Out-of-court justice in the European Enforcement Landscape – 1st EU Civil Justice Seminar
Happy New Year’s wishes from our Vici Building European Civil Justice group. This year will mark a range of important events and book publications. We will host a series of webinars that will kick-off in the Spring. We are very happy that after a slow start during the pandemic, the book Research Methods in Private International Law, co-edited by Xandra Kramer and Laura Carballo Piñeiro is scheduled for publication by Elgar in May 2024. It contains fascinating chapters on regulatory, research and teaching approaches, including by our postdoc researchers Adriani Dori and Carlota Ucin. Around the same time we expect that the book Financing Collective Actions in the Netherlands: towards a Litigation Fund will be published by Eleven International Publishing, co-authored by our researchers Xandra Kramer and Jos Hoevenaars in collaboration with Ianika Tzankova and Karlijn van Doorn.This is an updated English version of a report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Justice. We are also excited about compiling our Handbook on European Civil Procedure, commissioned by The Gruyter that we co-edit together with Stefaan Voet and with a stellar author team. We will also submit the manuscript for our book on Sustainable Access to Justice, following our international conference of October of last year, co-edited by our group members Xandra Kramer, Masood Ahmed, Carlota Ucin and Adriani Dori featuring interesting chapters by our fantastic speakers and our PhD researchers Adrian Cordina and Eduardo Silva de Freitas. The latter two hope to wrap up most of their PhD research this year, together with our group member Antonia Antonopoulou. We are also happy to host guest PhD researcher Zilin Hao for six months who will introduce herself shortly. Our group is open for hosting other visiting researchers and for applications of (self-funded) new PhD candidates this year, and we look forward to many other collaborations to keep broadening our horizons.
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.