Over 450 delegates from 50 countries met in Cape Town to celebrate the profession of judicial officer on the theme of "The judicial officer of the 21st century" and the Global Code of Enforcement. Large international organizations and institutions were present or represented for this major event organized by the International Union of Judicial officers. The beautiful city of Cape Town has been chosen to host the congress. Its geographical position, its many tourist attractions but also the quality of its infrastructure and the range of accommodation were all key elements in an always difficult choice. South Africa also had a major asset in the person of Johan Fourie, sheriff in Simonstown (a few kilometers from Cape Town), and also a member of the board of the UIHJ. For over two years, our colleague Fourie, assisted by his wife Ester, also sheriff, has worked tirelessly on location, in constant contact with Luisa Lozano, executive secretary of the UIHJ, enabling such a level of perfection when it comes to the technical organization of the Congress. The congress took place in the Cape Town International Convention Centre, an ultramodern building meeting all the expectations of an event of such importance.
Scientific work has been entrusted to Mathieu Chardon, 1st secretary of the UIHJ, who has done exceptional work welcomed by all. The conference was chaired by Bernard Menut, first vice-president of the UIHJ.
We must also acknowledge the personal and financial investment of South Africans colleagues, through their representative organizations, the South African Board for Sheriffs, the South African National Association of Progressive Sheriffs and the South African Institute for Sheriffs.
The strong presence of high personnalities and media during the opening ceremony showed the interest of South African authorities for the work by making it a national event.
Everyone could enjoy the excellent fraternal, friendly and sharing atmosphere throughout all the works.
During the congress took place the ceremony of confirmation of admission to the UIHJ for Georgia and Moldova and the ceremony of admission to the UIHJ for four new states: Albania, The Emirate of Dubai, Serbia and Zambia.
After the congress, the new board of the UIHJ for the year 2012-2015 was elected. President Leo Netten was reappointed by unanimous vote.
The general opinion is that the very high intellectual but also practical work helped to make this Congress the most important international event of the profession of judicial officer to date. In particular the first articles of the Global Code of Enforcement, the drafting of which was entrusted to the Scientific Council of the UIHJ under the direction of Professor Natalie Fricero, were presented. This conference should serve as a reference for many years.
A detailed account of work is being drafted. We offer the keynote address and reelection speech of President Leo Netten, the introductory report and summary report of the general rapporteur of the congress, the resolutions of the Congress and the composition of the new board of the UIHJ for the years 2012 to 2015.
Opening Speech of Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ
Let me begin by telling you the pleasure that is mine to be with you in Cape Town, the Pearl of South Africa. So many of you from around the world are here to attend our 21st International Congress of judicial officers!
My first words will be to express my gratitude to my South African colleagues who took up the challenge to host our conference. South Africa is a land of diversity. I therefore thank all the organizations representing the profession of Sheriff:
- The South African Board for Sheriffs
- The South African National Association of Progressive Sheriffs
- And the South African Institute for Sheriffs
I am very grateful to Geoff Gabede, Minister of Justice of South Africa for agreeing to be with us for this opening ceremony. Honourable Minister, by your presence and your long-awaited keynote speech, you are showing your interest in our work. You also show your full support for the profession of sheriff in your country, and its stakes at international level.
I sincerely thank the civil, political, judicial, and diplomatic dignitaries, and the representatives of all professions to honour our ceremony by their presence.
I also welcome our Deputy Sheriffs colleagues from South Africa. My dear colleagues, you came very numerous. You are at home, within your family of the judicial officers of the world.
Welcome to all members of international organizations and institutions that make us the honour of agreeing to participate in our work. We have tied strong links with them. We will always have at heart to maintain and develop them still more.
Members of the Scientific Council of the International Union are also present. I want to warmly welcome and thank them.
Finally, I salute all the delegations present. By its geographical position, South Africa is a distant destination for many of us.
Yet we are all here. Being the President of the Union would lead me to believe that the theme of our congress, "The judicial officer of the 21st century" and the high quality of work are the sole motivation of participants.
My vision may lack objectivity. I know we will have to share our expected success with a fierce competitor: the many attractions of South Africa.
Rest assured. I will show no jealousy. On the contrary, my Dutch heart always beats a little bit stronger in South Africa.
This is one of the very few countries in the world where I can talk in my home language. So I will not deny my pleasure.
I understand only two of the eleven official languages in use in South Africa, but I cannot resist the pleasure to state them all: English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu, North Sotho, South Sotho, Tswana, Siswati, Venda and Tsonga.
Beyond language, there are the fifty million inhabitants in South Africa, the "Rainbow Nation," as described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe the diversity of South Africa.
South Africa is also a wide country: thirty times the Netherlands - I let you do the math - and a lot less flat!
The art of Welcome is registered in the genes of South Africa. My many stays with you can attest that.
South Africa has built a reputation for taking up challenge. The tremendous changes decided over twenty years ago now lead the country on the path of development and growth for all. This path is particularly tortuous and fraught with pitfalls. Yet you follow it without looking back. The fight against poverty, unemployment, disease, inequality and injustice are the burden of all world leaders. This fight is not an empty word when it comes to South Africa.
Can you mention South Africa without discussing rugby? The legendary Springboks are feared throughout the world. World Champion at home in 1995. World Champion in France in 2007. I remember it. I was in Johannesburg during the World Cup. When it comes to soccer, well, the star does not shine as bright. But your organization of the World Cup in 2010 was exemplary. I should say, almost exemplary, because the Netherlands did not win the final! It's not just the sport that brings people together and I will now come up to my point.
