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How to understand and deal with the principle of mutual trust, its emanations, interpretations, and imperatives has in recent years become one of the central and most critical issues in the development of the Area of Freedom Security and Justice (AFSJ). Civil justice may be the dark horse with respect to mutual trust among the policy areas of the AFSJ in the sense that it may show useful but hitherto hidden possibilities and have an un-tipped winning strategy. In particular, the balancing safeguards in legislation, the importance of which have been confirmed in case law, are important to ensure the fundamental right to a fair trial. However, that does not mean that mutual trust does not pose challenges in the context of civil justice. Hence, it remains important to focus on how—normatively, and by which regulatory means—to support mutual trust as well as how to balance, and perhaps limit, its implementation in order to enhance its legitimacy. In addition, the recent pressures towards harmonisation need to be carefully analysed.
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