The new EU Regulation No. 2020/1783 of 25.11.2020 on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters now opens up the possibility for the requesting court to either a) have the requested court conduct the taking of evidence or b) conduct the taking of evidence itself.
Aware of the need to adapt the former Regulation to the urgent requirements of simplification, speed, clarity and certainty, the recitals of the new Regulation refer to the need to adapt the former regime. The EU is thus responding to the need to ensure effective access to justice by integrating new technologies into the process at different levels and promoting effective cooperation in one of the most sensitive parts of the process, the taking of oral evidence.
Simplification and speed should consequently be ensured primarily by means of standardised forms and the exchange of documents between the authorities involved through the use of secure and reliable decentralised IT systems, including interconnected and technically interoperable national IT systems. Clarity and security should be created by each Member State establishing a central body responsible for processing the application.
The Annex to the Regulation contains the various standardised forms. This means that the court seised can now decide to hear witnesses, parties or experts who are in another Member State directly by videoconference or other means of distance communication.
The regulation will enter into force on 1 July 2022. Will the EU and the individual MS be technically and culturally able to adopt the new regulation efficiently? To be continued...