Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Monday, 19 November 2012

Civil judicial co-operation laws

MEPs have been told that new proposals on reforming the laws on judicial co-operation in civil laws will help boost the single market.

On 19 November 2012, the Parliament debated revisions to the so-called "Brussels 1" regulation, which sets out how EU member states can co-operate with each other in civil and commercial matters, and which country's court is competent in any cross-border dispute.

Under the reform proposals, the legal principle of "exequatur" will be removed.

The exequatur system means that a judgment given in one member state does not automatically take effect in another.

The Commission hopes that by removing this legal obstacle, cross-border disputes will be solved more quickly and become less costly.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said it would enable the EU to "build bridges" between the different judicial systems in member states.

"It will be of real benefit to consumers and businesses," she added.

However Slovak eurosceptic MEP Jaroslav Paska warned that it was a "step in the wrong direction".

He pointed out that legal systems in each EU country had developed "over hundreds of years, adapting to the history and culture of each country".

He concluded that a legal decision taken in one country may be "entirely inappropriate" if applied in another country.

The proposals were approved by 567 votes to 28 during the daily voting session on 20 November 2012.

Due to technical reasons beyond our control we are unable to provide the video of this debate.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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