From Transnational Principles to European Rules of Civil Procedure (with the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, UNIDROIT)

This Project is a cooperative venture of ELI and UNIDROIT. It builds upon an instrument produced jointly by the ALI (American Law Institute) and UNIDROIT, Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure, and aims at the regional development of those Principles.

For an overview of past and upcoming meetings of this project, please click here.

Quick Facts

Project Type: Instrument
Procedure: Regular
Adopted: CD 2014/5 (on Projects)
Project Period: February 2014
May 2019

Background

In 2004, the American Law Institute (ALI) and the International Institue for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) adopted and jointly published the Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure. The aim of the work was to reduce uncertainty for parties litigating in unfamiliar surroundings and promote fairness in judicial proceedings through the development of a model universal civil procedural code. The Principles, developed from a universal perspective, were accompanied by a set of Rules of Transnational Civil Procedure, which were not formally adopted by either UNIDROIT or the ALI, but constituted the Reporters’ model implementation of the Principles, providing greater detail and illustrating how they might be developed. The Rules were to be considered either for adoption or for further adaptation in various legal systems and along with the Principles can be considered as a ‘model for reform in domestic legislation’.

On 1819 October 2013, the ELI and UNIDROIT held the 1st exploratory workshop in Vienna (Austria), which aimed at an initial analysis of a series of different topics, ranging from service of process to enforcement, with a view to identifying the most promising issues and the most appropriate methodological approach for the project. It was attended by over 75 participants from different jurisdictions, representing various legal professions: lawyers; judges; and academics. For more information about the workshop, click here.

Following that, in February 2014, the ELI Council approved the project and the cooperation was formalised by a Memorandum of Understanding.

 

ELI-UNIDROIT Cooperation

ELI and UNIDROIT cooperation aims at adapting the ALI-UNIDROIT Principles from a European perspective in order to develop European Rules of Civil Procedure. This work takes as its starting point the 2004 Principles and aim to develop them in the light of: (a) the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; (b) the wider acquis of binding EU law; (c) the common traditions in the European countries; (d) the Storme Commission’s work; and (e) other pertinent European sources.

Out of the topics presented at the 1st exploratory workshop, three were selected as the initial focus of the project: Service and Due Notice of Proceedings; Provisional and Protective Measures; and Access to Information and Evidence. The members of the expert working groups, who examine these areas, were appointed in May–June 2014.

Two further working groups on Res Judicata and Lis Pendens, and Obligations of Parties, Lawyers and Judges, were established at the Steering Committee and Working Groups Joint Meeting in Rome in November 2014. At the November meeting one year later (2627 November 2015) in Trier, the Steering Committee announced a decision to establish three additional groups on the following topics: Costs, Judgments and an overarching group on Structure. The decision on the Working Group on Structure results from a need to draw together coherently the work of the existing working groups. Finally, at the last meeting in April 2016, an agreement was also achieved as to the establishment of an additional new group on Parties.

Each working group consists of up to eight members and is led by two co-reporters. The groups of the first and second cycles have already held numerous meetings, at which they discuss the rules of civil procedure of various European jurisdictions and at which the draft rules of European rules are being developed. Some of the members of the four working groups of the third cycle have already discussed the possible work plan and the topics of focus of their respective teams.

A number of Intergovernmental Organisations (Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH)), European Institutions (the European Commission, the European Parliament (JURI Committee), the Court of Justice of the European Union), Professional Associations (the Association for International Arbitration (AIA), the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), the Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE), the European Network of the Councils of the Judiciary (ENCJ), the International Bar Association (IBA), the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), the Union international des huissiers de justice (International Union of Judicial Officers) (UIHJ)) and the Research Institutions (the International Association of Procedural Law and the Max-Planck Institute of Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law) participate in the project in a role of Observers. The ELI-UNIDROIT joint venture has been also supported by the work of Advisers, renowned experts in the field of civil procedure.

 

ELI-UNIDROIT and EU Institutions

Since its start, the project has attracted the attention of numerous organisations, which joined the project in a role of Observers. It has however also attracted interest of EU institutions, such as the European Parliament and the European Commission. Some of the project-related events (see ELI Annual Conference 2015, Conference in Trier (November 2015), and the Joint Meeting in Vienna (November 2016)) were attended by the representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament.

In 2015, the project was referred to in a Working Document prepared by the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament, in the context of discussing the scope of the European Union's legislative competence in the field of civil procedural law.

In 2016, the ELI-UNIDROIT joint venture was mentioned in the in-depth analysis on 'Harmonized Rules and Minimum Standards in the European Law of Civil Procedure' published by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament.

In January 2017, the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee published an in-depth analysis titled 'The European Law Institute/UNIDROIT Civil Procedure Project as a Soft Law Tool to Resolve Conflicts of Law'.

In June 2017, the Project was referred to in the Report of the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs, which was submitted to the Commission on common minimum standards of civil procedure in the EU. In the motion for a European Parliament Resolution, the importance of the adoption of common minimum standards of civil procedure are emphasised.

