New technologies challenge traditional ways of conducting court proceedings. New technologies also provide tools to improve efficiency, flexibility and convenience for everyone involved - the courts, the parties to proceedings and also witnesses.
Videoconferencing is a tool that has great potential in the context of the EU and its 28 Member States.
Many Member States have practical experience in organising videoconferences between authorities in different regions of the same country or with other countries.
In the framework of European e-Justice, the Member States of the EU have agreed to work together to promote the use of videoconferencing and to exchange experience and best practices. Such work takes place in the existing legal framework and respects the procedural safeguards in place at Member State and EU level.
In cross-border cases communication between judicial authorities of different Member States is crucial. Videoconferencing is one possible way of simplifying and encouraging such communication.
The use of videoconferencing equipment provides courts with greater flexibility for when and how witnesses or experts from other Member States are required to give evidence.
There are numerous possibilities for organising crossborder videoconferences under existing European Union legislation, in particular for conducting witness, expert or victim hearings via videoconferencing, in accordance with legal instruments such as:
A short overview of the legal framework is provided in the attached booklet - more detailed information is contained in the manual.
The Member States have agreed that work on facilitating videoconferencing should continue. In the future, where appropriate, other tools should be placed in the European e-Justice Portal for that purpose. In particular, future plans could include:
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