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Electronic Data Exchange within European Justice: A Good Opportunity?


Nadia Carboni ,

Marco Velicogna


This paper analyses one of the most debated and controversial issues regarding the changes which are taking place in the Justice domain: the complexity of developing and implementing ITC systems that ‘actually work’, and doing so with a reasonable budget and in a reasonable time. While the number of studies on National experiences is slowly growing (see for example Fabri & Contini 2001, Fabri 2007, Contini & Lanzara 2009, Reiling 2012), filling an often-mentioned gap in justice sector literature, building on the European project e-CODEX case study, the authors point the attention to a somewhat new and unexplored phenomenon, the concrete attempt to build cross-border electronic data exchange within the European justice field. e-CODEX (e-Justice Communication via Online Data Exchange) is the first European Large Scale Pilot in the domain of e-Justice. The project is carried out by 19 partners either being or representing their national ministries of justice of 15 European countries, plus the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), the Conseil des Notariats de l'Union Européenne (CNUE) and the National Research Council of Italy (through two of its institutes - IRSIG-CNR and ITTIG-CNR). To provide a better grasp of the project scale, its overall budget is over 14 M euro and about 14 hundred person-months are committed to it. The project aims at improving cross-border access of citizens and businesses to legal means in Europe, as well as to improve the interoperability between legal authorities of different Member States. With a case based approach, e-CODEX is developing and will be soon implementing an interoperability layer to connect existing National Systems in order to provide cross border e-justice services. The project commitment includes running a live pilot in a ‘production environment’ for a duration of twelve months. The electronic services that have been so far selected are: European Payment Order (EPO), European Small Claim procedure, European Arrest Warrant (EAW), and the Secure cross-border exchange of sensitive data. The paper provides a description of the on-going project, showing the additional layers of complexity which affect the design and innovation of ICT when the scope of the system being created crosses not only organizational and institutional boundaries, but also national borders. When implementing their National Systems, many European countries have experienced difficulties ranging from delays to never ending design or piloting stages to more or less openly declared failures. According to the authors’ main hypothesis, and in line with a growing number of empirical studies, this complexity is caused by several factors such as technological, organisational, normative, and their intertwining. Furthermore, it provides the opportunity to begin investigating the changes deriving from such a project in terms of governance and public value of the services delivered.
How to Cite: Carboni, N. and Velicogna, M., 2012. Electronic Data Exchange within European Justice: A Good Opportunity?. International Journal for Court Administration, 4(3), pp.104–120. DOI:
Published on 15 Dec 2012.
Peer Reviewed


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