International Judicial Assistance

The increasing internationalization of economic activity and therefore of our society is causing a widespread outbreak of international issues in daily life and therefore also in the life of the local court proceedings. It is nowadays very common that in a judicial procedure one or both parties are domiciled abroad, or that it is necessary to obtain judicial evidence beyond our borders along the process.

When the lawyer has to formalise a power of attorney or an affidavit to certificate the validity of foreign law, or when a judicial warrant is necessary for a notification to the parties abroad or for evidentiary purposes in another country, all stages of judicial proceedings may have an international element that complicates the whole procedure or, in extreme situations, makes it virtually impossible to implement.

In Europe, cooperation between member states on justice and internal security is one of the three pillars of the European Union, along with the economic community and the common foreign and security policy. Moreover, since the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty, the Community provisions can be applied to each of the areas concerning police and judicial cooperation as contained in Title VI of the European Union Treaty, although this “communitarisation” of the rules for police and judicial cooperation has to be agreed unanimously by the Council and ratified by all Member States.

Although common European justice has never come to be developed as much as the economic and monetary union or inter-governmental coordination on foreign policy and security policy, in recent years developments in this area have become more popular and it is no longer so strange that the courts use these resources to carry out their daily activities. However, we find many difficulties to achieve that court officials use the European way of judicial cooperation effectively. The principle underlying the European regulations of these matters of judicial cooperation is to enable judicial officers of the member states to cooperate with each other using simple pre-established protocols, provided that, ex officio or at request, that international action is considered necessary by the judge. However, without proper coordination between lawyers experienced in international litigation and the attorneys and the court officials involved, today the international judicial cooperation would be very inefficient, because the existing protocols are not always known or respected by the court officials, what provokes an avoidable waste of time and resources during the process.

If we find such a lot of inefficiencies in the framework of the European Union, what could be said about the problems caused by international judicial assistance outside the scope of European cooperation? Therefore, the procedural experience of international law firms with European or global orientation, such as the ones joining the network EUROJURIS INTERNATIONAL can be of great help when planning international processes, not just for the parties involved, who can enjoy a much more efficient service of representation in court, but also for other lawyers, who are eventually in these situations and can count on their support and specialist external advice to avoid being caught in unexpected procedural problems when entering the complex field of judicial processes initiated in their own country, but that require the processing of incidents abroad.

Carlos Prieto Cid, Lawyer

Read this article in German