This 21st International Congress of judicial officers is the second congress held on African soil. Nine years ago, in 2003, we were in the northern tip of Africa, in Tunis. Today, we are in the southern tip of Africa, the exact opposite of this huge continent. This is also the first international congress of judicial officers to be held under the equator. These two congresses are held in cities that cannot be further apart from each other in Africa. These two congresses stand as symbols for the judicial officers. Tunis: symbol of the opening of the African judicial officers in the world. Cape Town: symbol of the harmonization of the profession of judicial officer in the world.
What a long way in nine years! Nine years ago, our organization included 55 members. At the end of our congress, we will be 75, an increase of 35%. In Tunis, my illustrious predecessor, Jacques Isnard, who is a true visionary, had organized a panel on the creation of a global justice. At the time, we wondered in these terms: "Is the creation of a world of justice a fantasy, a utopia, or can we say that in the future, this world will become reality?" President Isnard raised the possibility of a global status of the judicial officer. To these questions, the Congress had said: "This is a realistic challenge." Today, the story confirms the vision of Jacques Isnard. No, the creation of a global justice is not a utopia. No, the harmonization of the profession of judicial officer in the world is not a utopia. Yes, it is a "realistic challenge."
The actions undertook over the past nine years and the changes we have witnessed serve as evidence. Only four months after the Tunis Congress, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted on 9 September 2003 Recommendation Rec(2003)17 on enforcement of court decisions. The International Union had participated in the development of this recommendation. It contains many of our precepts. In 2004 and 2007, twelve countries joined the European Union. I want to name them to salute them: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Thanks to the actions of the International Union and the involvement of our members, with the exception of Cyprus and Malta all these countries had, prior to their entry into the European Union adopted a model of liberal judicial officer. The face of the harmonized European judicial officer then showed.
Let us leave Europe a moment for Africa. I welcome the presence of the Permanent Secretary of Ohada, Dr. Dorothé Sossa. On 17 October 1993, fourteen African countries signed in Port Louis the Treaty on the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa. I also want to mention these fourteen countries. They are examples to the world: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. These countries have been joined by Guinea and Guinea Bissau. The accession process of the Democratic Republic of Congo, meanwhile, is in its final phase. This treaty was an extremely strong political signal to the world. It was also a strong signal for the profession of judicial officer. The International Union has been active in Africa since 1996, since the Appeal of Dakar. Before then, a judicial officer from Benin did not know the existence of his neighbour from Togo. Today, when a colleague from Togo meets a colleague from Benin, the first thing he does is to enquire about his children. That shows you the spirit that prevails here, a wonderful feeling that makes us proud. Today, all the judicial officers or the Ohada countries enforce court decisions in exactly the same way. We keep saying it. The Ohada has created something unique.
Within the International Union, we created ten years ago the Training Unit of African judicial officers. The Ufohja organized in Benin a few weeks ago its 30th training seminar. Dr Sossa knows our seminars. We had the honour to have him opening our work on a previous Ufohja seminar in Cotonou, in May 2005. He was then Minister of Justice of Benin. We want to go even further. We worked on a harmonized status of the profession of judicial officer for the Ohada countries. We will present this work again.
We will also present our work on the creation of African enforceable titles to further contribute to the harmonization of enforcement proceedings in the Ohada area. The example of Ohada should be a model for other African countries, especially those in the southern part. The Cadat project we have developed should allow us to consider the harmonization of the profession at continental level. The whole of Africa and all African judicial officers gathered in the International Union should benefit from the already existing progress and they should feel concerned.
On a global level, how can we forget also the work of the American Law Institute and UNIDROIT? These are the Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure, developed in 2004. The global principles were created by a gathering of eminent international jurists. Among them is a member of our Scientific Council, Professor Frédérique Ferrand. The thirty-six rules of these principles constitute a solid basis. It allows progress towards the harmonization of civil procedure globally.
Let's go back to Europe. Recently, the International Union joined a working group of the Commission for the Efficiency of Justice of the Council of Europe. This working group was established to develop guidelines for better implementation of Recommendation 17. These guidelines on enforcement and enforcement agents have been adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 17 December 2009. I welcome the presence of John Stacey, President of the CEPEJ, who personally took part in this work. The International Union approves every word of these guidelines. They carve in stone the harmonized profession of judicial officer and enforcement standards in Europe. Behind these European standards global standards are already emerging. No, the harmonization of the profession of judicial officer in the world is not a utopia. The judicial officer is an essential element of the Rule of Law. We all know that. This was recognized by the European Court of Human Rights in its 2004 Pini versus Romania case.
For decades the International Union collaborated with the Hague Conference on Private International Law, this centennial great organization. I welcome the presence here of its deputy Secretary General, Christophe Bernasconi, with whom we have close relations for many years.
As you know, the International Union was at the initiative of the 15 November 1965 Hague Convention on service of documents abroad in civil matters. The International Union is following with great interest the work of the Hague Conference which acts tirelessly in the field of civil and commercial international cooperation. Today, we are partner of The Hague Conference in a major European project for child support in the European Union, a very sensitive topic and vital for families.
This harmonization of law at global level is not a coincidence. It results from a need. For several years now, an unprecedented crisis has established, creating chaos in the world. The crisis forces us to question, regardless of our activities. Justice is no exception. Civil procedure and enforcement procedures are no exception. And our profession is no exception. How, at our level, can we help solve the crisis? Cooperation with institutions and international organizations is one of the means at our disposal.
The World Bank does is not wrong by creating the Global Forum on Justice, Law and Development. Justice. Law. Development. Until recently, in fact until the crisis, we were the only ones with other legal professionals to see that justice, law and development were closely linked.
