The EU has been trying for years to standardize the law within the European Union by issuing various regulations and directives that bring Member States’ laws closer together. The Regulation (EU) 2020/1784 has been issued on the basis of this principle and with the aim to standardize the service of documents in civil matters.
From 1 July 2022, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1784, concerning the new provisions on the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents between EU Member States, will come into force.
This regulation replaces the previous Regulation (EC) 1393/2007 and does not exclude the possibility of sending documents by direct service, by postal service or by a consular or diplomatic channel.
Aim of the Regulation (EU) 2020/1784 is to enhance and secure the development of an area of justice in civil matters in the European Union, by adopting a number of measures in the field of judicial cooperation in civil matters.
The Regulation lays down the rules on cross-border service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters, excluding tax, customs or administrative matters and excluding cases involving the liability of a Member State for acts or omissions in the exercise of State authority.
The efficiency and speed of judicial proceedings in civil matters requires that the transmission of documents is carried out rapidly between the organs designated by the States.
Therefore, Article 3 of the regulation identifies the organs that are required to deal with the service of documents, defining ‘transmitting agencies‘ as the public officials, authorities or other competent agents dealing with the transmission of documents.
According to Art. 5 of the Regulation, the transmission of documents takes place by means of a ‘decentralised IT system‘, which is defined in Art. 2 as a system that enables the secure and reliable cross-border exchange of information between national IT systems.
This IT system is based on an interoperable solution that is e-CODEX, i.e. a platform that enables interoperability between the IT systems used by judicial authorities to conduct cross-border proceedings.
In order to ensure uniformity and rapidity of the transmission, the document to be transmitted (i) must be accompanied by a request drawn up in accordance with a form annexed to this Regulation and completed in the official language of the receiving Member State (Art. 8 paras. 1 and 2) and (ii) are exempt from legalisation requirements.
However, the addressee of the service has the right to refuse the served documents – pursuant to Article 12 – if they are not in a language that the same addressee understands or in any of the Member State’s (where the addressee resides) official languages.
Upon receipt of the document, the receiving agency must serve the documents to the addressee as soon as possible and, in any event, within one month (Art. 11).