The Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached on 30 June 2020 a provisional agreement on the modernisation of Regulation 1206/2001 on the taking of evidence abroad, and Regulation 1393/2007 on the service of judicial and extra-judicial documents (see here and here for contributions appeared on this blog regarding the reform).
The provisional agreement now needs to be submitted for endorsement by Member States’ representatives.
The purpose of the amendments under discussion is, generally, to improve the efficiency and speed of cross-border judicial proceedings by taking advantage of digitalisation and the use of modern technology, and by these means advance access to justice and fair trial for the parties.
Changes include the mandatory use of an electronic decentralised IT system, composed of interconnected national IT systems, for the transmission of documents and requests between Member States. The new regulations will also task the Commission with the creation, maintenance and future development of a reference software which Member States can choose to apply as their back end system, instead of a nationally-developed IT system.
As to the service of documents, the envisaged new rules provide that documents can be served electronically and directly on an addressee with a known address in another Member State, when his or her express consent is given in advance. The service can be performed through qualified electronic registered delivery services or, under additional conditions, by e-mail.
The new rules also aim to promote the use of videoconferencing or other distance communication technology in the taking of evidence.