These close relations were also at the heart of the topics of our previous congresses:
- Washington in 2006: "The harmonization of enforcement procedures in an area of justice with no boundaries"
- Marseille in 2009: "The judicial officer in the Law in the State, in the World"
Today, these three juxtaposed words resonate in harmony. We will actively participate in the World Bank Forum and take care of the part relating to the enforcement of court decisions. We all know that a court decision that cannot be enforced is useless. The enforcement of judgments is an integral part of a fair trial, we were told by the European Court of Human Rights in 1997 in the Hornsby versus Greece case.
Justice, Law and Development. These words lead us to two other major organizations with which our contacts are beginning to bear fruit. We are pleased to welcome Mr Alioune Sene, Director of Legal Affairs of the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa, UEMOA, who will talk about his organization. Globally, the International Union is now a member of the United Nations Commission for the Development of Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
The International Union is also involved in major projects of universal range. In Washington, in 2006, Bernard Menut, then Secretary of the Union, raised the question of the advisability of creating a global code of enforcement at the service of the rule of law. The fourth vow of the Washington Congress was as follows: "The Congress calls on all partners of judicial and economic world to build with the judicial officers the World Code of Enforcement”. The World Code is no longer a utopia. The World Code is a reality. Preparatory work will be presented during the congress.
South Africa is the "Rainbow Nation." Here in Cape Town, we give you the judicial officer of the 21st century, the harmonized judicial officer, the “Rainbow Judicial Officer”. Yet, we have to face facts. The world is vast. The road ahead is still long. But we are moving step by step, inexorably together, united, towards the goals and ideals that we set. Yes, it is the pursuit of ideals that has been driving our organization for the past sixty years.
For, we should not forget that this year marks the sixtieth anniversary of our beautiful International Union. I wish us and therefore I wish ALL OF YOU a happy birthday and a great congress.
Presentation of the Work of the Congress by Mathieu Chardon, General Rapporteur
Distinguished heads of delegations of the International Union of Judicial officers, dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
Let me begin my remarks by thanking three presidents, three exceptional men.
I would like to thank Jacques Isnard, President of the Union for fifteen years, until 2009. I had the chance to work with him for ten years. Through his work and that of his bard, the Union experienced unprecedented growth. I will have the opportunity to come back to this in a few minutes. Working alongside such a man is the greatest source of inspiration and motivation that is. Jacques Isnard is very well but he is not here today. But I can assure you that the flame still burns for our Union and for all of us, his children. I know his thoughts are with us right now.
I want to thank our President Leo Netten. Behind a great man was another, as the first vice-president of the Union for many years. With passion, determination and courage, our president has not only continued the actions taken by his predecessor, but he managed to develop them further to lead us to a new level.
Finally, I would like to thank Bernard Menut, our first vice president. Everybody knows his vast skills and resourcefulness. I owe him for being here today. As president of the National Chamber of judicial officers of France, twelve years ago, he asked to join the French delegation of the Union. By his trust, he opened me the doors of the great family of Judicial Officers.
You will therefore understand that when President Netten let me know nearly three years ago I was appointed to become general rapporteur of the Cape Town congress, I instantly acknowledged the responsibility but also the trust that was given to me by my family.
The Congress in Cape Town was immediately seen as a challenge.
The previous congress of Marseilles was a major success. Francoise Andrieux, general rapporteur, had done an unprecedented job. However, international congresses are no sports competition, if not in our common desire: the elevation of our profession. Each of the previous Congress reflected this same desire. Each of the previous Congress contained loads of information, innovations and improvements in the profession. Going through their reading, I was struck by this thread that seemed to link them to each other. It's as if they were each a chapter of a work whose screenplay was written in advance. A scenario that would focus on the evolution of the profession of judicial officer to its global harmonization.
I will take as an example the last five congresses.
- Stockholm (1997): "Judicial officer, a profession, a Law, an Area”;
- Athens (2000): "The judicial officer and globalization";
- Tunis (2003): "Globalization of Law";
- Washington (2006): "The harmonization of enforcement procedures in an area of justice without borders";
- And Marseille (2009): "The judicial officer in the State, in the Law, in the world."
The theme of our 21st Congress, "The judicial officer of the 21st century" then appeared as the logical height of a cycle. This cycle began with the recognition that the profession of judicial officer existed in most countries. Because of this diversity, the profession suffers from a lack of unity. Then we realized that diversity, far from being a handicap, was instead a great strength for us all. We saw real prospects for the development and future of the profession.
Step by step, day after day, the Union worked to get closer to its goals. Our actions were constant and extensive. They were set on all fronts and on all continents: status, training, liability, independence, activities, protection, access to information, enforcement procedures. Relations with all institutions and international organizations were forged or strengthened. In fifteen years the Union has grown dramatically, from two dozen members to over seventy.
Meanwhile, our world has changed considerably. Emerging markets have created a new geopolitical chessboard. Technological changes have made our planet shrink. On the Internet, boundaries were erased. Globalization is a reality rooted in our daily lives. The economic crisis of global proportions is also a reality rooted in our daily lives. The legal world is no exception to this process. Our profession is certainly concerned. If justice is more than ever in the heart of law, one wonders about its effectiveness and how to make it more efficient.
Models, standards are proposed. Principles of transnational civil proceedings Ali / Unidroit are an example. The work of the CEPEJ are another. This is for states to position themselves against each other, identify and choose the best systems. European instruments encourage countries to open to models that are not necessarily theirs.
In Africa, the OHADA uniform acts have achieved the objectives of fundamental and unprecedented harmonization Large international organizations and institutions all work to promote and model and converging systems.
Discussion forums are created by these organizations and institutions: The European Union with its European Judicial Network in civil matters, the Justice Forum, and more recently the European e-Justice portal.