All updates on the ongoing activities within this project as well as the reports on the meetings held are regularly published on the ELI website under the News&Events section as well as in the bimonthly issues of the ELI Newsletter.

Advisory Committee Members

  • Teresa Arruda Alvim Wambier
  • Alexander Arabadjiev
  • Stefania Bariatti
  • Núria Bouza Vidal
  • Loïc Cadiet
  • Michael Elmer
  • Anna Engelhard-Barfield
  • B Bahadır Erdem
  • Peter Gottwald
  • Christopher Hodges
  • Samuel Issacharoff
  • Ole Lando
  • Richard (Rick) Marcus
  • Paul Matthews
  • José Antonio Moreno Rodríguez
  • Andras Osztovits
  • Eduardo Oteiza
  • Monika Pauknerova
  • Thomas Pfeiffer
  • Judith Resnik
  • Marco Antonio Rodrigues
  • Raffaele Sabato
  • Jorge Sánchez Cordero Dávila
  • Elizabeth Stong
  • Marcel Storme (✝) 
  • Stacie Strong
  • Nicolò Trocker
  • Verica Trstenjak
  • Bob Wessels

Steering Committee

  • Remo Caponi
  • John Sorabji
  • Rolf Stürner
  • Anna Veneziano
  • Diana Wallis

Access to Information and Evidence Working Group

  • Neil Andrews (Reporter, member, from May 2014–August 2016)
  • Laura Ervo
  • Frédérique Ferrand
  • Viktória Harsági
  • Fernando Gascón Inchausti (Reporter) 
  • Michael Stürner 

Provisional and Protective Measures Working Group

  • Torbjörn Andersson
  • Neil Andrews (Reporter, member, from May 2014–August 2016)
  • Remo Caponi
  • Gilles Cuniberti (Reporter, member, from May 2014–August 2016)
  • Xandra Kramer (Reporter from August 2016)
  • Fernando de la Mata
  • John Sorabji
  • Alan Uzelac 

Service and Due Notice of Proceedings Working Group

  • Marco de Cristofaro
  • Emmanuel Jeuland
  • Wendy Kennett
  • Astrid Stadler (Reporter)
  • Eva Storskrubb (Reporter)
  • Dimitrios Tsikrikas 

Res Judicata and Lis Pendens Working Group

  • Alexander Arabadjiev
  • Marco De Cristofaro
  • Tanja Domej
  • Frédérique Ferrand (Reporter)
  • Burkhard Hess (Reporter)
  • Fernando Gascón Inchausti
  • Kalliopi Makridou 
  • Jarkko Männistö 
  • Karol Weitz 

Obligations of Parties, Lawyers and Judges Working Group

  • Emmanuel Jeuland
  • Bartosz Karolczyk
  • Walter Rechberger
  • Remco van Rhee (Reporter) 
  • Elisabetta Silvestri
  • John Sorabji
  • Magne Strandberg 
  • Alan Uzelac (Reporter) 

Judgments Working Group

  • Chiara Besso (Reporter)
  • Laura Ervo
  • Natalie Fricero
  • Andrew Higgins
  • Christoph Kern (Reporter)
  • Thomas Sutter-Somm 

Costs Working Group

  • Wendy Kennett
  • Paul Oberhammer (Reporter)
  • Eva Storskrubb (Reporter)

Parties Working Group

  • Emmanuel Jeuland (Reporter)
  • Vincent Smith
  • Astrid Stadler (Reporter)
  • Ianika Tzankova
  • István Varga
  • Stefaan Voet 

Appeals Working Group

  • Frédérique Ferrand (Reporter)
  • Fernando Gascón Inchausti
  • Christoph Kern (Reporter)
  • Magne Strandberg 

Structure Working Group

  • Loïc Cadiet (Reporter)
  • Xandra Kramer (Reporter)
  • John Sorabji
  • Rolf Stürner 

Members Consultative Committee

  • Katarina Andova
  • Mariangela Balestra
  • Silvana Dalla Bonta
  • Iryna Izarova
  • German Judges Association (represented by Christine Pichinot)
  • Evangelia Podimata
  • Hanna Schebesta
  • Matthias Storme (Chair)
  • Jacob van de Velden
  • Miguel Pestana de Vasconcelos

Observers

  • American Law Institute
  • Asociación Americana de Derecho Internacional Privado
  • Association for International Arbitration
  • Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe
  • Council of the Notariats of the European Union
  • Court of Justice of the European Union
  • European Commission
  • European Network of Councils for the Judiciary
  • European Parliament
  • Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • IBA Arbitration Committee
  • IBA Litigation Committee
  • International Association of Lawyers
  • International Association of Procedural Law
  • International Association of Young Lawyers
  • International Bar Association 
  • International Union of Judicial Officers 
  • Max Planck Institute Luxembourg