Panel III: From Transnational Principles to European Rules of Civil Procedure (ELI-UNIDROIT)

One year after the first working groups of the ELI-UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law) joint project 'From Transnational Principles to European Rules of Civil Procedure' were established, the Project Reporters met in Vienna to present their progress. The ELI-UNIDROIT panel discussion was one of the highlights of the first day of ELI 2015 Annual Conference.

The panel began with opening remarks from the two co-chairs: Diana Wallis, then President of the ELI, and José Angelo Estrella Faria, then Secretary-General of UNIDROIT. Wallis welcomed the guests and expressed her sincere gratitude to the almost 30 working group members involved in the project and the development of draft procedural rules. Estrella Faria emphasised the impact of civil procedure on the economy and the life of each citizen. He further pointed out that the project focuses on the laws of Europe, but that the rules will inevitably have an impact on the development of civil procedure around the world.

Following the opening statements, Reporters from the initial three working groups addressed the most controversial aspects of their work. Gilles Cuniberti, professor of private international law and comparative law at the University of Luxembourg, addressed issues regarding Provisional and Protective Measures; Eva Storskrubb, from Uppsala University, focused on Service and Due Notice of Proceedings; and Neil Andrews, professor of civil justice and private law at the University of Cambridge, presented aspects of the work of the group on Access to Information and Evidence.

Subsequently, Rolf Stürner, professor at the University of Freiburg, who is a member of the project’s Steering Committee and who was actively involved in the creation of the (American Law Institute) ALI-UNIDROIT Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure, discussed the project’s history, methodology and aims. He observed that the current state of European legislation, which has developed in a 'step-by-step patchwork manner', provides an opportunity for ELI and UNIDROIT to present useful guideline for European legislators.

Michael Shotter, Head of the Civil Justice Policy Unit at the Directorate General of Justice and Consumers of the European Commission, discussed the working groups’ progress. Shotter stressed that the European Commission is following this project with great interest. He also mentioned his confident that its final product will contribute to the establishment of important minimum standards.

Following the presentations, participants at the Annual Conference took the opportunity to exchange their views with the reporters. The upcoming Conference that ELI and UNIDROIT are organising, in cooperation with the Academy of European Law (ERA), on 2627 November in Trier, will provide another invaluable opportunity to continue the discussion.