Without a justice meeting the expectations of citizens and economic operators, there can be no economic development. The World Bank has understood this when it created a few months ago the Forum on Law, Justice and Development, a forum that is already called the Forum of forums.
The profession of judicial officer is essential to economic development. It ensures that the judge's decision will be respected. It helps reduce the number of cases brought before the courts. It assists in the research and preservation of evidence. It secures economic exchanges.
The CEPEJ Guidelines of 17 December 2009 on the execution of judgments and enforcement officers is the best example. These guidelines were developed with the active participation of our organization. They constitute the foundation on which the judicial officer of the 21st century may flourish, a harmonized multidisciplinary and forward looking judicial officer. For this, the Guidelines have been placed at the epicenter of our work.
But it is not enough to ensure the promotion of the CEPEJ Guidelines to have this judicial officer magically appear. However, this judicial officer does exist. But it is disseminated, scattered all over the world. It was necessary to start looking for him. It is this quest that we have undertaken. This quest is that of the Union, with the strength of its seventy-one members and its Scientific Council.
"Our Union is strength" likes to say our president. So I hope that our work can illustrate this principle. I wish they were not those of a small team, but those of all our Union's countries, a true common work. To do this, writing a collective work on the congress theme appeared to me. Nearly eighty authors are involved in its development. These authors are mostly judicial officers. The members of our Scientific Council were widely mobilized. Their contributions give them an extra academic dimension.
Some international organizations and institutions also honored us with their participation. I want to thank The Hague Conference on Private International Law and its Secretary General, Christophe Bernasconi, and the President of the CEPEJ, John Stacey, both present in Cape Town.
Our book is being written. It already over six-hundred pages. We collected about half of the contributions. And I can assure you that if we have the quantity, the quality is truly up to our expectations. I want to thank all the authors for their investment.
This will be the work of all judicial officers of the world.
Along, or rather prior to the writing this book, we had prepared an extensive questionnaire, the Grand questionnaire of the UIHJ. It was sent to all heads of delegations of the Union. The idea of this questionnaire is not new. It results from a comprehensive questionnaire already prepared in 2004 by our colleague Jos Uitdehaag. To date, 49 countries responded. We now have a major data source.
The questionnaire includes about 350 questions. They affect all aspects of our profession: status, training, organization, activities, access to information, ethics, liability ... They provide a basis for novel and unique information. To view them, simply go to the Internet. Each country may at any time change their data. Every change has an immediate impact on the existing data. Information on our profession are constantly updated, at no cost. I want to thank our candidate colleague Patrick Gielen and Marie Valverde for their patient work enabling the Grand questionnaire be what it is today.
Analysis of the contained data is one of the fundamental work done in connection with the work of the congress.
Let us turn to the presentation of this work here in Cape Town. We chose to present some of the aspects covered in this book, while respecting its structure in three commissions. Each commission is headed by a rapporteur.
The first commission is under the direction of our colleague Alain Ngongang, judicial officer in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Cameroon.
The second commission is headed by a member of the Scientific Council of the Union, Robert Emerson, a professor of Business law at the University of Florida, USA. Professor, at my request, you sent me a list of your activities and your skills. Forgive me for not reading it. It is too long. So I will try to summarize it. After graduating law at Harvard, you were a lawyer specializing in intellectual property among others topics. You have written numerous articles and books. You are an editor of the American Business Law Journal. The quality of your teaching is international. You also give lectures around the world. Your passion for comparative law and procedure reflects your enlightened eclecticism. And then you have developed a unique talent when you're on stage or in front of your students. Let me just say that those who attended your performance - Yes I call that a performance - at our congress in Marseille in 2009, asked for "more". Like them, I am much looking forward to hearing and seeing you.
The third committee is headed by our French colleague, Alain Bobant, judicial officer in Rochefort-sur-Mer. Our colleague does not need any introduction. His reputation as the world specialist on global technologies applied to the profession is undisputed. Alain Bobant is president of the National Federation of Trusted Third Parties, a French organization with an international vocation of which the Union is a member. Alain Bobant is what one might call a "man of ideas." His bubbling brain constantly springs and bursts with new ideas he has the grandeur to unselfishly offer our profession. I want here to testify him on behalf of the Union of our greatest recognition. I tell you and you shall judge for yourselves on Thursday that what Alain Bobant proposes will mark the history of our profession.
I thank the three rapporteurs of the commissions for the tremendous work they have provided, their support in our project and the trust they have shown me over the many months leading up to this day.
The work of the Congress is intended to help you discover all that the judicial officer can do to serve law, justice, citizens and economic operators. I invite you to follow them. You will find out about the relationships and ties that bind our Union with international institutions of which you can meet the distinguished representatives who honored us the honor by attending our conference in Cape Town despite very heavy agendas.
You will have concrete examples of actions performed by some of our members for the development of the profession in their country, and therefore in the world. You will learn all aspects of the profession of judicial officer. You will discover all the activities of judicial officers throughout the world, activities that you should claim, with the full support of the Union. We'll give you an overview of the directions in which the Union will engage to ensure the promotion of the profession, its development and harmonization, including through new technologies.
Training has always been at the heart of the concerns of the UIHJ. If technology allows us, we invite you to e-Learning session. Its purpose is to show the whole point of this training method, particularly suited to our profession.
An international congress is an opportunity for scientific and innovative leading work. This congress will not fail in this rule. We will present progress and the work of universal significance in areas that concern us all:
- The harmonized document initiating proceedings
- The harmonized status of the African judicial officer
- African harmonized Enforcement Titles
- The harmonized electronic Statement of facts
Finally, these are works of extraordinary dimensions which will be revealed Friday. They were introduced six years ago in Washington. They were entrusted to the Scientific Council of the UIHJ under the direction of Professor Natalie Fricero. This shows their scientific value. The Global Code of Enforcement is certainly the most ambitious project of the Union to date.
