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Review Essay - Procedural Laws in Europe. Towards Harmonisation (Marcel Storme ed. 2003)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2019

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References

1 For a compilation of the most important Directives (in German, English and French) see Europäisches Schuldrecht / European Law of Obligations (Ulrich Magnus ed., 2002). A very important recent example is the EC Directive 99/44 of 25 May 1999 on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees, O.J. L 171/12. This Directive led to a major reform of German contract law (“Schuldrechtsmodernisierung“), see Rott, Peter, 5 German Law Journal No. 3 (1 March 2004), available at http://www.germanlawjournal.com/article.php?id=386.Google Scholar

2 For the debate about Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, A more coherent European contract law: an action plan COM (2003) 68 final, 12 February 2003, see Staudenmayer, Dirk, Der Aktionsplan der EG-Kommission zum Europäischen Vertragsrecht, 14 Europäische Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsrecht 165 (2003); Staudenmayer, Ein optionelles Instrument im Europäischen Vertragsrecht?, 4 Zeitschrift für Europäisches Privatrecht 828 (2003); Gralf-Peter Calliess, 4 German Law Journal No. 4 (1 April 2003), available at http://www.germanlawjournal.com/article.php?id=265; and Jürgen Basedow, Ein optionales Europäisches Vertragsgesetz – opt-in, opt-out, wozu überhaupt?, 1 Zeitschrift für Europäisches Privatrecht 1 (2004).Google Scholar

3 E.g., the Commission on European Contract Law (the so-called Lando Commission) was already established in 1980. The Lando Commission has devised Principles of European Contract Law, see Principles of European Contract Law, Parts I and II, (Lando, Ole/Beale, Hugh eds., 2000); Principles of European Contract Law, Part III (Lando, Ole/Clive, Eric/Prüm, Andre/Zimmermann, Reinhard eds., 2003). Wolfgang Wurmnest, Common Core, Grundregeln, Kodifikationsentwürfe, Acquis-Grundsätze – Ansätze internationaler Wirtschaftlergruppen zur Privatrechtsvereinheitlichung in Europa, 4 Zeitschrift für Europäisches Privatrecht 714 (2003) provides an extensive survey of other important scholarly efforts.Google Scholar

4 Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations, 19 June 1980, (Rome Convention).Google Scholar

5 Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, 27 September 1968. The Convention is now replaced by the Brussels I Regulation, see infra, note 17. In the area of judicial assistance, most Member States are party to the Hague Convention Relating to Civil Procedure, 1 March 1954 (dealing, inter alia, with security for costs and with proceedings in forma pauperis), to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, 15 November 1965, and to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters, 18 March 1970.Google Scholar

6 Cf. Kerameus, Konstantinos D., Angleichung des Zivilprozeßrechts in Europa, Einige grundlegende Aspekte, 66 Rabels Zeitschrift für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht 1, 2 (2002); Andreas Schwartze, Enforcement of Private Law: The Missing Link in the Process of European Harmonisation, 8 European Review of Private Law 135, 142 (2000).Google Scholar

7 In 1971, the signatory states conferred on the ECJ jurisdiction to interpret the Brussels Convention via preliminary rulings. These rulings have a harmonizing effect, because the ECJ interprets the provisions of the Convention autonomously, see Heß, Burkhard, Neue Juristische Wochenschrift 23, 24 (2000); Konstantinos D. Kerameus, Angleichung des Zivilprozeßrechts in Europa, Einige grundlegende Aspekte, 66 Rabels Zeitschrift für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht 1, 12 (2002); cf. also Rolf Stürner, Der deutsche Prozeßrechtslehrer am Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts, in Festschrift für Gerhard Lüke 829, 835 (H. Prütting ed., 1997).Google Scholar

