Affordable Access to Justice
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.
Towards sustainable cost and funding mechanisms for civil litigation in Europe
At the heart of effective access to civil justice lies litigation funding and cost management. Access to civil justice has been under pressure due to retrenching governments, high costs, and procedural inefficiency. The Vici 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. Combining legal-normative, comparative law, and empirical research, the project will (1) analyse the development of private funding and cost mechanisms in selected European jurisdictions (where three key jurisdictions are the United Kingdom (England and Wales), Germany and the Netherlands, while Scandinavian countries are also of interest); (2) scrutinise these against the background of securing access to justice as a fundamental right; and (3) devise a framework for funding and cost rules, contributing to a sustainable European civil justice system.
The Vici project financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) kicked off on 1 December 2020 and will be at full speed in January 2021 when all staff members will have started. It complements and builds on the ERC consolidator project Building EU Civil Justice: challenges of procedural innovations - bridging access to justice (2017-2022).
Meet our Vici project team members
Prof. dr. Xandra Kramer
I am the project leader and professor of private law (focus on civil justice) at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam; professor of private international law at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance of Utrecht University; and Deputy Judge in the District Court of Rotterdam. I am member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). My alma mater is Leiden University. In the law area, I am fascinated by the crossroads between procedural justice and economic efficiency, including cost and funding; the functioning of civil justice systems; justice innovation and digitisation; transnational complex litigation; and the harmonisation of European private international law and civil procedure (see also xandrakramer.eu). My mission is to improve access to civil justice for all, and in a tailor-made jacket. In daily life, I am inspired, intrigued, and moved by people, the beauty of nature, (non law) books, and music.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: +31 (0)10 408 1628
Dr. Eva Storskrubb
I am a Associate Professor (Docent) in procedural law and part-time researcher at Uppsala University (Sweden). I hold an LL.L degree from the University of Helsinki and a Ph.D. from the European University Institute in Florence. My research focuses on EU procedural law, civil justice and transnational dispute resolution in civil and commercial matters including private international law. My current research project focuses on interim relief and the European Account Preservation Order. She also practices law in Sweden. I was co-reporter for two working groups, on service of documents and on litigation costs in the project European Rules of Civil Procedure of the European Law Institute (ELI) and UNIDROIT (2014-2019). In the context of the Vici project I aim to amongst other examine issues related to litigation insurance in the Nordic countries. I am also interested in litigation funding issues at the EU level. Further, I will be co-supervisor for doctoral candidate Eduardo Silva de Freitas.
Dr. Carlota Ucin
I am a postdoc researcher at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, working on the subproject: From public to private funding. I graduated in Law in Argentina, where I also specialized in Procedural Law. I have my Master degree in Argumentative Theory (Alicante University, 2011). My main theoretical interests are in the intersection among Procedural Law, Legal Theory and Human Rights. In 2016 I defended my PhD thesis on collective redress and social rights enforcement introducing the Public Interest Litigation perspective (Buenos Aires University, 2016). Before joining Erasmus School of Law, I lived in Argentina and worked in the Buenos Aires Supreme Court for more than 10 years. I was also a Professor in Civil Procedure at La Plata University and Palermo University. In the former, I also founded the Public Interest Review for disseminating this form of litigation. Apart from being very passionate about Law and Legal Theory, I also enjoy contemporary art. In this vein, I like writing poetry and I am also a contemporary dance performer.
Adriani Dori LLM
I am a postdoc researcher at the Erasmus School of Law, working on the VICI project “Affordable access to justice” (Subproject 2, Cost mechanisms). I obtained a Law degree and an LL.M. in Civil Procedural Law, Civil Law and Legal History from the Democritus University of Thrace (Greece), and a second LL.M. in German and European Procedural Law from the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg (Germany). At the moment, I am finalising my PhD on the European Commission’s Justice Scoreboard and its impact on domestic reforms processes. Before joining the Erasmus School of Law, I have worked as a research fellow at the Institute for Comparative Law, Conflicts of Law and International Business Law in Heidelberg (2011-2012), as a researcher at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law (2012-2020), as a Greek law expert in Greece (Athens Bar Association) and Germany, and I have given lessons at the University of Luxembourg. My main research interests include comparative and European procedural law, private international law, empirical legal studies, justice reforms, and new governance techniques in the European AFSJ. In my free time, I love to cook for friends, to get lost on the Internet, and to create law-related memes. I also like sports, but I am increasingly playing them only on my
Eduardo Silva de Freitas LLM
I am a PhD candidate at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, working on the subproject Crowdfunding civil justice. I studied for my LLB Qld at Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, obtained my first LLM in corporate and commercial law at the University of Sheffield (November 2019, distinction) and my second LLM in international and European business law at KU Leuven (July 2020, magna cum laude). I worked as a junior associate at Queila Martins & Advogados Associados, a local law firm located in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, where I handled cases that touched upon several areas of contract law, focusing on consumer credit law and private law instruments deriving from banking regulation such as contract interpretation, contract nullity and damages. During my bachelor studies, I was awarded undergraduate research fellowships to conduct projects on the constitutional aspects of the right to education and on the challenges that globalization poses for human dignity. I was admitted to the Santa Catarina branch of the Brazilian Bar in 2018, where I am an advisory member of the constitutional law commission. In my free hours I update myself on current issues in Brazilian law and politics.
