On Tuesday 8 June, parliament gave Themis a facelift, as requested by the government in its coalition agreement. Bill 7307 was voted unanimously, and most of its provisions will come into force on 16 September. This will be welcomed by the public, as the bill aims to help ensure that court decisions in civil and commercial matters are made within a reasonable time.
The justice minister (Déi Gréng) even considers that "the fact of simplifying procedures and thus reducing delays goes hand in hand with an increase in the efficiency of the functioning of the courts in civil and commercial matters. I am firmly convinced that the measures provided for in this law will be beneficial to all those involved.
Optimising existing procedures, creating new ones
To make tax and commercial justice more efficient and faster, the law will optimise existing procedures and create new ones. Among the changes:
- The jurisdiction of the courts of the peace will be increased from €10,000 to €15,000. Thus, civil and commercial cases in which the value of the dispute amounts to up to €15,000 can be dealt with by the justice of the peace in an oral procedure in which the parties are not obliged to be represented by a lawyer. The advantage of this procedure is that it allows the judge to guide the parties in their pleadings so that the debates can be concentrated on the points that are essential for the judgment.
- In the written procedure, it is now compulsory for each lawyer to draw up summary submissions before the end of the investigation. These summary submissions must contain all the arguments and claims contained in the submissions he or she has previously submitted. In this way, the judges will save time in reaching a decision, as they will no longer have to read each of the pleadings filed during the proceedings.
- A simplified pre-trial procedure for less complex cases involving a maximum of two parties and where the value of the dispute does not exceed the threshold of €100,000 will be introduced. This procedure provides for time limits within which lawyers must file their pleadings and documents, and is based on the procedural provisions applicable before the administrative courts.
- Another procedure will allow for the rectification of a material error or the interpretation of a judicial decision.
- The judge's powers will be strengthened, particularly in the context of the pre-trial procedure.
- It will also be possible to know in advance whether an interim judgment can be appealed or not.