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The new version of the Portal is being regularly updated and improved. For the time being, both the current and the new versions of the Portal will run in parallel until the migration process is completed.
The term 'case law' refers to rules and principles developed in judgments and judicial opinions from courts of law. When deciding a case, the courts make interpretations of the law, which contribute to case law. Case law is published in various ways (law reports and journals, court websites, legal databases).
Law is a system of rules created and enforced by public institutions. Law is a major determining factor of society that shapes the political, economic and social environment and essentially contributes to social peace. Therefore, it is crucial for every citizen to be informed about the applicable law.
The judicial system, or judiciary, is the entirety of courts and judicial authorities in a state or in another sovereign organisation such as the European Union (EU). The main task of the courts is to resolve legal disputes and to ensure that the law is applied correctly and coherently.
Not surprisingly, going to court may give rise to many questions. This section aims to fill the information gap which might be experienced when confronted with judicial proceedings.
The right to legal aid allows those who do not have sufficient financial resources to meet the costs of a court case or legal representation. Legal aid systems exist in all Member States of the European Union (EU) in both civil and criminal proceedings.
Disputes can be solved without going to court. If you are in dispute with a firm, a tradesperson, your employer, even a member of your family, in your own country or abroad and are unable to settle the dispute by yourself, you can go to court, of course, but you can also consider alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) techniques such as mediation.
If you have fallen victim to a crime, you have a number of rights. This can be within the proceedings against the offender (criminal proceedings) or with regard to compensation, protection and assistance. These rights differ among the different Member States of the European Union (EU).
If you are suspected or accused of a criminal offence, these factsheets take you through the criminal process and the various steps involved. They explain your rights and obligations at each stage, from the time of pre-trial investigations, right through to after the trial. The factsheets also provide information on how minor offences, such as road traffic offences, are dealt with.
The European Union (EU) is acting to facilitate cross-border cooperation between courts and among legal practitioners. Legislative instruments have been introduced to help speed up cross-border proceedings, to take account of other Member States' criminal judgments and to use information technology to make the legal systems of the Member States more accessible to the general public and to legal practitioners.
People move and businesses expand increasingly beyond national borders using the opportunities offered by open borders and the Single European Market. Under such circumstances, facilitating access to official and trusted documents and information to vendors, creditors, business partners and consumers is necessary to enhance transparency and legal certainty throughout the EU.
This section provides a brief overview of existing glossaries and multilingual "thesaurus" at European level.
Cross-border cooperation (on both civil and criminal cases) has shown that European legal acts and mechanisms could be more effectively implemented for the benefit of citizens and businesses if there was more: understanding and mutual trust between legal practitioners in different EU countries; knowledge of EU legislation and cooperation instruments; and consistent understanding of EU law (to ensure correct application in national cases). European judicial training involves training of legal practitioners in substantive and procedural EU legislation and improving their knowledge and awareness of national judicial systems in other Member States. Priority is given to the judges and prosecutors responsible for enforcing European Union law, but European judicial training is also essential for other legal practitioners, such as court staff, lawyers, solicitors, bailiffs, notaries and mediators. All legal practitioners must become competent in their role in the implementation of the European legislative framework. Mutual trust and understanding are also essential for ensuring a secure legal environment which upholds individuals' and companies' rights in a clear and consistent manner.
If you are the victim of an environmentally damaging activity or if you are just a vigilant citizen who wants to protect the environment, it is useful to know your rights in either addressing a court of law or introducing a complaint to one of the competent national bodies, particularly if you are abroad. In practising these rights you can also ask for help with practical information from national authorities and organisations. In some cases it may be difficult to know what to do and whom to turn to. These fact sheets will provide you with a range of information on what you can expect in every country in the European Union.
This section of the European e-Justice Portal is conceived to be a future one-stop-shop in the area of practical information concerning judicial cooperation in civil matters.