the old problem of financial barriers of access to justice.
With the participation of policymakers, practitioners, academics, and civil society representatives from all over Europe and beyond, the conference seeks to delve deeper into the financial implications of access to justice and the different ways to achieve sustainable civil justice systems in Europe.
The topics addressed in this international academic conference will include the different methods of financing dispute resolution, particularly in the context of group litigation (third-party funding, crowdfunding, blockchain technologies), public interest litigation, developments in ADR/ODR, the new business models of legal professionals as well as law and economics aspects on litigation funding. The conference is supported by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).
Find the link to registration here.
Please find the preliminary conference programme below.
Call for papers Vici Conference Sustainable justice 2023.pdf
Published: June 8, 2021
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.