(recast) entered into force on the 01st July 2022, across all EU Members States, with the exception of Denmark. This Regulation was adopted with the aim of improving the efficiency and expediting the transmission and service of judicial and extrajudicial documents, whilst safeguarding the privacy and personal data of the addressees.
The Regulation does not apply to revenue customs or administrative matters or to the liability of a Member State for actions or omissions in the exercise of state authority (acta iure imperii).
In virtue of Articles 3 and 4, the Regulation obliges each Member State to designate a central body and other organs such as public officers, authorities or other persons competent for the transmission and receipt of judicial or extrajudicial documents to be served in another Member State. Locally, the Maltese designated central body and transmitting and receiving agency is the Office of the State Advocate.
The Regulation stipulates that the document forwarded for transmission should be translated into the official language of the Member State receiving it. If the document is transmitted without the necessary translation, then the addressee will have the right to refuse such document. Furthermore, upon receipt, the receiving agency should without delay effect the service of the document within one month. The regulation does not exclude the possibility of sending documents by direct service, by postal service or by a consular or diplomatic channel.
Some notable changes brought forward by the new regulation is the mandatory recourse between the agencies and bodies designated by the Member States, for the transmission of judicial and extra judicial documents, of a secure and reliable decentralized IT system comprising national IT systems that are interconnected and technically interoperable. This decentralized system shall be based on the e-Codex (reference must be made to Regulation EU 2022/850 of 30 May 2022).
Furthermore, in virtue of Article 7, the Regulation provides for assistance in address enquiries. When the address of the person to be served with the judicial or extrajudicial document in another Member State is not known, that Member State shall provide assistance in determining the address in, at least, one of the following ways:
- Providing for designated authorities to which transmitting agencies may address requests on the determination of the address of the person to be served;
- Allowing persons from other Member States to submit requests, including electronically, for information about addresses of persons to be served directly to domicile registries or other publicly accessible databases by means of a standard form available on the European e-Justice Portal; or
- Providing detailed information, through the European e-Justice Portal, on how to find the addresses of persons to be served.
This is a major improvement as the Regulation provides for access on information of the recipient. With the previous regulation there was no clear possibility to carry out such searches in the particular Member State. However, in virtue of Article 7, the Regulation now provides a remedy to ascertain the “official” domicile of the addressee of the document.
For more information you can contact one of our Team Members at Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates.