ELI Project Kick-Off Webinar: Digitalisation of Civil Justice Systems in Europe


The ELI project on Digitalisation of Civil Justice Systems in Europe was Presented at a Kick-Off Webinar on 21 June

Pascal Pichonnaz (ELI President; Professor, University of Fribourg), opened the webinar by welcoming speakers and attendees and introducing the project. He said that in the past decade, governments have invested in digitalising justice, but the level of digitalisation differs from country to country and within the EU. The primary purpose of this new ELI project is to develop a set of principles, deriving fundamental rights from Article 6(1) ECHR and Article 47 of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights, providing an overarching framework for improving the use of digital technology in the judiciary. He then introduced the Reporters who outlined the project and the context out of which it arose.

Dory Reiling (Lead Reporter; IT and Judicial Reform Expert; Retired Senior Judge of the Amsterdam District Court) started by delivering a brief presentation of the project and of its team, methodology and purpose. The project aims at a set of principles which could serve as a framework to improve the use of digital technology to realise the key values of justice delivery. The preliminary structure of the final output includes: general provisions, basic principles, access to justice, fair hearing, public hearing, reasonable time, independence and impartiality. The project will take into account the ELI-UNIDROIT Model Rules for Civil Procedure and the OCED criteria for people-centred design and delivery of legal and justice services, among others.

Xandra Kramer (Associate Reporter; Professor, Erasmus School of Law and Utrecht University), Masood Ahmed (Associate Reporter; Associate Professor, University of Leicester) and Jiří Novák (Associate Reporter; Practicing Lawyer, Chair of the IT Law Committee, Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE)) also intervened and expressed their initial thoughts on the project.

Lorena Bachmaier-Winter (MCC chair of the project; Professor, Complutense University) complimented the Reporters on the project idea, its timeliness and its importance. She then mentioned a few aspects that in her view need to be taken into account during their elaboration on the output, including access and security, data storage, confidentiality, respect for procedural rights, assigning responsibility in case of hackings and budgetary issues.

Francesco Depasquale (Judge, President of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)) took the floor last and gave an overview of CEPEJ’s work in the field of digitalisation of justice systems. He highlighted five principles that CEPEJ considers central: respect of fundamental rights, non-discrimination, quality and security, transparency, impartiality and fairness.

The presentations were followed by a lively discussion with participants.

The recording of the webinar is available below.