Volume 23 (2015) / Issue 4
Abstract: The Europeanization of national civil procedure law consists out of several pillars. The influence of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is well known. A second pillar of the European influence on civil procedure law is the growing number of European regulations concerning the crossroads of civil procedure law and private international law. This article focuses on the Europeanization of national law by a third, ‘invisible pillar’. The European influence in the ‘invisible pillar’ concerns many topics, such as ex officio application law, burden of proof, means of proof, costs, the free choice of a lawyer, the threshold amount exempt from seizure and arbitration. The first part of this invisible pillar follows from the role of national civil procedure law in enforcing EU law. The European Court leaves the procedural law to the national courts. The second area of the invisible pillar concerns procedural rules in Directives. A close look at several Directives reveals that the list of procedural topics touched upon by Directives is far from small. Directives contain procedural rules relevant for various capita of the civil procedure law of the Member States. This article seeks to shine some light on parts of this pillar by examining three topics: ex officio application, costs and the free choice of a lawyer, and legal expenses insurance. These examples serve to demonstrate that this area covers a wide variety of topics. Three problems relating to this invisible pillar will be identified: uncertainty, external differences, and internal differences.
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