A roundtable discussion with the institutions and organizations in attendance was organized on the presentation of the work on the Global Code of Enforcement. Participants in this roundtable included Timothy Lemay (Uncitral), Giuliana Dunham Irving (the World Bank), Christophe Bernasconi (The Hague Conference on Private International Law), Alexis Ndzuenkeu (Ohada) and Alain Ghozi (Association Henri Capitant). The work was presented by Natalie Fricero, professor at the University of Nice (France), member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ.
Ms Fricero recalled that, under the impulse of judicial officers and the UIHJ the right to enforcement had become a human right, a fundamental right recognized in all countries of the world. Globally shared rules concerning enforcement remain to be set. These rules have been at the centre of the reflections of the UIHJ. A number of these principles were presented at the Cape Town international congress of judicial officers in 2012. The financial, economic and social crisis makes this reflection even more acute, even more necessary. The right to an effective enforcement of contracts and writs of execution is an element of social peace, legal security and economic development.
"In the same way that judicial officers had dreamed twenty years of a right to enforcement, they now dream of a globally shared enforcement law and they are right to do so because this right is becoming reality", said Professor Fricero. All international organizations are concerned about the effectiveness of enforcement. She quoted Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, who said on 27 March 2013, during her presentation of the Justice Scoreboard of the European Union: "That is why predictable, timely and enforceable legal decisions are important and why national judicial reforms became an important structural component of the EU's economic strategy".
At the Council of Europe member States have positive obligations. They should establish enforcement agents and protect them, empower them so they can carry out their mission. Natalie Fricero then referred to the 10th Doing Business Report of the World Bank. A paragraph indicates that Croatia has established a private judicial officers' justice system to make enforcement procedures more effective. "The presence of judicial officers and effective enforcement became the World Bank criterion of economic development of a State" she remarked.
On the strategy of the Global Code, she mentioned three levels. The first level is to consider the possibility of establishing a partnership between the UIHJ and international organizations generating international instruments. But law of enforcement is subject to the principle of territoriality, of sovereignty. However, in international instruments, universal principles can be integrated without violating the sovereignty of states, by setting principles. The second level of strategy is to integrate forums in which international organizations such as the World Bank, encourage States in their national legislation to implement universally shared standards because they are factors of development and international economic secure exchanges. The third level of participation concerns in each State. Each judicial officer should be a relay to these essential principles.
Regarding methodology, continents are represented within the Scientific Council of the UIHJ which worked on the Global Code of Enforcement. A number of principles have been developed. The articles that have been developed will be sent to delegations for comments. Then Natalie Fricero presented several articles: principle of right to enforcement, definition of enforceable titles, enforcement costs, timeframe to enforce, search for information, enforcement agents, protective measures, enforcement measures, use of new technologies, etc. "We should therefore work hand in hand to have universally shared, efficient and human standards", concluded Professor Fricero in front of an enthralled audience.
Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ, then asked representatives of international institutions their feedback on the presentation they had just heard and the draft Global Code of Enforcement. Alain Ghozi (Association Henri Capitant) welcomed the principle of common standards while recognizing that, for him, the term code was inappropriate. Alexis Ndzuenkeu (Ohada) praised the work on a difficult subject, "consubstantially attached to the character of state sovereignty." From the point of view of Ohada, it is a discipline that falls under the rules of procedure. So far, most of the Ohada Uniform Acts deal with substantive law rather than procedural rules. But there is no obstacle to standardizing the principles in the context of enforcement. For example, the principles relating to enforcement would give the opportunity to update the law relating to immunities or goods exempted from seizures.
For Timothy Lemay (Uncitral) any draft code that elevates common standards in this area is welcome. This would promote a greater respect for the Rule of Law. He added that judicial officers are observers within Uncitral and are invited to all events. The development of common standards would be a desirable contribution. He proposed to the UIHJ to present soon the work of the Global Code to Uncitral. Giuliana Dunham Irving (the World Bank) considered that the creation of a code or common standards on enforcement would be a pledge to promote development and reassure private investors. It is therefore seen as a very important initiative.
Christophe Bernasconi (The Hague Conference) said how impressed he was with the work. He recalled that he had heard of the Global Code of Enforcement for the first time during the International Congress of judicial officers in Washington in 2006. "Work is progressing, taking shape and will undoubtedly leave traces" he anticipated. Thus, dialogue between UIHJ and institutions is important and should continue. He also invited the UIHJ to present its work to the Hague Conference. "Works on recognition of judgments in civil and commercial matters will have to consider the results of the work of the UIHJ" estimated the Secretary General of the Hague Conference.
Leo Netten thanked the speakers for this recognition and invitations to take place within working committees of various organizations. Invited to conclude the round table Natalie Fricero immediately stated: "the Global Principles of Enforcement: Yes We Can!"