Litigating in Europe is complex. Each European country has its own national laws, court structures and unique legal history. Fundamental differences exist in the nature of the various national legal systems. Few countries follow a common law system. Most states have adopted a civil law jurisdiction based on codification, where statutes are the primary source of law and precedents are less important. Courts decide disputes based on a learned interpretation of relevant statutes. By contrast, common law jurisdictions use cases as a primary source of law and there is a strong adherence to the doctrine of precedent. (…)

Procedural law also differs drastically from common law jurisdictions. Most civil law jurisdictions do not use a (pre trial) discovery procedure. Some operate by an inquisitorial procedure (which means the judges actively inquire the facts they deem relevant for a fair court ruling), other jurisdictions use an adversarial procedure (meaning the parties must provide the court with the facts of the case).

On top of the 27 different national jurisdictions within the European Union, EU laws and EU courts add an additional layer of complexity. In certain areas of law national courts must refer legal issues to EU courts to be decided on aEuropean level, so an EU wide consistent interpretation is guaranteed.

To make life a little easier, a network of European trial lawyers has now created a website that can be used as a starting ground: is a gateway for English speaking clients that seek legal advice and qualified forensic services in Europe. It provides information on the legal systems of European Union member states as well as helpful links and specimens of legal documents (both in English language as well as in bilingual versions).

Lawyers sponsored on are experienced trial attorneys that are also fluent in English. In most cases they are not only admitted to their respective local bar but have an additional law degree from a University in an English speaking country (UK, USA, Australia). Thus, the lawyers in our network also understand the legal thinking of Anglo-American clients, in addition to being experts in their own national legal system.