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Internal Market: Norway's rules on security for defendant's legal costs are discriminatory

13.7.2016

PR(16)33 

EN | NO  

Norway is in breach of the EEA Agreement by maintaining in force legal provisions which empower national courts to decide that persons who are not resident in Norway must provide security for costs at the request of the defendant. The provision is discriminatory and not in line with EEA law. This is the conclusion of a reasoned opinion delivered by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) today.

In line with established case law and similar prior infringement cases, ESA is of the opinion that the EEA Agreement does not allow for an obligation to provide security for costs, if Norwegian residents are not under the same obligation. Such a rule entails indirect discrimination, as it makes it more difficult for plaintiffs resident in other EEA States to bring a civil action before the domestic courts than for plaintiffs resident in Norway.

ESA recalls that the encouragement of cross-border activity is a fundamental objective of the EEA Agreement. When such an activity gives rise to civil litigation, the enforcement of judgments must often be sought within the jurisdiction of another EEA State. In such circumstances, the rights for which the EEA Agreement provides may only be compromised for reasons that are justifiable and not excessive in its discriminatory effects. ESA takes the view that the requirement at issue cannot be objectively justified as regards non-resident EEA nationals.

A reasoned opinion is the second stage in infringement proceedings. ESA may bring the matter before the EFTA Court if Norway fails to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion within two months.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Ásdís Ólafsdóttir
Communication Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 97
mob. (+32)(0)490 57 63 49




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