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Action grants to support national or transnational e-Justice projects - JUST-JACC-EJU-AG-2018
Deadline: 16 Oct 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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 Justice
 IT
 IT Applications
 Justice Programme
 Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme
 Transnational cooperation
 European Union
 Project Management
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Scope:

1.1. Priorities

The objective is to contribute to achieving the objectives of the European e-Justice Strategy 2014-2018. It will support the implementation of e-Justice projects within the European e-Justice Portal and at national level, in as far as they have a European dimension.

The priority is to support the implementation of a platform for Mutual Legal Assistance requests regarding e-evidence, in line with the Conclusions of the Council of the European Union on improving criminal justice in cyberspace, adopted on 9 June 2016 and the maintenance and evolution of the system for online exchange between judicial authorities – e-CODEX.

Moreover, priority will be given to projects aiming at joining or enhancing existing or on-going e-Justice portal projects, in particular:

  • Interconnection of National Insolvency Registers (IRI) further to Regulation (EU) 848/2015;

  • Find a Lawyer (FAL);

  • Find a Notary (FAN);

  • Find a Bailiff (FAB);

  • Implementation of the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) in case law repositories and interconnection with the e-Justice Portal;

  • Land Registers Interconnection (LRI);

  • European Court Database;

  • Other e-Justice portal projects related to development of the relevant EU policies, such as victims' rights, rights of suspects and accused in criminal proceedings, and projects which are in advanced stage of development or already live on the Portal at the moment when the call is published.

Transnational projects will receive a higher priority than national ones. Other projects which support the implementation of the e-Justice Strategy 2014-2018[1] and its Action Plan will not be excluded. Applications related to projects having an A-priority under the Council e-Justice Action Plan[1] will be given priority over those having a B-priority.

1.2. Description of the activities

Project activities under this call would in principle include analytical, conceptual, design and elaboration work, IT software development, quality assurance and related auxiliary measures necessary for the establishment of new IT systems, as well as the expansion and adaptation of existing national and transnational solutions towards addressing the objectives of the call. The requirements of the eIDAS Regulation[1] and the use of CEF Digital Building Blocks should be taken into account.

Activities relating to project management, content preparation, editorial work, communication, promotion and dissemination are also eligible for funding.

Projects which are funded, either fully or partially, in the context of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) e-Justice DSI calls or other EU funding mechanisms will not be eligible for funding.

Activities must take place in countries participating to the JUSTICE Programme to be eligible for funding (See eligibility criteria and Annex on Financial Provisions).

1.3. Expected results

  • Implementation of a platform for Mutual Legal Assistance requests regarding e-evidence

  • Improved participation with the aim of achieving full EU coverage concerning all voluntary e-Justice interconnection projects – Find a lawyer, Find a notary, ECLI, LRI, etc.;

  • Reduced risks and possibility to allow Member States to achieve early compliance with the requirements of Regulation (EU) 2015/848 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on insolvency proceedings;

  • Possibility to launch potentially innovative projects and best practices concerning access to and the administration of justice at a national and in a cross-border context;

  • Improved awareness of on-going and future e-Justice activities.

 

1. Admissibility requirements


(a)  Applications must be submitted no later than the deadline for submission as indicated on the Participant Portal

(b)  Applications must be submitted in writing using the Electronic Submission System of the Participant Portal

(c)  Applications must be submitted using the standard Submission Form Part A and Part B. They must include all the mandatory information and be accompanied by all the compulsory Annexes

(d) Applications must be drafted in one of the EU official languages (Note: for reasons of efficiency, the Commission advises Applicants to use English)

 

2. Eligibility criteria

2.1 List of eligible countries:

- the Member States of the European Union (including their overseas departments), except for Denmark and the United Kingdom;

- Albania.

Proposals from applicants in candidate or associated countries may be selected provided that, on the date of award, agreements have entered into force setting out the arrangements for the participation of those countries in the programme.

Should a candidate or associated country join the programme during the call process, a notification will be posted on the Participant Portal

2.2        Eligibility of the applicant and partners (lead applicant and co-applicant(s))

The applicant and partners must be public entities or private organisations, duly established in one of the countries participating in the programme, or international organisations. Organisations which are profit-oriented must submit applications in partnership with public entities or private non-profit organisations.

Note: Under the REC and Justice programmes, entities affiliated to a beneficiary are not considered as project participants. Their costs are not eligible.

2.3        Eligibility of the application

(a) The project can be either national or transnational;
(b) The EU grant requested cannot be lower than EUR 75 000.

