Access to Justice and Technology: Transforming the Face of Cross-Border Civil Litigation and Adjudication in the EU
in: Karim Benyekhlef, Jane Bailey, Jacquelyn Burkell and Fabien Gelinas (Ed), eAccess to Justice (University of Ottawa Press 2016), p. 351-375.
17 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2015 Last revised: 11 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 1, 2016
Digitalization has great potential to improve access to justice while it also poses challenges. This paper discusses developments in e-justice in the EU, focusing on its implementation in cross-border civil litigation and adjudication. It assesses the impact of e-justice on access to justice − as guaranteed by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and by Article 47 of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights − its legal and practical limitations, and procedural challenges. Section 2 discusses the EU policy and legislative framework of e-justice, while Section 3 focuses on the implementation of ICT in the European debt collection procedures and the new ODR platform. In Section 4, the impact on access to justice as well as the limits and challenges of e-justice in the EU context is assessed. Section 5 concludes that the new European legal framework and the technological advancements support access to justice and may trigger procedural innovation, though this often depends upon the voluntary compliance of the Member States and the technical means available in them. Challenges for ejustice in the EU include the reality of having to deal with 24 official languages, access to accurate information, and the user-friendliness of the systems. It is submitted that, in general, efforts to advance European electronic procedures and ODR are a valuable contribution to access to justice. However, great care should be taken to prevent the legal and factual complexity and individual procedural justice from becoming lost in translation for the sole purpose of efficiency.
Keywords: e-justice, online litigation, access to justice, debt collection procedures, ODR
JEL Classification: K33, K41, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation