European Civil Justice Systems

European Civil Justice Systems

Programme Synopsis

This programme encompasses a comparative examination of procedural, funding and other mechanisms within civil justice systems, including alternative dispute resolution systems. It aims to analyse the principles and procedures that should, or do apply, and to evaluate effectiveness and outcomes.

This research programme is headed by Professor Christopher Hodges and includes Dr Iris Benöhr, Dr Naomi Creutzfeldt- Banda and Dr Rebecca Money-Kyrle. Dr Michael Reynolds and Dr Sweta Chakraborty complete the team as Civil Justice Programme Associates.
The project is significant in the context of an increasing amount of change in European national civil justice systems, notably in relation to:
  • the reform of civil procedure rules;
  • the spread of collective, representative, class or group action mechanisms, whether for damages or injunctive relief, including the use of private law remedies as adjuncts to the enforcement of public law regulation;
  • developments in funding mechanisms for civil claims, such as legal aid, contingency fees, conditional fee agreements, third party funding, insurance support;
  • the spread of small claims and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
The programme also involves research into substantive EU liability law, notably consumer and product liability law, harmonization of laws in the European Union, and in particular the changes taking place in the new Member States of Central and Eastern Europe. 

Research Topics:

Class Actions/Collective Redress
The Global Class Actions research project is coordinated by Professor Deborah Hensler of Stanford Law School and by Dr Chris Hodges of CSLS, Oxford University. The project examines the mechanisms and practices in more than 30 jurisdictions around the world. 
Civil Justice Systems and Access to Justice
The research conducted in this area involves analysis of all the procedural, funding, and other mechanisms within civil justice systems, including alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems. 
Europeanisation of Civil Procedures
Dr Hodges convenes a Steering Committee of scholars of civil procedure that is working towards announcing a large pan-EU project on EU Civil Justice Systems in 2010. 
Substantive Law on Liability, Compensation, Consumer Protection, and Trading
This research topic analyses developments in substantive law, both in relation to their impact on civil justice systems and in their own right. Important aspects include EU Consumer Law, the Product Liability Directive, and compensation schemes (notably, the Nordic medical and drug injury schemes).