Brussels News October 2011

European Contract Law
The Commission is expected to adopt a landmark legislative proposal on or around 18 October. A flavour of what to expect can be gleaned from Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding's call to arms on the subject, viewable at: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/11/539&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

The Academy of European Law in Trier is holding an event on consumer law just beforehand, at which it will be discussed. A member of the Bar will be speaking. See http://preview.tinyurl.com/4xl4qo4

Consumer Rights Directive
By the time of reading, the Consumer Rights Directive should have been formally adopted by the EU legislator. It is due to be published in the Official Journal of the EU during October, from which date Member States will have two years to implement the measures. See: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/11/st11/st11984.en11.pdf

Brussels I regulation review
The EU institutions are negotiating the review of regulation 44/2001 on recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters  (Procedure reference COD(2010)0383). The Legal Affairs Committee of the EP (JURI)'s first draft report on the file, calling for significant amendments to the proposal, is an interesting read:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/juri/pr/869/869709/869709en.pdf

EU developments on Collective redress
The Commission will soon issue a Communication setting out the results of its recent consultation,  and considering next steps. The consultation and responses are at:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/dgs_consultations/ca/collective_redress_consultation_en.htm

The papers from the recent hearing on collective redress hosted by the EP's Legal Affairs Committee of the EP can be viewed at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/eventsCom.do?language=EN&body=JURI.

I also commend the draft Committee report on the topic: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-467.330+01+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN 

Freezing of assets
The Commission has adopted a proposal for a regulation creating a European Account Preservation Order (EAPO) to facilitate crossborder debt recovery in civil and commercial matters. The Bar is, in principle, supportive of the proposal, but is pointing out areas of sensitivity to both HMG and to the EU legislator. See: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/consultations/eu-cross-border-debt-recoveryconsultation.pdf

The impact and implementation of the 2008 Mediation directive
The EP's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) has recently adopted a report (2011/2026(INI) looking at the implementation and impact of the mediation directive (2008/52EC) to date and promoting and encouraging greater use of this form of ADR.

EU action on Victims' Rights
The UK has opted into the Commission's recently proposed package of measures to ensure a minimum level of rights, support and protection for victims across the EU. See:
http://ec.europa.eu/justice/criminal/victimsindex_en.htm

Detention in criminal matters  - Commission consultation
A reminder of the Commission consultation on all aspects of detention in criminal matters, deadline for responses 30 November 2011. The Bar will respond. See: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/news/intro/news_intro_en.htm

Sexual abuse and exploitation of children
By the time of reading, both the EP and the Council should have formally adopted this important directive on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.  See: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/libe/dv/angelillicompren/angelillicompren.pdf

Revamp of Data protection policy
In late 2010 the Commission issued a communication concerning its planned overhaul of the existing EU data protection rules. The EP has recently added itself to the list of bodies endorsing the Commission's plans. See its resolution at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/fi e.jsp?id=5894592

The Commission is due to publish a comprehensive legal framework in the field in November.

Commission draft guidance on quantification of antitrust damages
As part of its ongoing examination of the complexities of actions for damages in EU antitrust cases, the Commission has recently published a Draft Guidance Paper on all aspects of quantification of damages. It consulted stakeholders on the draft. See:
http://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2011_actions_damages/draft_guidance_paper_en.pdf 

Modernisation of EU Public procurement policy
By the time of reading, the EP may have adopted its own initiative report responding to the Commission's Green Paper on the modernisation of EU public procurement policy and calling for better access to public contracts with the lowest transaction costs and the reduction of red tape for businesses. See a draft at:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201107/20110712ATT23896/2011012ATT23896EN.pdf 

A report of the Commission's recent conference on the subject can be viewed at:
http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/publicprocurement/docs/modernising_rules/conference062011/summary_en.pdf  

A new strategy for consumer protection
The EP's Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee (IMCO) is working on a report providing guidelines for the forthcoming Agenda on Consumer Protection expected next year. Issues include e-commerce, online dispute resolution and proper enforcement based on a solid legal basis.  For the draft report, go to:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/draftReportsCom.do?language=EN&body=IMCO 

Credit agreements relating to residential property
Several EP Committees are examining the proposal for a directive aimed at creating a competitive pan-European market in residential mortgages. The European Central Bank's opinion thereon can be found in the Offi cial Journal, C 240 of 18 August
2011.

Modernization of the Professional Qualifications Directive
By way of follow up to its recently closed consultation on the subject, on 7 November, the Commission will host a conference on the evaluation of the Professional Qualifications Directive. We may see a revision of the Directive in 2012.
http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/consultations/2011/professional_qualifications_directive_en.htm

The EP's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) draft report on the subject can be seen at:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/workingDocsCom/comparlDossier.do?dossier=IMCO%2f7%2f05174&body=IMCO&language=EN