Head of County court in Velika Gorica. Graduated at Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. He is judge in civil law and active as mediator and trainer for mediators. Teaching civil law and civil procedure law at Faculty of Law in University of Zagreb.
Presenting the evidence in civil proceedings via video-conference
COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1206/2001 of May 28th 2001 on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters (“Taking of evidence’’), opens the possibility and the requirement to use videoconference links with the goal of taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters. Modern technology should be in the service of achieving the principles of efficiency and speed in proceeding, however, that goal can be solely achieved in case the technology adapts to judicial proceedings, which in turn have to adapt to modern technologies. Due to the above mentioned it is important to understand both technological properties for the possibility of audio recording and the requirements arising in a formal procedure.
Providing evidence in a civil procedure includes all facts which are important respectively relevant for decision-making, however, which facts are considered as important depends on the applicable substantive law as well.
A legally binding instrument on the area of taking of evidence still doesn’t exist between all Member States and the Hague Convention of March 18th 1970 on the taking of evidence abroad in civil or commercial matters was valid solely in some of the Member States. Judicial decision-making in civil or commercial matters is often also connected with the requirement of taking of evidence in another Member State, therefore the activity of the Community cannot be limited solely to submitting judicial and extrajudicial documents but it is also necessary to improve the cooperation between the courts of Member States in the area of taking of evidence.
In order to secure speed and efficiency, it is necessary to secure that sending and executing requests between courts of Member States is performed directly and as fast as possible. In order to secure the highest possible clarity and legal certainty, the request for taking of evidence must be submitted on a form filled out in the language of the Member State of the assisting court or in another language accepted by that state, and the possibility of refusal to execute the letter rogatory should be strictly limited to exceptional cases.
The assisting court must, as soon as possible, and no later than within 90 days as of receiving the letter rogatory, act in accordance with the same. The assisting court executes the letter rogatory in accordance with its law. The court which submitted the letter rogatory can request from the assisting court the use of communication technology during taking of evidence, especially videoconference and phone conference links. The assisting court will comply with that request, except in case that would be incompatible with the law of that Member State or in case it is not possible due to significant practical difficulties. Videoconferences make it possible for the parties and their attorneys not to be physically present in the courtroom, which results in speeding up as well as in price reduction of the procedure.