Adrian Cordina LLM
I am a PhD candidate at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, working on the ‘Funding and who decides?’ subproject. In 2017, I completed the Bachelor of Laws and the Master of Advocacy at the University of Malta. The following year (2018) I obtained the LL.M. ‘European Master in Law and Economics’ at the University of Bologna, Erasmus University Rotterdam and the University of Hamburg and was admitted to the Bar of Malta in 2019. Besides some English language teaching and a couple of legal internships during my studies, I worked in corporate law at KPMG Malta between 2018 and 2020. I have a deep interest in the intersections between law, economics and human rights. In my spare time I enjoy football, cycling and yoga.
Dr. Masood Ahmed
I am an Associate Professor at the University of Leicester (UK). I read law at the University of Cambridge (Sidney Sussex College) and completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice at Cardiff University. I qualified as a solicitor at an international commercial law firm and focused on commercial dispute resolution (including international commercial arbitration and mediation) and commercial transactional work. I have written extensively on the English civil justice system and have been involved in implementing key civil justice reforms including the Jackson Reforms on Civil Litigation Costs and the Briggs Civil Courts Structure Review. I am a member of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee and work closely with senior members of the judiciary and leading practitioners in drafting procedural rules and implementing reform projects. I am also the ADR and case note editor for the Civil Justice Quarterly; commentator of the Civil Procedure Rules; and editorial member of the Journal of Personal Injury Law. At the Leicester Law School, I convene the Dispute Resolution Research Cluster and convene the Civil Justice Systems and ADR stream for the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Annual Conference. I was a visiting professor in international commercial arbitration at Masaryk University (Czech Republic).
Our advisory board offers expertise on national law and specific topics of our research, gives feedback on our activities, and supports in the design and implementation of empirical research where necessary. The members of our advisory board are:
Executive Director of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law; Professor in Civil Law, Civil Procedure, Private International Law, European Law and Public International Law (Faculty of Law, Heidelberg University). His research interests include European civil procedural law; German civil procedural law.
Professor of Justice Systems, and head of the Swiss Re/CMS Research Programme on Civil Justice Systems, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. His research interests include Civil Justice Systems (procedural and funding systems); Multi-Party Actions (class actions and representative/collective actions); EU Regulation of Products; Healthcare law; Product liability; and Consumer law.
Professor in Empirical Legal Studies at the Erasmus School of Law of the Erasmus University Rotterdam at which university he is also an associate professor of sociology at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. His research focuses on the legitimization, implementation, and enforcement of laws and policies.
Associate Professor of Italian Civil Procedure and Comparative Civil Procedure; Scientific Director of the post-graduate program for the training of mediators and ADR professionals, Department of Law, University of Pavia. Her research interests include collective redress; ADR; and the structure of EU judicial systems.
Senior Judicial Institute Fellow, Faculty of Laws, University College, London; barrister; previously Principal Legal Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and the Master of the Rolls. His research interests include the operation of Civil Justice Systems; procedural reform and innovation; and, the philosophy of litigation. He is, amongst other things, the assistant editor of The White Book, the leading commentary on English and Welsh civil procedure.
Professor of Class Actions and Mass Claim Dispute Resolution at Tilburg University (the Netherlans). She currently serves as the Interim Academic Director of the Global Law Bachelor where she developed and teaches the course on Civil Procedure and Global Dispute Resolution. She complements her academic research and teaching with an active practice focusing on transnational litigation, litigation project management and alternative dispute resolution.