Until Friday, you will have the pleasure to hear about sixty speakers, judicial officers, members of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ, legal professionals and representatives of European and international organizations and institutions. Among them, the Great witnesses will respond to the presentations. They will engage in debate with you. I cannot mention all their names but I would like to thank them for agreeing to come to South Africa to present with us the judicial officer of the 21st century.
You will find in Cape Town everything that makes the greatness of our Union: innovation, openness, sharing, friendship, brotherhood and unity.
Let's wish our 21st Congress is the crossroads of our profession as it exists today and our profession as will exists tomorrow: a harmonized, multidisciplinary and forward looking profession.
In conclusion, it is no hazard if I propose as our motto for 21st Congress a quote from Jean Jaurès, a French politician who paid with his life his pacifist ideas:
"We must go to the ideal through the real."
I wish you all an excellent congress
Summary Report of the Congress Work by Mathieu Chardon, General Rapporteur
Mr. Chairman of the International Union of Judicial Officers,
Distinguished members of the board of the International Union of Judicial officers
Distinguished professors of the Scientific Council of the International Union of Judicial officers
Distinguished Heads of Delegation
Ladies and gentlemen,
Before presenting the report which will bring us closer to the end of the scientific work of our 21st Congress, may I say that I participated in our four previous international congresses: Athens, Tunis, Washington and Marseille. But it is actually only the second time I am seeing the whole event. Because, from Tunis, I was locked in an almost secret place, my fingers glued to the keyboard of my computer to prepare with others the famous Congress Gazette. In fact, I saw nothing. I attended nothing. I was told. I listened. I took notes. I imagined. For me the International Congress of the Union was some kind of a dream world I could not enter. Today I walked through the door. I lived that moment everyone is talking about. And now I can say : I was there. I saw everything. I heard everything. The experience went beyond my expectations.
Certainly, as a general reporter, it not possible to enjoy every moment as each delegate can. Questions are constantly raised. Good ones but also wrong ones. Will people come? Will I be up to the people's expectation? Will the speakers come and speak? Will the Internet connection be working? Le'ts hope there will be no power failure! What else? But eventually, when the machine of the Union is launched, it is difficult to stop it. And then, what could really happen in the light of everyone's commitment to our organization. What could happen with such a team with me? Three reporters who will be remembered for a long time. Sixty, brilliant, participants, all. Forty nationalities. Four continents.
Yes, a congress of the Union is truly an exceptional event.
What about the presentations? I hoped that this conference would be a festival of ideas. You've turned it into a firework.
I will not come back to the presentations or attempt to summarize them. What could I say? I shall only succeed in misquoting them. And as you know our work will be published.
I would rather tell you about the thoughts inspired by the work done for nearly three years and by the presentations that were made here in Cape Town.
The International Union of Judicial officers, with its seventy-one members, soon seventy-five, is one of the largest international organizations of lawyers in the world and, dare we say, the most active. On Wednesday Francoise Andrieux recalled in her report of activities: during this mandate, the Union participated in over 220 events. These events were held on four continents. Four very different continents. But four continents linked by organizations and institutions and by our Union and our common desire to raise ever higher the profession of judicial officer, a profession at the service of justice and citizens.
Ultimately it may be this which characterizes the judicial officer of the 21st century. He belongs to a continent. But he chose the Union. Four continents. Institutions and organizations. One Union. These are the three themes that I want to develop to end our work in Cape Town.
We listened with great interest to the various speakers who explained the progress of the profession on four continents.
In Algeria, our colleague, Mohamed Cherif, President of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Algeria, told us of the spectacular changes in his country with regard to the profession of judicial officer. Elin Villipus, our colleague from Estonia, said in her presentation on debt collection, that this activity was restricted in two countries to judicial officers only. Algeria is one of these two countries.
In Togo, Andrew Sama Botcho, president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers, recalled the process of modernization of justice undertaken in his country since 2009 with financial and technical support of the European Union and the French Embassy. He said - this is extremely rare in Africa - that the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Togo now had a seat, "affectionately" called - in his words - the House of the judicial officer, in Lome, inaugurated on 25 March 2011. I was present at this inauguration and I can only welcome this major step forward for the profession of judicial officer in Togo.
With regard to Mauritius, our colleague Harold Iyempermail, announced good news. As of 1st September 2012, the liberal profession of judicial officer comes into force. What are the reasons for this change, which took sixteen long years, wonders our colleague? "To provide fast and efficient justice, so that no one suffers delays, so that judgments are made faster and finally that everyone profits from the change." Without the support of the UIHJ, it would have been impossible recognized our colleague.
The International Union of Judicial officers has recently invested in a new project aimed at the Caribbean islands. This is the Ohadac, refferring to Ohada: The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in the Caribbean. Our colleague Sue Collins, a member of the board of the UIHJ, reported difficulties concerning the execution of court decisions in the area. With the exception of some islands, the judicial officers of the Ohadac countries are not organized. The project should take a long time. On the occasion of her research, Sue Collins, realized that the Hague Conference on Private International Law was trying to locate in the region. Our two organizations should put in common their knowledge for the benefit of everyone.
In Quebec, Louis-Raymond Maranda, President of the Chamber of judicial officers and board member of the UIHJ, announced the creation of Nota Bene, the platform for electronic service of documents. Through a film, we were able to see a summary of the discussions with the authorities that looked very demanding and the final result which will be unveiled on May 15.
