The Tools of the Digital Age in the Service of More Accessible Justice

The ELI started cooperating in the E-CODEX project (, which is aimed at improving the cross-border access of citizens and businesses to legal services and the interoperability between legal authorities within the EU. The ELI is an associate partner in the second phase of this project, the so called Me-Codex.

This project aims to address some of the main challenges that the use of technology brings to justice, which are of particular relevance to civil and commercial as well as criminal legal practice. Specific regard is given to questions such as the impact of IT processes on the law (are IT developments going to set the law?), how to create trust in digital solutions (after creating a digital platform, information must remain correct and data must be kept up-to-date), what could be done better at EU level and what should remain the responsibility of Member States and how can the use of clear and coherent legal terminology facilitate the building of digital tools for legal practice?

On 20 June 2016, a meeting took place between representatives of the E-Codex Group and of the ELI to discuss the project. The project has developed technical tools that would facilitate security in the exchange of legal information between EU countries as well as semantic interoperability within other aspects.

At the 2016 ELI Annual Conference, a panel dealt with the topic of digital access to justice and the legal services as such. The chair, Sjef van Erp (Professor of Civil Law and European Private Law at Maastricht University), and the participants of this panel, Natalie Nickel (project technical coordinator of the e-CODEX project at the Ministry of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia), Jaana Pohjanmäki (Principal Administrator in charge of e-Justice issues, Directorate General for Justice and Home Affairs of the Council of the EU), Carsten Schmidt (Deputy Head of information technology and e-Justice division at the Ministry of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia), Ernst Steigenga (Senior IT policy officer of the Dutch Ministry of Justice) and Jacques Vos (Registrar at the Netherland's Cadastre Land Registry and Mapping Agency) discussed the topic. Steigenga also updated ELI Annual Conference attendees at the 2018 union. The ELI has continued to engage in the project's development since then.