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EU judges and courts requiring assistance with cases that involve more than one EU member state will be able to summon help from special international contact points from the New Year, when the details of the new European Judicial Network are posted on the internet.
These contact points are in place in every EU country and are charged with providing judges with information on foreign legislation or rulings, which may apply to civil and commercial cases. In certain cases, the network will boost cooperation, such as forwarding case documents.
EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Antonio Vitorino said: "There's now a special framework to help the judicial and administrative authorities dealing with cooperation in civil and commercial matters to exchange information and experience across borders.
"This framework will facilitate the effective application of the texts establishing the European area of justice in civil and commercial matters."
The network was approved last May and its members met last week for the first time in Brussels, the home of its secretariat, which is being run by the European Commission. Meetings of this kind will be held once a year to exchange information and experience.
The network is one of the first institutions designed to give life to the EU's goal of creating a so-called European judicial area. Regarding the public internet site, Vitorino said it would also give an overview of the EU's various legal systems in civil and commercial matters.