In Kazakhstan, our colleague Aidos Imanbaev told us about the difficulties in his country as regards enforcement of court decisions. He stated that a radical reform was necessary because of its inefficiency, due to low salaries of judicial officers, lack of motivation and corruption. In 2005, the decision to implement the liberalization was decided at the highest state level. Then systems in place in several countries (France, Bulgaria, Latvia, among others) were studied. The role of the UIHJ, its presidents Jacques Isnard and Leo Netten, Bernard Menut and its first secretary were highlighted. The law was passed on 2 April 2010 and private judicial officers started work in September 2011. Certainly, Kazakhstan, this huge country, became a model for the region, and Asia. Our fellow member finally suggested that cooperation with the EU would allow to share experiences and improve the system of private judicial officer in his country.
In Thailand, another country's flagship of the Asian subcontinent, our colleague Kraisorn Singharajwarapan showed that in terms of seizure and sale of immovable, the Department for judicial enforcement of Thailand, of which he is a director, is a model of efficiency. The film that was screened perfectly demonstrated the high efficiency of the system in force. I went a few years ago in Thailand with Rene Duperray, our former Secretary General, and we filmed the system of real estate auctions. I can assure you that we were very impressed with what we had seen.
In Spain, our colleague Luis Ortega Alcubierre, told us about the profession of Procurador and its 9500 members, the largest organisation after Russia, as Olof Dahnell pointed out in his presentation of the Grand questionnaire of the UIHJ. Luis Ortega Alcubierre said the General Council of Procuradores recently became a full member of the UIHJ following transformations of this profession rich of 600 years of activity. Indeed, after the service of documents, the profession of Procurador now claims the enforcement of court decisions. For our colleague, this full integration into the Union is important. It is important for the Union which has the potential of the strength of 9500 Procuradores, all highly qualified lawyers. It is important for Procuradores who have the support of a powerful organization at a time of profound change for the profession. Today, Procuradores claim complete outsourcing of the enforcement process to their advantage and complete autonomy to perform these functions.
In Georgia, our colleague Guranda Goglidze, on behalf of Nika Melia, director of the National Bureau of Enforcement, reported on the reasons which led to changes in the enforcement system and which were initiated in 2008. The proper functioning of the enforcement of judicial decisions is essential to economic development. To do so required skilled and motivated workforce. The system set up in Georgia is unique. The judicial officers are civil servants. However, the National Bureau of Enforcement works like a private company. It is fully autonomous in its operations and budget. This allows it to be extremely reactive in terms of its internal organization and its development. The results are staggering. Advanced computerization, electronic auctions, including seized buildings, access on information on debtors and their assets, management techniques for staff who can double up their salary with bonuses cleverly calculated by algorithms. Georgia continues its transformation through several European projects in cooperation with experts in particular those of the UIHJ, the CILC and countries such as Sweden. Finally, our Georgian colleagues are very interested in the statements of facts by judicial officers. So we will follow this matter closely.
Artur Parfenchikov, Chief Judicial Officer of the Russian Federation, Director of the Federal Service of Judicial Officers of the Russian Federation, presented the particularly impressive advances in the profession in this country that is overwhelmingly the largest in terms of area (17 million km ²), and judicial officers (84,352 to date including all staff). Mr. Parfenchikov described the organization of the Federal Service of Judicial officers. We could find out that the number of enforcement cases is steadily increasing since 2007, as the amount of recovered debts. Since 1st January 2012, the Federal Service has access to information concerning the debtors' assets. The computerization of the service is also a key aspect. Training is also very present. Employees of the Service are motivated with bonuses. They finally have a center for well deserved vacation, on the Black Sea coast, near Krasnodar.
Institutions and International Organizations
Regarding the World Bank, President Netten said that we now finally have contacts with this institution and that our efforts were successful. The World Bank has created a few months ago the Forum on Justice, Law and Development, the "Forum of Forums." It is necessary to take the reins of the harmonization of the enforcement process. This is a project that will occupy us for a long time believed our president but it is the place of the judicial officer. Enforcement should revolve around the judicial officer. This sould be be at the highest level possible.
Sue Collins, Board Member of the Union, spoke of UNCITRAL and new relationships that we have established since integrating working groups.
Christophe Bernasconi, Deputy Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, first of all whished a happy sixtieth anniversary to the Union. He did not fail to remind us that his organization had celebrated its centenary already a long time ago since it was created in 1893, making it the oldest international organization in The Hague. The Hague Conference has 71 members plus the European Union. 140 countries are actually connected to the organization through its 38 existing conventions. Mr. Bernasconi raised the topic of the Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on service of documents. He emphasized the historical role of the UIHJ in its conception. This Convention is in force in 65 states. But in the case of Africa, only five countries are concerned, which is unfortunate, especially as a practical manual is published in seven languages, whichs allows to measure all its interest. Moreover, the Union never fails to ensure the promotion of this instrument when on African soil. Mr. Bernasconi announced exciting news. After several unsuccessful attempts, the enforcement of judgments is again on the agenda of the Hague Conference. There is no doubt that cooperation between our two organizations will be very fruitful in this regard.
The mutation of the profession of judicial officer began in Africa on 17 October 1993 with the Treaty of Port-Louis on the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa. Our president Leo Netten recalled: "This treaty was an extremely strong political signal to the world. It was also for the profession of judicial officer ".
But it was not until 1996 with the Call of Dakar that the judicial officers became aware of this change, when the UIHJ decided to extend its activities to harmonize the profession on the African continent.
And so today, judicial officers of the Ohada zone who are member countries of the UIHJ link with one another very closely.
16. 19. 3. 9. 4. 8. These were the figures you had to choose to win the Lottery which was conducted under the supervision of a judicial officer as mentioned by our colleague Anne Kérisit. More seriously, these figures are those given by Dr. Dorothé Sossa, Permanent Secretary of Ohada.
