ELI-UNIDROIT joint Project ‘From Transnational Principles to European Rules of Civil Procedure’ – Meeting in Rome


Members of the ELI-UNIDROIT joint venture convened on 5-7 April 2017 in Rome to discuss issues pertaining to the finalisation of the first three drafts of European rules of civil procedure, and plan the work of the newer Working Groups (WGs) ahead.

The focus of the first day of the meeting, 5 April, was the discussion of the three final drafts on ‘access to information and evidence’, ‘provisional and protective measures’, and ‘service and due notice of proceedings’. The Co-reporters of the Working Groups, which were developing those rules, met with some of the Steering Committee Members, Anna Veneziano, Rolf Stürner, John Sorabji, and Remo Caponi, and the Co-reporters of the WG ‘Structure’, Xandra Kramer, and Loïc Cadiet (remotely). The first working session of that meeting was devoted to the discussion of the next steps concerning the consolidation of the first three drafts and the structure of the rules. The second part of the working meeting on 5 April was devoted to the discussion with the WGs of the second and third cycles of the Project. The Co-reporters of those WGs, received information concerning the envisaged deadlines for the submission of the final drafts, the exact procedure of consolidation of all the inputs, and were informed about the important issues regarding the drafting process of the deliverables. The Co-reporters of the WG ‘Structure’ also shared the templates with all the Working Groups, who are currently drafting or finalising their drafts. The uniform templates were designed to provide a single format, which would allow to shape and present the draft rules and comments in a more consistent way.

The official part of the Joint Steering Committee Meeting with Members of the Project started on the next day. The Secretary General of the UNIDROIT, José Angelo Estrella Faria, and the ELI President, Diana Wallis chaired the meeting on 6-7 April. All the Members of the Steering Committee were present during the two-day event, as well as the Co-reporters and Members of all of the Project’s Working Groups (currently 8 WGs: ‘Access to information and evidence’; ‘Provisional and protective measures’; ‘Service and due notice of proceedings’; ‘Obligations of parties, lawyers and judges’; ‘Res judicata and lis pendens’; ‘Judgments’; ‘Parties’; ‘Costs’; and ‘Structure’).

The purpose of the meeting on 6 April was presentation of the results of the intensive work of the WG ‘Structure’ on the consolidation of the first three sets of rules on civil procedure. The WG Co-reporter, Xandra Kramer, therefore, presented the intermediate results of the consolidation and the ultimate goal of the WG – to achieve coherence in terms of scope, format, content, language, and the degree of the elaboration of the formulated rules. These five aspects may vary across the sets of rules, which is the result of work being produced by seven different teams. In order to ensure the coherence of all the current and future final drafts, the WG ‘Structure’ introduced a template for the harmonisation of the structure of the rules to all of the Working Groups. The template divides the draft into three parts: general part, special part and the cross-border issues. Following such a structure, the teams will be able to submit a version of the rules for further harmonisation by the overraching Group ‘Structure’. The very productive session on 6 April was followed by presentations made by the WGs of the second and third cycles of the Project, WGs ‘Parties’; ‘Obligations of parties, lawyers and judges’; and ‘Res judicata and lis pendens’.

On the second day of the Joint Meeting, the Members met to continue their discussion in view of the consolidation of drafts and examine how the work of the Project’s particular Groups could be interlinked to guarantee the consistency between the provisions related to the same issues of the procedure but covered under the work of different teams. For that, the Co-reporters of the third-cycle Working Groups, ‘Costs’, and ‘Judgments’, presented their progress reports and made several points to the audience – Members of the first groups, who have already finished or are concluding the work on their sets of rules. The remarks and questions posed by the Co-reporters triggered an intensive and fruitful discussion between all the present Members. It was decided that the Working Groups would remain in contact with the horizontal Group ‘Structure’ to ensure that the particular issues do not overlap in the drafts. The meeting on 7 April was concluded in the early afternoon. Both Diana Wallis and José Angelo Estrella Faria expressed their words of appreciation for the work advanced by the Members of the Project, and their confidence in the high relevance of the results of the Project.

A more detailed report will be published in the next ELI Newsletter issue (March-April 2017).