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National justice systems

At EU level, the effectiveness of national justice systems is addressed through a number of processes.

European Semester

The on-going economic and financial crisis in the EU has been a catalyst for profound changes. Its impact can be seen in the restructuring of national economies to prepare the ground for growth and competitiveness.

In this reform process, the national justice systems play a key role in restoring confidence and the return to growth. An efficient and independent justice system contributes to trust and stability. Predictable, timely and enforceable justice decisions are important components of an attractive business environment. They maintain the confidence for starting a business, enforcing a contract, settling private debt or protecting property and other rights.

The improvement of the quality, independence and efficiency of judicial systems is a priority in the European Semester, the EU annual cycle of economic policy coordination.  In 2012, six Member States were identified as having challenges, particularly with regard to the length of judicial proceedings and the organisation of the judiciary.

Annual Growth Survey

The Annual Growth Survey 2013 highlights the importance of improving the quality, independence and efficiency of national judicial systems.

Economic Adjustment Programmes

Experience in Member States subject to the Economic Adjustment Programmes shows that poorly-functioning justice systems slow economic growth and undermine confidence in the institutions of justice. For this reason, national judicial reform has been integrated into the goals of the Adjustment Programmes from 2011. 

Cooperation and Verification Mechanism

Progress in the field of judicial reform is among the benchmarks included in the cooperation and verification mechanism, established to help Bulgaria and Romania address outstanding shortcomings. Since 2007, the European Commission has been assessing progress made on this and other selected fields.

European e-Justice Portal

Since 2010, the European e-Justice 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.

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