8 Case C-20/92, Hubbard v. Hamburger, 1993 ECR I-3777, § 110 para. 1 German Code of Civil Procedure.Google Scholar

9 Case C-398/92, Mund & Fester v. Hatrex, 1994 ECR I-467 with comment by Schlosser, Zeitschrift für Europäisches Privatrecht 253 (1995): permission to attach a debtor's assets (dinglicher Arrest) solely on the ground that a subsequent judgment will have to be enforced abroad, § 917 para. 2 German Code of Civil Procedure.Google Scholar

10 Rapprochement du droit judiciaire de l'Union européenne – Approximation of Judiciary Law in the European Union 39 (Marcel Storme ed., 1994). For a presentation of the project see also Kerameus, Konstantinos D., Procedural Harminization in Europe 43 American Journal of Comparative Law 401, 410 (1995).Google Scholar

11 Roth, Günter H., 109 Zeitschrift für Zivilprozeß 271, 308 (1996); Eberhard Schilken, 109 Zeitschrift für Zivilprozeß 315, 330 (1996) concerning enforcement.Google Scholar

12 See especially Stürner, Rolf, Das Europäische Zivilprozeßrecht – Einheit oder Vielfalt?, in Wege zu einem europäischen Zivilprozeßrecht 1, 9 (Wolfgang Grunsky ed., 1992); id. at 17: irrational urge towards uniformity.Google Scholar

13 Roth, supra, note 11 at 313.Google Scholar

14 The Treaty of Amsterdam came into force on 1 May 1999.Google Scholar

15 See the latest update of the European Commission's scoreboard to review progress on the creation of an “area of freedom, security and justice” in the European Union, COM (2003) 812 final, 30 December 2003 at 40. The Commission has set up a website as well at http://europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/index_en.htm.Google Scholar

16 See the introduction to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council meeting at Tampere in October 1999, Bull. EU 10-99: “The European Council is determined to develop the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice by making full use of the possibilities offered by the Treaty of Amsterdam. … The European Council will place and maintain this objective at the very top of the political agenda.” See also the Council's draft programme of measures for implementation of the principle of mutual recognition of decisions in civil and commercial matters, OJ C 12/1 of 15 January 2001.Google Scholar

17 Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, O.J. 2001 L 12/1 (Brussels I), replacing the Brussels Convention; Council Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000 of 29 May 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and in matters of parental responsibility for children of both spouses, O.J. 2000 L 160/19 (Brussels II), soon (in March 2005) to be replaced by Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, O.J. 2003 L 338/1 (Brussels IIa); Council Regulation (EC) No 1346/2000 of 29 May 2000 on insolvency proceedings, O.J. 2000 L 160/1; Council Regulation (EC) No 1348/2000 of 29 May 2000 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil and commercial matters, O.J. 2000 L 160/37; Council Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001 of 28 May 2001 on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters, O.J. 2001 L 174/1; see also the Council Directive No 2003/8/EC of 27 January 2003 to improve access to justice in cross-border disputes by establishing minimum common rules relating to legal aid for such disputes, O.J. 2003 L 26/41, and the Council Decision of 28 May 2001, 2001/470/EC, establishing a European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters, O.J. 2001 L 174/25. Also, several other Community acts include procedural rules to further certain substantive issues, see, e.g., the Directive 1998/27/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 1998 on injunctions for the protection of consumers’ interests, O.J. 1998 L 166/51. These acts are primarily based on Art. 95 EC (establishment and functioning of the internal market).Google Scholar

18 See European Commission, Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, Assessment of the Tampere Programme and Future Orientations, COM (04) 4002 final, 2 June 2004 at 11; the Commission's scoreboard, supra, note 15, at 39; Richard Wagner, Neue Juristische Wochenschrift 2344, 2346 (2003); Burkhard Heß, Aktuelle Perspektiven der europaeischen Prozessrechtsangleichung, 11 Juristenzeitung 573, 578 (2001).Google Scholar

