Definition of the problem

At present, there are too many costs and extremely long trial times to a proper functioning of cross-border and national civil proceedings in the Member States.

Regarding the cross-border proceedings, these proceedings take an inordinate amount of time, both to set up and for a decision to be rendered. Specific problems include finding a judge with the requisite competence and translating the summons and other relevant material into a language intelligible to the addressee. Moreover, cross-border civil proceedings are far too expensive for most citizens, due to the high costs of document translation and finding and consulting qualified legal experts.

Another obstacle that citizens face in cross-border disputes is the divergent interpretations of different national courts, even when EU rules apply.

The length of national proceedings is also a common problem for the majority of the member states.

One for all, in Italy, following the comments of Jean-Paul Jean (Cepej report’s curator), there is a persistent structural problem. See more at:

The analyses of the level for the indicator of the clearance rate (total non-criminal cases) in first and second instances reveal the capacity of the system to deal with incoming cases while decreasing backlogs. By contrast, in last instance, the system is generating backlogs (the level for the indicator of the clearance rate is of 86%). According to the level for the indicator of the disposition time, the average length of proceedings with regard to these cases is considerable (more than two years in each instance), especially with regards to the second and third instances.

The current legal systems do not adequately value the possibility of reaching an agreement of the parties instead they always try to find the solution in legal rules often divergent compared to the wishes of the parties and in a long and debilitating conflict of comparison process.

As described by the Report adopted by the CEPEJ at its 8th plenary meeting (Strasbourg, 6 – 8 December 2006), the causes of delay are sorted into those common to all types of proceedings:

Before proceedings start the origins of delays are due to: “Territorial distribution of court jurisdiction; transfer of judges; insufficient number of judges; systematic use of multi-member tribunals (benches); backlog of cases; complete inactivity by judicial authorities; systematic shortcomings in procedural rules”.