Today my right hon. and noble Friend the Attorney-General is publishing a consultation paper on new rules to clarify citizens' rights when faced with judgments reached in another EU member state in their absence.
The UK is sponsoring this initiative of the Slovenian presidency because we believe reform is needed to improve the delivery of justice in these cross-border cases.
The purpose of the proposal is to tighten up the regime applicable in cases of trials in absence in the main EU mutual recognition instruments, enhancing the procedural rights of defendants. Trials in absence will not increase as a result of the proposal.
The Slovenian presidency hopes to reach agreement on the proposal very quickly. We are therefore asking for responses to our consultation within six weeks.
Copies of the consultation paper will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and are also available on the internet at: http://www.cjsonline.gov.uk/downloads/application/pdf/2008-02-28_TIA_consultation_paper.pdfseen at 10:57, 1 March in Written Ministerial Statements.
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