16 for the number of member countries of Ohada.
19 for the age of Ohada.
3 for the number of functioning Ohada institutions: the Permanent Secretariat, the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration and the Regional postgraduate school in the judiciary.
9 for the number of uniform acts.
4 for the number of official languages: English - French - Spanish - Portuguese
8 for the number of new areas of activities including leasing, factoring, franchising, outsourcing, public-private partnership, business transaction, traffic or public property mediation.
"We have to follow the same direction," says Dorothé Sossa. "You are the only profession to have an uniform act. Enforcement is your job. There are downfalls in the uniform act. You will have to be there at the time of the revision of the the Uniform Act Enforcement. You must be present. The work should not be done without you. " Dear Mr Permanent Secretary of the Ohada, at the Union, we also use numbers. Your comments are received 5 out of 5.
Regarding the profession of judicial officer, the UIHJ constantly works for the recognition of Ohada in Europe. This is done through the Ufohja course. We will come back to this. The UIHJ also organizes every two years since 2008 meetings between African judicial officers and European judicial officers, on African ground. After Gabon and Cameroon in 2010, Andre Sama Botcho, president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Togo announced that his country will organize in 2013 the 3rd Africa Europe meetings of judicial officers.
Alioune Sene, a lawyer at the Legal Directorate of the Economic and Monetary Union of West-Africa (UEMOA), spoke about the recent history of relations between African judicial officers and his organization. He reminded the workshop that was held in Bamako in December 2010, one of whose goals was to overcome the obstacles to freedom to provide services and right of establishment of judicial officers in the UEMOA area. As we know, the UIHJ became partner of the UEMOA. The presence of Mr. Sene in our work is a strong sign of this new partnership.
In Europe, John Stacey, President of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice of the Council of Europe (CEPEJ), cited the work of his organization rich of its 49 countries and its collaboration with other institutions such as the European Union and other professions, including the judicial officers. When the Union became an observer member of the CEPEJ, John Stacey said he had some doubts. Were we going to be an organisation that would seize the machinery of the CEPEJ for the sole benefit of its interests? In reality, in particular through the working group on enforcement which was created in 2009 and the development of the CEPEJ guidelines on enforcement, President Stacey was able to realize that our organization placed the efficiency of justice and defense of the rights of citizens, whether creditors or debtors, in the center of the debates, turning us into a trusted and special partner. John Stacey told us he wanted to also reactivate the working group on enforcement for further progress. We are very pleased with this news and as always we are available for the CEPEJ. The President of the CEPEJ described the importance of the CEPEJ guide lines developed in cooperation with the UIHJ. For him, the judicial officer should be paid enough to form a bulwark against corruption.
Our colleague Jos Uitdehaag recalled that the EU introduced numerous instruments for the profession of judicial officer: regulations on service of documents, recognition and enforcement of judgments, European Enforcement Order, European Order for Payment, small claims, or maintenance obligations. The European Union has established the European Judicial Network whose meetings are regularly attended by the International Union, the Forum of Justice or the European e-Portal.
Sir Francis Jacobs, president of the European Law Institute (ELI), sent a message of support during our congress. This message was read by Francoise Andrieux, general secretary of the UIHJ. Our colleague told us that the UIHJ attended the initial meeting creating this new European organization. The Union is a founding member. Its role is to conduct research and make recommendations in the legal field. We participated in all meetings and we will take our full place in the ELI.
For Alain Ngongang, Rapporteur of the 1st Commission, the harmonization of the profession is a necessity. It is there in all countries. Some figures to start with.
Bernard Menut, first vice-president of the Union, and Olof Dahnell, judicial officer in Sweden, presented their analysis of the Grand questionnaire of the UIHJ on the profession. They focused on five topics: general data, level of training, initial and ongoing training, access to the profession and liability.
This analysis, followed by Vladimir Yarkov, professor at the University of the Ural Ekaterinebourg of the Russian Federation and member of the Scientific Council, great witness, could show that the profession of judicial officer is very diverse in terms of these topics. They hold promise of opportunities for the harmonization of the profession while clearly revealing the path that lies ahead to achieve them.
Moreover, for Alain Ngongang, the diversity of the profession is not a weakness but rather a strength for the benefit of all. This harmonization is at hand. Therefore, to achieve these necessary goals, the judicial officers gathered within the International Union decided to take their destiny into their own hands.
Jerome Okemba Ngabondo, judicial officer in Brazzaville, Congo and Guillaume Payan, a lecturer at the University of Maine in France, UIHJ consultant, presented in turn the harmonized status of the African judicial officer and African Enforcement Titles.
The harmonized status developed by member colleagues of the UIHJ of the Ohada area in cooperation with our organization was rejected by Ohada in 2007. For Guillaume Payan, the Revision of the Ohada Treaty of 2008 explicitly expressed the willingness of member countries to strengthen the legal and judicial security. Since then, there were also the guidelines of the CEPEJ which focused on rules found in the harmonized status of the judicial officer in Africa.
Moreover, Dorothé Sossa clearly encouraged the profession and the UIHJ to continue its actions in favor of this proposed uniform act. This is what we will certainly do.
Jérôme Okemba Ngabondo and Guillaume Payan then presented the African Enforcement Titles which is supported by the UIHJ and that the UIHJ intends to present to our colleagues. It will then be presented to the Ohada under the form of a draft uniform act. The first of these African Enforcements Titles concern the elimination of exequatur for money claims made as part of the uniform act on enforcement. The second of these titles concerns court decisions, deeds and legal transactions. With regard to judicial decisions, the idea is to propose the abolition of exequatur by ensuring that legal standards are met, through the document initiating proceedings and the Judgment served by a judicial officer.
