New rules for easier cross-border legal cases in the European Union


Ecommerce Europe welcomes the introduction by the European institutions of new rules for cross-border judgments. A survey conducted in 2010 that found that almost 40% of companies would be more inclined to trade outside their home market if the procedures for settling court disputes abroad were simplified. The reform, having been introduced in the wake of this survey, allows businesses, such as web shops, and consumers to resolve legal disputes more easily, abolishing the previously costly and lengthy procedure.

More cross-border opportunities for e-retailers
Under the new rules (applicable from 10 January 2015), an enforceable judgment in civil and commercial matters in one Member State of the European Union (EU) will be automatically enforceable anywhere in the EU. The reform is expected to bring savings of between 2,000 and 12,000€ per individual case. This would make a significant difference especially for smaller and medium sized web shops, as they will open up many more opportunities of selling goods and/or services cross-border. A judgment made in one Member State can be enforced by the creditor anywhere in the EU. This enables businesses and consumers to be refunded more quickly, easily and cost-free. The new legislation abolishes a burdensome intermediate procedure that could cost almost 13,000€ of legal fees for lawyers, translations and court expenses. Now,

More legal certainty for businesses
The reform increases also the legal certainty for choice of courts agreements between businesses when selling cross-border in the EU. In the past, choice of court agreements could be circumvented by bringing the dispute in the court of another Member State (and not in the chosen court) to delay the settlement of the dispute. The new legislation puts an end to such abusive tactics by ensuring that the chosen court receives priority in case of parallel legal proceedings.

Ecommerce Europe’s position
Ecommerce Europe supports the efforts of the European legislators to remove bureaucratic barriers that impose extra costs and legal uncertainty on businesses. Ecommerce Europe has been advocating since a long time for the removal of obstacles to retailers selling their goods and/or services online so as to foster the development of a seamless cross-border landscape in Europe. For a better overview of Ecommerce Europe’s recommendations, please click here to download the Priority Paper (2014).