Judicial cooperation in civil matters means that clear rules exist on questions such as:
- which EU country has jurisdiction;
- which court is competent;
- which law is applicable;
- ensuring that judgments in one country are recognised and enforced in other countries without difficulties.
- alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, have also played a big part in easing cross-border conflicts.
The Brussels I Regulation facilitates the free movement of judgments across EU Member States and is extended to include Norway, Iceland and Switzerland (“the three EFTA states”) by the Lugano Convention. The Brussels I Regulation provides a broadly reliable, understandable and predictable set of rules for determining jurisdiction over certain disputes across Member States.
The Rome I Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 593/2008) is a regulation which governs the choice of law in the European Union. The Rome I Regulation can be distinguished from the Brussels Regime which determines which court can hear a given dispute, as opposed to which law it should apply.
The Rome II Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 is a regulation which governs the conflict of laws on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations. From 11 January 2009, the Rome II Regulation creates a harmonised set of rules within the European Union to govern choice of law in civil and commercial matters (subject to certain exclusions, like labour law) concerning non-contractual obligations.
Other useful tools for parties in cross-border disputes are the European Small Claim Procedure, the Service of Documents Regulation, the Directive on mediation in civil and commercial matters, the Regulation on cooperation in the taking of evidence in civil and commercial matters and the Regulation on the acceptance of public documents.