Recent years have seen the emergence of a growing body of rules at European level in the field of procedural law, in the wake of the enlargement of the EU competences towards judicial co-operation. The joint ELI / UNIDROIT project could serve as a useful tool to avoid a fragmentary and haphazard growth of European civil procedural law, while at the same time supporting the promotion of the ALI / UNIDROIT Principles. From the point of view of UNIDROIT  it may further represent a first attempt towards the development of other regional projects adapting the ALI / UNIDROIT Principles to the specificities of regional legal cultures, leading the way to the drafting of other regional rules.

The ALI / UNIDROIT Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure, prepared by a joint American Law Institute / UNIDROIT Study Group and adopted in 2004 by the Governing Council of UNIDROIT, aim at reconciling the differences among various national rules of civil procedure, taking into account the peculiarities of transnational disputes as compared to purely domestic ones. They are accompanied by a set of “Rules of Transnational Civil Procedure”, which were not formally adopted by either UNIDROIT or ALI, but constitute “the Reporters’ model implementation of the Principles, providing greater detail and illustrating concrete fulfilment of the Principles”. The Rules may be considered either for adoption “or for further adaptation in various legal systems,” and along with the Principles can be considered as “a model for reform in domestic legislation”.

With the aim of resuming work on the development of the “Rules”, UNIDROIT decided to focus on regional implementation and on adapting the Principles to the peculiarities of specific legal systems. In this respect, a joint project on the development of European rules of civil procedure was started within the framework of the institutional co-operation with the newly founded European Law Institute (ELI) the main task of which is to initiate, conduct and facilitate research, make recommendations and provide practical guidance in the field of European legal development.

The Rules, accompanied by Comments, and available both in English and in French, were approved by the ELI Council and Membership in summer 2020, as well by the UNIDROIT Governing Council at the second meeting of its 99th session on 23-25 September 2020.