3.         Exclusion criteria

3.1        Exclusion

Organisations (i.e. applicant and partners) will be excluded from participating in this call for proposals if they are in any of the following situations: 

(a) the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, where its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an arrangement with creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations;

(b) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the authorising officer is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract;

(c) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:
(i) fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;
(ii) entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;
(iii) violating intellectual property rights;
(iv) attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission during the award procedure;
(v) attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;

(d) it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:
(i) fraud, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;
(ii) corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the applicant is established or the country of the performance of the contract;
(iii) participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;
(iv) money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council;
(v) terrorist-related offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;
(vi) child labour or other forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

(e) the applicant has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union's budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;

(f) it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95.

(g) for the situations of grave professional misconduct, fraud, corruption, other criminal offences, significant deficiencies in the performance of the contract or irregularity, the applicant is subject to: 
(i) facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by the Court of Auditors, OLAF or internal audit, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body; 
(ii) non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics; 
(iii) decisions of the ECB, the EIB, the European Investment Fund or international organisations; 
(iv) decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of the Union's competition rules or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law.
(v) decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.

3.2       Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 3.1), it should indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) of section 3.1.

3.3       Rejection from the call for proposals

A grant shall not be awarded to an applicant who:

(a) is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 3.1 ;

(b) has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information;

(c) was previously involved in the preparation of calls for proposal documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise.

Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants who are guilty of misrepresentation

 

4.         Selection criteria

4.1       Financial capacity

Applicants and partners must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the duration of the grant and to participate in its funding. Organisations participating in several projects shall have sufficient financial capacity to implement multiple projects.

The financial capacity shall consist of a financial viability check performed by the Research Executive Agency (REA) and completed by the Commission.

For the purpose of demonstrating its financial capacity, and if the total amount of the grant requested exceeds EUR 60.000, the applicant must provide the most recent closed and signed financial statements of its organisation containing the balance sheet and profit & loss accounts, for the last two closed financial years (a single financial document containing comparative data of the annual accounts of the two years under assessment is acceptable. The same applies to the statutory audit report which may cover the two financial years). In case of an application submitted on behalf of a consortium, the Commission reserves the right to verify every member of the consortium to submit this information, with the exception of public bodies, higher or secondary education establishments and international organisations. If the share of a grant requested by an organisation (applicant or partner) exceeds EUR 750.000, this organisation must also provide an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying its accounts for the last closed financial year. Both financial statements and the audit report must be uploaded in the Beneficiary Register when uploading the application package.

Start-up entities which do not have closed accounts at the date of request for financial assessment are requested to submit prospective financial data for one year only

Recently created entities which have closed annual accounts for one year only will be assessed based on the documents for the sole closed financial year

The REA will assess the organisation’s financial viability by checking that it:

•           Has sufficient liquidity - is able to cover its short-term commitments;

•           Is financially autonomous;

•           Is solvent - capable of covering its medium and long term commitments;

•           Is profitable – generating profits, or at least with self-financing capacity 

The REA will then propose to the Commission a ranking of each organisation’s financial viability based on a qualification: insufficient, weak, acceptable or good.

The methodology used by the REA to assess the financial viability may be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/docs/h2020-funding-guide/grants/applying-for-funding/register-an-organisation/financial-capacity-check_en.htm

The Commission will assess further elements if they are available/relevant such as:

•           Auditor’s findings on previous projects,  

•           Weak financial viability results from other projects or sources

•           Involvement in case of serious administrative errors or fraud

•           Pending legal procedures or judicial proceedings for serious administrative errors or fraud

•           Due recovery orders

In view of the above, if the Commission considers that the financial capacity is weak, it may request further guarantees or impose risk mitigation measures (e.g. reduced or no pre-financing, bank guarantee covering the amount of pre-financing payment; replacement of the weak organisation), or reject the application in case the Commission considers the financial capacity as insufficient.

4.2       Operational capacity

The applicant and the partners must have sufficient operational and professional capacities to implement the activities for which co-funding is requested. Organisations participating in several projects shall have sufficient operational capacity to implement multiple projects.

For the purpose of demonstrating its operational capacity, the applicant must upload:

- CVs of key staff involved in the project (employed by the applicant and the partners), who must have the necessary education, skills, experience and capacity to carry out the tasks that are assigned to them during the project

- its annual activity report for the last available year. The requirement to provide such a report does not apply to public bodies (i.e. a body governed by public law, e.g. public authorities at local, regional or national level) and universities

Applicants may not be awarded a grant if they fail to demonstrate that they have the capacity, the experience and the expertise necessary for the successful implementation of the proposed activities.

 

5. Declarations on honour referring to points 2, 3 and 4

The applicant must provide the following declarations on honour by ticking appropriate boxes in Part A of the submission system, some of them on behalf of the partner(s). The applicant has to check with all the partners before clicking those boxes.

1) The coordinator declares to have the explicit consent of all partners on their participation and on the content of this proposal. Or the single applicant confirms the content of this proposal.

