On July 1, 2022, the recast EU Regulation on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters No. 1783/2020 (“Taking of Evidence Regulation”) will enter into force. This regulation will replace Regulation EC No. 1206/2001.
The new rules will allow, inter alia, judges in cross-border civil and commercial proceedings to examine witnesses, parties and experts who are present in another Member State by videoconference or other means of distance communication.
We have briefly summarized the basic news of the revised Taking of Evidence Regulation:
- Introduction of a decentralized IT system (Art. 7)
The efficiency and speed of cross-border court proceedings should be improved by using digital technologies. The transmission of documents and requests between Member States will be mandatory via a decentralized IT system consisting of interconnected national IT systems.
- Direct taking of evidence - Tacit acceptance of the request (Art. 19)
If the requested authority does not decide on the authorization or the direct taking of evidence within the deadlines set by the Regulation, the request shall be considered accepted.
- Direct taking of evidence by videoconferencing or other distance communications technology (Art. 20)
The new Art. 20 introduced by the revised Regulation emphasizes the use of modern communication technology for the direct taking of evidence in the examination of people. However, it is still disputed in the literature whether an independently arranged and conducted video examination of foreign witnesses or parties is allowed for courts without an explicit request for legal assistance.
- Taking of evidence by diplomatic agents or consular officers (Art. 21)