19 Cf. Heß, Burkhard, Die Integrationsfunktion des Europäischen Zivilverfahrensrechts, Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts 389, 390 (2001); Astrid Stadler, Das Europäische Zivilprozessrecht – Wie viel Beschleunigung verträgt Europa? – Kritisches zur Verordnung über den Europäischen Vollstreckungstitel und ihrer Grundidee, 1 Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts 2, 3 (2004).Google Scholar

20 See, e.g., the new Regulation (EC) No 805/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims, O.J. 2004 L 143/15. In order to facilitate cross-border enforcement, certain types of judgments will be recognized and enforced in every Member State without the need for exequatur as of October 2005 (cf. the current recognition procedure, Art. 38 Brussels I Regulation). The proceedings in the country of origin, in turn, will have to adhere to certain minimum standards, especially with regard to the service of documents, Arts. 13-15. The European Enforcement Order is the first step to extend the principle of mutual recognition, originally relating to the free movement of goods, to the area of civil procedure, cf. the Tampere Presidency Conclusions, supra, note 6, paras. 33,34, 37. See the critical remarks by Stadler, Id., 5; cf. also, Heß, Id., 391. In response to persistent criticism, the original Commission proposal was later amended to enhance protection of debtors, especially consumers, see Stein, Andreas, Der Europäische Vollstreckungstitel für unbestrittene Forderungen tritt in Kraft – Aufruf zu einer nüchternen Betrachtung, 3 Praxis des Internationalen Privat- und Verfahrensrechts 181, 189 (2004).Google Scholar

21 For a presentation of the preliminary draft see Sutter-Somm, Thomas, Vereinheitlichung des Schweizerischen Zivilprozessrechts – Der Vorentwurf zur Schweizerischen Zivilprozessordnung im Überblick, 7 Zeitschrift für Zivilprozeß International 369 (2002).Google Scholar

22 For an English-language overview of German accelerated proceedings see Wagner, G., The Purpose and Importance of Preliminary and Summary Procedures, in Prozeßrecht und Rechtskulturen – Procedural Law and Legal Cultures 69 (Peter Gilles ed., 2004).Google Scholar

23 E.g., the German Arrest order and subsequent attachment of specified assets, §§ 916-934 German Code of Civil Procedure.Google Scholar

24 Directive 2000/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 June 2000 on combating late payment in commercial transactions, O.J. 2000 L 200/35, Art. 5: “Member States shall ensure that an enforceable title can be obtained, irrespective of the amount of the debt, normally within 90 calendar days of the lodging of the creditor's action or application …, provided that the debt or aspects of the procedure are not disputed. …”. Further Community action is foreseeable, see the European Commission's proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council creating a European order for payment procedure, COM (04) 173 final, 12 March 2004 – 2004/55 (COD); cf. also the Commission's Green Paper on a European order for payment procedure and on measures to simplify and speed up small claims litigation, COM (2002) 746 final, 20 December 2002.Google Scholar

25 See Rapprochement, supra, note 10 at 147, 207.Google Scholar

26 Directive 98/27/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 1998 on injunctions for the protection of consumers’ interests, O.J. 1998 L 166/51.Google Scholar

27 See also Gilles, Peter, Vereinheitlichung und Angleichung unterschiedlicher nationaler Rechte. Die Europäisierung des Zivilprozeßrechts als ein Beispiel, 7 Zeitschrift für ZIVILPROZEß International 3 (2002).Google Scholar

28 Cf. the huge international joint project by the American Law Institute and Unidroit on transnational procedure: in the beginning, the participants only endeavored to devise detailed rules, but the scope was later extended to include principles as well. See The American Law Institute/UNIDROIT, Principles and Rules of Transnational Civil Procedure, Proposed Final Draft, 9 March 2004. A prior version is available at http://www.ali.org/ali/TransCP-CD2.pdf. For a detailed presentation of the project see the contributions to Uniform Law Review 739-1033 (Kronke, Herbert, ed., 2001-4).Google Scholar

29 Cf. the Commission's action plan “A more coherent European contract law”, supra note 2 at 8.Google Scholar

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