European e-Justice Portal
The European e-Justice Portal benefits citizens, businesses, lawyers and judges with cross-border legal questions and boosts mutual understanding of different legal systems by contributing to the creation of a single European area of justice.
An Italian travelling in Germany needs a lawyer. A French entrepreneur wants to search the Hungarian land register. An Estonian judge has a question about the Spanish court system. Answers to all these questions - in 23 official EU languages - can be found on the European e-Justice Portal.
With more than 12 000 pages of content, the portal provides a wealth of information and links on laws and practices in all EU countries. The resources range from information on legal aid, judicial training, European small claims and videoconferencing to links to legal databases, online insolvency and land registers. It also includes user-friendly forms for various judicial proceedings, such as the European order for payment.
The portal is implemented by the Commission in very close cooperation with EU countries.
Who benefits from the Portal?
Citizens can get answers on how the 28 EU countries' legal systems function. More than 10 million citizens face judicial procedures involving different EU countries every year. The Portal helps them find relevant information when dealing with events such as divorce, death, litigation or even moving house. They can find a legal practitioner in another country and learn how to avoid costly court cases through mediation, where to bring a lawsuit, which country's law applies to their case and whether they are eligible for legal aid.
Lawyers, notaries and judges can get access to legal databases, contact colleagues through judicial networks and find information on European judicial training. They can also find practical information on arranging multi-country videoconferences.
Businesses can search in interconnected insolvency registers, find links to land registers, find information on cross-border proceedings and the laws that apply.
What are the next steps?
The release of the Portal in 2010 was just the first step in developing a multilingual online access point that makes life easier for citizens, businesses and practitioners in Europe. New information, tools and functions will be added in the coming years:
- Work is well underway to finalise tools allowing citizens to narrow their searches for lawyers and notaries. For example, the Portal will allow a citizen to look for a German-speaking lawyer who specialises in family law in Hungary.
- Businesses will also benefit from lower costs thanks to streamlined online legal procedures once business registers and land registers are accessible via the Portal.
- In the longer term, courts will be able to deal with cross-border requests online and communicate with the claimants and defendants in a particular case as well as with courts in other EU countries.
- The Portal will incorporate the website of the European Judicial Network (EJN) in civil and commercial matters and the European Judicial Atlas in civil and commercial matters.
- The Portal will make existing EU justice tools more effective, allowing citizens to make cross-border small claims or payment orders online.