ERA’s Director, Dr. Wolfgang Heusel, opened the Conference on 26 November, emphasising the importance of more unified procedural rules across the European legal landscape. ELI President, Ms Diana Wallis, welcomed the participants in the name of the ELI and UNIDROIT and expressed her gratitude for the interest of legal experts from all over Europe. Ms Wallis particularly thanked the European Parliament and the European Commission, both of which sent representatives to this event, for their interest in this project.
In total, five panel sessions took place during the Conference. Each session was chaired by one member of the Steering Committee of the ELI-UNIDROIT joint project, accompanied by a member of the respective working group and an independent leading discussant.
During the first day three working groups presented their first draft rules: Access to information and evidence, Provisional and protective measures, and Res judicata and lis pendens. The working groups on Obligations of the parties, lawyers and judges, and Service and due notice proceedings presented their draft rules during the second day. Professor Rolf Stürner delivered final remarks at the close of the Conference.
Over 70 legal experts attended the event. Comments were wide-ranging, insightful and properly challenging. Of particular note was attendees’ favourable reception of the working groups’ findings, not least the general need for unifying rules on civil procedure. As pointed out by one of the panellists, “recent years have seen the emergence of European civil procedure rules and this project could indeed serve as a useful tool to avoid a haphazard growth of those rules”. Participants unanimously agreed that the ELI-UNIDROIT project’s results will certainly represent a valuable set of materials, which will provide an excellent basis for future discussion, analysis and development.
Many points made by the attendees contributed to the project’s further development and will be carefully considered by the respective working groups when preparing a revised and more detailed set of draft rules at the end of 2016.