On 15 July and 5 August 2020, respectively, the ELI Council and the ELI Membership have approved the ELI-UNIDROIT Model European Rules of Civil Procedure. The ELI and UNIDROIT aimed at adapting the American Law Institute-UNIDROIT Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure, published in 2004, to a European perspective in order to develop Model European Rules of Civil Procedure. The goal of the work was to reduce uncertainty for parties litigating in unfamiliar surroundings and promote fairness in judicial proceedings. The project was adopted in February 2014 (Council Decision 2014/5) and a total of ten Working Groups, consisting of leading experts in civil procedure law (academics, judges and practitioners) from over 16 countries, were established.
The two organisations worked together in a bid to elaborate the Rules that could constitute a frame of reference for policy makers both at European and national levels. Most importantly, the Team succeeded in striking a balance between the generality and specificity of the Rules, ensuring that they are general enough to be acceptable for all Member States, but at the same time specific enough to promote common standards that allow for an increase of mutual trust.
The Rules have a potential to influence European civil procedure law and have long been eagerly awaited by key decision-making organisations, such as the European Parliament. With these Model Rules, the ELI and UNIDROIT present a model law ready to be further discussed at the EU level and adapted by national legislators, with a view to facilitating and enhancing the judicial cooperation and access to justice in Europe.