Greater efficiency in civil dispute resolution is very much dependent on organized but fair fact-finding. Under European law, however, no clear-cut categorisation of means of evidence exists as yet, and significantly diverging interpretations persist of what is considered 'evidence' in the sense of the foundational Council Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001 (EER). The EER tells to provide comprehensive rules for many other aspects of evidence taking, pointing instead to national legislation for solutions. As long as evidentiary rules remain different from country to country, there is an inherent risk of conflict of laws between different systems in the course of cooperation between courts in cross-border matters, leading to mistrust amongst judiciary and other participants in the proceedings.
Focusing on national rules, and using a comparative method which takes into consideration legal experiences from all legal circles in the EU, this book explains and analyses how the law of evidence works in Europe today. The authors draw on the vast base of relevant information collected in twenty-seven Member States by national reporters. Following the classical enumeration of types of evidence - production of documents, examination of witnesses, expert evidence, inspection by the judge, and examination of the parties - chapters encompass such issues and topics as the following.
- judicial cooperation in cross-border cases;
- general principles in evidence taking (the right to be heard, oral vs. written form, directness of evidence, burden of proof);
- judges' case management powers regarding evidence, means of evidence;
- extent of influence of traditional principles and evidentiary rules on electronic evidence;
- application of communication technology in cross proceedings;
- legal costs;
- inadmissible evidence; and
- instances in which a court can refuse a request for evidence.
The authors offer well-grounded recommendations on requested judge's entitlements, direct and convenient communication, cost issues, revised provisions concerning language obstacles, unification of presumptions, and much more.
Armed with the wide-ranging knowledge presented here, practitioners handling civil cases anywhere in Europe will derive great practical benefit from this book. As a masterful synthesis of how evidence is used in national courts in EU Member States, and of how that use is changing, the book will be greatly valued as a unique resource by legal scholars and academcs. With featured recommandations it can contribute to the development of mutuel trust among the national courts Inside the EU as well as trust among policymakers and national courts.