Civil justice - glossary RSS
Alternative Dispute Resolution: extra-judicial procedures used for resolving civil or commercial disputes.
Access to justice
One of three priorities set out by the EU to enable individuals and companies to exercise their rights in an EU country other than their own. Other priorities are mutual recognition of judicial decisions and increased convergence in procedural law.
Negotiations between the EU and countries preparing to join the EU, in which justice forms a key part.
Agreements between the EU and each country applying to join the EU, which set a framework for the countries to adopt or move closer to EU policies and work alongside the EU to achieve this objective.
Negotiations between the EU and countries applying to join the EU, and the convergence of applicants' laws with EU law.
Concerted measures between two or more countries to achieve a certain set of previously accepted objectives.
Applicable law is a specific concept of private international law and refers to the national law that governs a given question of law in an international context. A court hearing an action does not necessarily apply its national law to settle the dispute. The law that is actually applicable is determined by the rules of conflict of laws.
An authentic instrument is a document recording a legal act or fact whose authenticity is certified by a public authority. Certain authentic instruments are enforceable .
The expression Brussels I is often used to refer to Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.
The expression Brussels IIa is often used to refer to Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and in matters of parental responsibility. The Regulation lays down rules governing international jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in cases concerning divorce, separation and annulment of marriage and judgments concerning parental responsibility.
Case-law is used internationally to refer to rules of law flowing from a set of convergent decisions of the courts. The case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union is particularly rich in decisions on the interpretation of the Union treaties, directives and regulations. It is a source of Union law.
A Communication is a policy document with no mandatory authority. The Commission takes the initiative of publishing a Communication when it wishes to set out its own thinking on a topical issue. A Communication has no legal effect.
In EU law , a Recommendation is a legal instrument that encourages those to whom it is addressed to act in a particular way without being binding on them. A recommendation enables the Commission (or the Council) to establish non-binding rules for the EU countries or, in certain cases, Union citizens.
Conflict of jurisdiction
See "international jurisdiction ".
Conflict of laws
See "applicable law ".
Where two people conclude a contract, they generally enter into a two-way obligation - one undertakes to provide the other with goods or a service and the other undertakes to pay the price. Each of the parties to the contract is also bound by an obligation towards the other to compensate him if the contract is not performed properly or not performed at all.
Conventions can also be known as treaties or agreements and are the most widely-used instruments of public international law . A convention is an agreement between several States and/or international organisations laying down the law in relations between them and between their respective nationals.
The party owing a debt to another party. EU measures relating to insolvency proceedings having cross-border effects make it more difficult for a debtor to escape obligations.
In EU law , a decision is a legislative instrument that is binding in its entirety on all those to whom it is addressed.
In EU law a directive is a legislative instrument that is binding on the EU countries to whom it is addressed as regards the result to be attained but leaves them free to determine the form and methods.
Also known as "acquis communautaire". The entire body of legislation of the EU, of which a significant body relates to justice. Applicant countries must accept the acquis before they can join the EU.
EU law means the set of rules adopted by the European Union. EU law consists mainly of the Treaties, the instruments adopted by the institutions under the Treaties, such as Regulations and Directives . The case-law of the Court of Justice is also one of the sources of EU law. EU law is distinguished from public international law in a number of respects.
Enforceability is a concept of civil procedure. Judgments are enforceable in that they can be enforced with the aid, if necessary, of the forces of law and order. Judgments and authentic instruments , that are certified enforceable, are the main documents that are enforceable. Enforceability is confined to the State of the court which gave the judgment. To be enforceable abroad, the judgment must be declared enforceable (by what is known in some countries as the exequatur procedure) or in the UK and in Ireland be registered.
The enforcement of a judgment consists of securing compliance with it, if necessary by means of coercion as allowed by the law, including the intervention of the forces of law and order. If you win your case in the courts but the other side does not spontaneously comply with the court's order, you can go to the police or a bailiff, depending on the situation, to have the judgment carried out.
Exequatur, is a concept specific to the private international law and refers to the decision by a court authorising the enforcement in that country of a judgment, arbitral award, authentic instruments or court settlement given abroad.
The forum is a specific concept of private international law. It means the courts of a given country in which an action is brought. The concept of forum underlies the concepts of lex fori and forum-shopping .
Forum-shopping is a specific concept of private international law . A person who takes the initiative of bringing a court action may be tempted to choose his court on the basis of the law applied there. A person starting an action might be tempted to choose a forum not because it is the most appropriate forum but because the conflict of laws rules that it applies will prompt the application of the law that he or she prefers.
Green Paper (European Commission)
A Green Paper is a consultation document published by the Commission on a specific topic to prompt reactions from interested circles on a variety of questions. The Commission's aim in publishing a Green Paper is to better determine the future orientations of its policy on the question.
International jurisdiction refers to the fact that the courts of a given country will be the most appropriate to hear and determine a case that has an international dimension. A dispute has an international dimension where, for example, the parties have different nationalities or are not resident in the same country. In such a situation the courts of several countries might have jurisdiction in the case, and we have what is known as a conflict of jurisdiction. The rules of international jurisdiction lay down criteria for determining the country whose courts will have jurisdiction in the case.
The lex fori is a specific concept of private international law and refers to the law of the court in which the action is brought. Where an action is brought in a court and has an international dimension, the court must consider the law applicable to the case. In certain circumstances, the lex fori will apply. Traditionally the lex fori governs questions of procedure, regardless of the lex causae.
Lex loci delicti
The lex loci delicti is a specific concept of private international law and refers to the law of the country where, in terms of non-contractual obligations, the harmful event occurred.
The law requires members of the same family to provide mutual assistance on the basis of family solidarity: parents must feed, educate and maintain their children. In some EU countries children must assist their parents in case of need. A divorced spouse is obliged to pay maintenance to a former spouse who has custody of their children. This obligation is generally discharged by a monthly payment known as maintenance.
There is a non-contractual obligation where a person who is responsible for loss sustained by another person is required to compensate the victim, in cases not linked to the performance of a contract, such as traffic accidents, environmental damage or defamation.
Private international law
Private international law, as used in its broad sense, means the set of legal rules governing international relations between private individuals.
Public international law
Public international law means the set of legal rules governing international relations between public bodies such as States and international organisations. Conventions and uniform laws are common instruments of public international law.
Recognising a judgment given in one EU country in another means agreeing that it may have effect there. Judgments basically have effect only in the State where they are given. Recognition in another State is possible only if the law of the other State so allows or if an international convention or an EU instrument provides for it.
In EU law, a Regulation is an instrument of general scope that is binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all EU countries. They are directly applicable, so they require no transposal into the EU countries' domestic law and directly confer rights or impose obligations.
Tortious or delictual obligations
Uniform laws are instruments prepared jointly by several States and/or international organisations to help States wishing to reform and modernise their legislation. International organisations such as UNCITRAL and UNIDROIT draft uniform laws.