Volume 49 (2012) / Issue 3
The European law of civil procedure is a steady process of evolution and improvement. Marked by growing cooperation between the civil courts of EU Member States, this area of law is now increasingly dominated by judicial competition and by constitutional influences: on the one hand, the judicial systems of the Member States aspire to attract litigation of high value (often by plaintiff-oriented rules), and on the other hand, the European Court of Justice elaborates its case law on the principles of access to justice, free movement of judgments and fair trial in cross-border litigation. At present, the reform of the Brussels I Regulation (Reg. 44/2001) is on the legislative agenda. The main task of the European law-makers is to update the Regulation in order to maintain the sound administration of justice within the European Judicial Area by limiting competition between national judicial systems which does not necessarily correspond to the interests of private litigants. This article describes the ECJ's case law and takes stock of the present state of affairs for the Brussels I Regulation which is the cornerstone of the European law of civil procedure.
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