2) The information contained in this proposal is correct and complete. None of the actions foreseen in the proposal have started prior to the date of submission of the current application.

3) The coordinator hereby declares that

•           he is fully compliant with the exclusion and eligibility criteria set out in the call for proposals/topic, and has the financial and operational capacity to carry out the proposed actions.

•           each partner has confirmed that they are fully compliant with the exclusion and eligibility criteria set out in the call for proposal/topic, and they have the financial and operational capacity to carry out the proposed action.

Or the single applicant declares that

•           he is fully compliant with the exclusion and eligibility criteria set out in the call for proposal/topic, and has the financial and operational capacity to carry out the proposed actions.

 

6.  Award criteria

The award criteria are set in order to evaluate the quality of proposals. On the basis of these criteria, grants will be awarded to applications that best address the objectives and priorities of the present call for proposals in a cost-effective manner. Synergies and complementarities with other Union instruments and programmes shall be sought and overlaps and duplications with existing activities avoided.

(a) Relevance to the priorities of the call (25 points):

Relevance of the action and its objectives to the priorities of the call for proposals, as described under each topic notice on the Participant Portal, relevance of the issues addressed by the project, contribution of the proposal to the priorities, and complementarity with other Union activities, avoiding duplication with projects funded by other Union programmes. Every proposed action has to be based on a reliable needs assessment.

(b) Quality of the proposed action (30 points):

Quality shall be assessed in terms of the proposed methodology for implementing the activities; the organisation of work, the allocation of resources and the time schedule; the appropriateness of the envisaged activities. 
The evaluation of the project's quality will also asses the strategy for monitoring the project implementation and the identification of risks and the measures to mitigate them; the proposed evaluation, including measures to assess the success of the activities and the indicators to be used; the identification of ethical issues and the proposed action to address them.

(c) European added value of the project (15 points):

The European added value of the project shall be assessed in the light of criteria such as its contribution to the consistent and coherent implementation of Union law and policies and to wide public awareness about the rights deriving from it, its potential to develop mutual trust among Member States and to improve cross-border cooperation, its transnational impact, its contribution to the elaboration and dissemination of best practices or its potential to create practical tools and solutions that address cross-border or Union-wide challenges.

(d) Expected results, dissemination, sustainability and long-term impact (20 points):

How appropriate are the expected results to achieve the objectives of the action? Is there a long-term impact of these results on the target groups and/or the general public? A clear, targeted and appropriate dissemination strategy, which will ensure that the results and/or lessons learnt will reach the target groups and/or the general public? Is sustainability of the activities after the EU funding ensured?

(e) Cost-effectiveness (10 points):

Financial feasibility of the proposed activities by means of a realistic and reasonable budget. Appropriateness of the amount requested in relation to the scale and type of the activities, to the expected results and to the size of the partnership. 
As a result of the evaluation carried out against the above award criteria the proposals will be ranked according to the points attained. The list of awarded projects will be established based on the amount of budget available. 
Proposals not attaining a score of 18 points for the relevance criterion will not be considered for the award of a grant. Proposals not attaining an overall score of 70 points will not be considered for the award of a grant even in case the available budget is not consumed fully. 

7. Timetable

The maximum time for the European Commission to inform all applicants is six months from the final date for the submission of complete proposals as specified in the call. The maximum time to sign grant agreements is within three months from the date of information of the successful applicants.
Those time limits may be exceeded in exceptional cases, in particular for complex actions, if there is a large number of proposals or due to delays attributable to the applicants.

8. Budget available

The indicative maximum amount earmarked for this call is EUR 2 200 000. The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the available funds.

9. Duration of the projects

The initial duration of the projects should not exceed 24 months. No grant may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed. A grant may be awarded for an action which has already begun only where the applicant can demonstrate the need to start the action before the grant agreement is signed. In such cases, costs eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application.


10. Other practical information

10.1 Co-financing rate

The grant will be defined by applying a maximum co-financing rate of 80% to the eligible costs actually incurred and declared by the beneficiary (ies). The beneficiaries should ensure that the outstanding balance is covered from sources other than the EU budget such as:
- the beneficiary's own resources, 
- income generated by the action, 
- financial contributions from third parties.

10.2 Flat rate for indirect costs

The flat rate for indirect costs is set at 7%. However, indirect costs may not be claimed at the final payment stage, by beneficiaries/co-beneficiaries receiving operating grants from the EU budget.

10.3 Financial support to third parties

Projects through which the beneficiaries use the budget of the project to award grants to other organisations under their own procedures and authority (financial support to third parties) are not allowed.

11. Financial provisions

Information related to the financial provisions in relation to this topic is available in the Annex on financial provisions (which forms an integral part of the topic conditions) under the below point.

 



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