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Approach and methodology

Definition of court staff

Since the definition of court staff varies from one country to another, the following functional definition will apply to the project: “personnel of a court – regardless of their formal title or education – who have certain judicial or procedural functions and need to apply EU law procedures to fulfil those functions”. Relevant judicial or procedural functions include inter alia: enforcement of court decisions, assistance to judges, service of judicial and extra-judicial documents, cross-border cooperation in civil matters (for e.g. completing requests to courts in other countries).

Structure and activities

Development of training materials

The training materials will cover the following EU instruments:

  • Brussels I Regulation (recast) (Regulation [EU] No 1215/2012)
  • European Enforcement Order (Regulation [EC] No 805/2004)
  • European Payment Order (Regulation [EC] No 1896/2006 and Regulation [EU] No 2015/2421)
  • European Small Claims Procedure (Regulation [EC] No 861/2007 and Regulation [EU] No 2015/2421)
  • Service of documents (Regulation [EC] No 1393/2007)
  • Taking of evidence (Regulation [EC] No 1206/2001)

The training materials for the provision of legal training will mainly consist of case studies covering the abovementioned EU instruments. The materials will focus on tasks relevant to the work of court staff and be as basic and practical as possible. The case studies will be drafted in English and translated into French and German right upon their finalisation.

For the provision of language training a manual on legal terminology in English including language exercises will be developed. The exercises will focus on developing four skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The manual will be drafted in English.

Coordinating meeting

Once developed, the training materials will be presented and discussed with 17 national experts – appointed by the supporting organisations in light of their expertise in the EU civil justice instruments and/or experience in training court staff – in the framework of a 2-day coordinating meeting in Trier.

The objectives of the coordinating meeting are to:

  • familiarise the national experts with the content of the materials;
  • conduct a first evaluation of the developed materials;
  • reconfirm the target group’s training needs;
  • exchange information on national court staff training systems, good/bad practices, etc.
  • equip the national experts with a framework for the organisation of future national training on the topics covered by the project.
Organisation of training activities

Only after this first evaluation and up-dating of the materials will ERA, EJTN and the supporting organisations proceed with the organisation and implementation of the seminar series. The series will consist of two different types of training:

Legal seminars on specific aspects of cross-border civil litigation

The legal seminars will have a duration of 1.5 days and will be addressed to max. 30 participants each. The training will be based on introductory face-to-face presentations and the solving of the developed case studies. While working on the case studies, the participants will be divided in even smaller working groups (up to eight participants), thus ensuring the active participation of all attendees. The different groups will organise themselves, develop a working method, report and compare their conclusions with those of the others in plenary. Each case study should be coordinated by one of the trainers, who will deal with questions or possible problems, steer discussions and provide some solution or conclusion of the study.

In order to offer in-depth training on the applicability of the European cross-border legislative instruments, ERA will prepare two standard seminar programmes. The topics chosen will cover the following areas:

  1. Cross-border civil litigation: facilitating the handling of cross-border cases
    • Brussels I Regulation (recast)
    • Service of documents
    • Taking of evidence
  2. Cross-border enforcement of civil law claims: simplified European procedures
    • Brussels I Regulation (recast), European Enforcement Order
    • European Payment Order
    • European Small Claims Procedure

19 national legal seminars will be organised by the supporting organisations with the support of ERA and EJTN. National trainers will run each seminar, the seminar leader being the national expert who participated in the coordinating meeting of the project. Each seminar will be held in the respective national language. The respective supporting organisations will provide the translation of the necessary case studies for the implementation of their national seminar.
One pan-European legal seminar will be organised by ERA and EJTN in Brussels and will be open to court staff coming from all EU Member States.

Legal English training events on European cross-border procedures

In parallel to the organisation of the purely legal seminars, a series of 13 language English training events will be implemented by ERA with the support of EJTN and the supporting organisations. Each event will have a duration of three days in total (two full days and two half days) and will be addressed to maximum 26 court staff from various EU Member States. As the proposed events comprise English language training on the one hand, and training on the EU civil cross-border procedures on the other, participants will be divided into two groups upon assessment of their linguistic strengths and weaknesses. This will guarantee a workable number for in-depth language training and will not influence the transnational character of the event, as participants will originate from at least seven EU Member States. This approach will also allow parallel sessions during which one group will receive legal and the other one language training, thus ensuring that all essential aspects can be covered during three days. This does not exclude the implementation of joint sessions where deemed appropriate. The legal training will be conducted by three legal experts and the linguistic training by two professional linguists; all experts will have at their disposal the training materials (case studies & linguistic manual) specially developed for the implementation of these training events.