Find an Expert: first milestone reached – the questionnaire has been launched!

by Christiane Lenz
Member of the Steering Committee and the Scientific Committee of the project Find an Expert,
lawyer at the bar of Köln

Co-financed by the Directorate General for Justice and Consumers of the European Commission, the EEEI’s most recent transnational project “Find an Expert” started with the first plenary meeting in September of last year.

Since then, more than 24 lawyers, experts, judges and academics from over ten EU Member States have been working on reaching one of the project’s most important milestones: the dissemination of a questionnaire that will serve as a basis for achieving the main objectives of the project: providing EU judges, lawyers, experts and citizens with information about judicial expertise in every EU Member State as well as with a link to experts’ lists or searching tools, if available.

In doing so, the project aims at contributing to the enhancement of mutual trust in justice between judges, lawyers, experts and citizens of the European Union. It will also help to improve the efficiency of cross-border litigation. The links to different searching tools for identifying qualified experts can also help to find an adequate expert in arbitration proceedings as well as in out-of-court settlement attempts. Until today, it is rather difficult to find a well- qualified expert with sufficient language skills and knowledge about the different European procedural rules who is not conflicted. This problem can only be solved by sourcing experts from a wider – European – pool.

As a first step of “Find an Expert”, the questionnaire was prepared by the Scientific Committee of the project composed of Professor Gilles Cuniberti and Christiane Lenz. The questionnaire consists of 72 multiple choice and open questions concerning the appointment of experts, lists of registered experts, qualifications required to become an expert, legal obligations experts have to respect during court proceedings, the remuneration experts receive, experts’ liability, the use of experts’ opinions in trial as well as statistics and the designation of experts in the different EU Member States. The questionnaire is joined to this article..

While the questionnaire was prepared, those entities to be asked to answer the questionnaire were identified and contacted in advance. The questionnaire was than converted into an online version.

On 29 March of this year the questionnaire was finally sent out to 462 contacts. Judges, ministries, lawyers as well as representatives of experts’ and lawyers’ associations, academic institutions and chambers of commerce in every EU Member State were asked to fill in the questionnaire.

Until 17 April, 34 of those contacts have answered every question and 33 started to participate in the survey. The others still have the possibility of answering the questionnaire until 18 May.

Further to that date preparations for reaching the project’s next milestone will be made:  the information received will be evaluated in order to be reflected on the e-justice-website later. The information presented on the e-justice-website will enable judges, lawyers, experts and EU citizens to learn about the nature and functioning of judicial expertise in different EU Member States. The information presented on the e-justice-website will be updated on a regular basis.

The participants in the project will have the opportunity for a personal exchange during the next plenary meeting that will take place in Barcelona the day before the General ordinary assembly of the EEEI.

The Steering Committee of the project is happy to be able to announce that every time limit set by the European Commission has been kept so far.

FAE