Guillaume Payan resubmitted the harmonised document initiating proceedings which had been been presented at the international symposium of the UIHJ in Sibiu, Romania, in 2009. He believes that the judicial officers are a real driving force. I will certainly not contradict him.
In Africa, our South African colleague, Johan Fourie, mentioned the CADAT issues, mainly for the southern zone of Africa.
Also in Africa, Honoré Aggrey, vice president of the UIHJ, and Jean-Michel Rouzaud, president of the National School of Procedure of Paris, told about their commitments to this great institution, the Training Unit African of judicial officers (the Ufohja), which celebrates its tenth anniversary. The thirtieth seminar was held in Cotonou, Benin, a few weeks ago.
Regarding training still, our colleague Francoise Andrieux delighted us by using every letter of the magic word « Training » for the purpose of her presentation on the topic. Behind training we find unity, unification, standardization and harmonization so dear to the UIHJ, she told us.
This is why training is central to our work. And to achieve this goal, a presentation of e-Learning was performed from South Africa, with the Netherlands and France. It shows, I hope, all the interest we have in taking the path of this training technique.
Robert Emerson, Rapporteur of the Second Commission, introduced the work of his commission by not hiding anything of his taste for a total show. His performance only strengthened the relevance of his remarks. He strongly supported the work done in connection with securing legal exchanges presented by Patrick Gielen, candidate judicial officer in Belgium. For our colleague, it is necessary to harmonize trading systems to provide greater security for citizens. For him, "we are at the dawn of standardized data exchanges by the judicial officers."
For Robert Emerson, the statement of fact by judicial officer presented by Ewa Bieda on behalf of Rafal Fronczek, president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Poland, is a means which should be considered in the United States. "Much can be learned from Europe in the U.S.," he said. Statement of facts would supplement the extremely lengthy and costly procedures based on testimony, whose reliability is only relative for many reasons.
This is also the opinion of José Carlos Resende, President of the Chamber of Solicitadores of Portugal, great witness. To him also statement of facts are very important in the search of evidence. It avoids the use of witnesses who are really time consuming.
In the field of evidence, Anne Kérisit presented an overview of the jurisdiction of French judicial officers in the field of games, contests and public procurement. This example should inspire other countries. The need for security is universal.
In this regard, Ioan Les, professor at the University of Sibiu, a member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ and great witness, said that harmonization of the profession is not only desirable but possible. Important guidelines exist: the CEPEJ guidelines, the project on enforcement of the Ohada. For him, all these projects are very interesting like the Grand questionnaire of the UIHJ.
With regard to the CEPEJ guidelines, Marc Schmitz, judicial officer in Belgium and quaestor of the Committee of the UIHJ, called for the implementation of Guideline No. 33, which promotes the uniqueness of the enforcement officer. "Where is the logic when the judicial officer can attach a building but can not sell it? " he added: " Is it conceivable in a state of law that the state grants itself an unforcement title and self enforces it? " The CEPEJ guidelines are intended to become, beyond the European standard, world standard.
The attachement and selling of movable is part of the activities carried out by most judicial officers. With a very British humor and coolness Martin Leyshon, President of the High Court Enforcement Officers Association, showed the importance of this activity to get results. We also saw pictures of him proving he was personnaly involved in his work in the field.
Debt collection is also one of the activities promoted by the CEPEJ. Our colleague Elin Vilippus, judicial officer in Estonia, made a brilliant demonstration of the usefulness of this activity.
Jeroen Nijenhuis, our colleague from the Netherlands, with a natural storytelling talent, kept us spellbound throughout his presentation on the yet highly technical theme of the missions assigned by the judge. Through an example which we understood deeply affected him, he explained how the judicial officer could be of service to the judge when he was entangled in inextricable problems. Finally, only a judicial officer, a lawyer as well as a man of action, was able to untie the knot.
With his usual talent Mark Schmitz, replacing our colleague Roger Dujardin, presented the activity of sequestration of goods in his country. This is one of the other activities the harmonization of which is desired by the CEPEJ and naturally by our union.
Adrian Stoica, judicial officer (Romania), member of board of the UIHJ, presented the activity of mediation, another of the activities carried out by judicial officers. In Romania, said our colleague, for certain disputes, a mediation attempt must be made at a judicial officer's office by the litigants. It was only in case of failure that the litigants are allowed to go to court. Such a system, if implemented in other countries, should contribute significantly to easing the courts.
But the Union is also that of new technologies. "Do not be afraid," said Carlos Calvo, president of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Luxemburg, echoing the words of Pope John Paul II. He was referring of course to the electronic service of documents.
And yet we were very afraid during the presentation of the work of the Third Commission by its rapporteur, Alain Bobant. What, the Internet is outdated? No more emails? All pipes are clogged? We have no control over anything? We'll have to go back to paper? Phew, in the end, that was just a bad dream.
Carlos Calvo showed us the issues and mechanisms but also some limitations. Regarding this issue, Alain Bobant warns us. Everyone builds its own electronic service of document. "We are just building a Tower of Babel" he said, citing the need to opt for interoperability techniques.
Meanwhile Juhani Toukola, Managing Director of the Bureau of the State Administration for Execution of Finland, presented the electronic enforcement and progress in his country.
For Bernard Menut, being the electronic service of documents or the electronic enforcement, we should ensure that the recipient is effectively informed of the measures he is subjected to.
Juraj Podkonicky, judicial officer in the Czech Republic and Secretary of UIHJ-EuroDanube, presented the main lines of electronic statements of facts. His observation is based on a French standard developed by Alain Bobant. For Alain Bobant, it is necessary to launch the e-Statement of facts. It is a model, a standard directly applicable in all countries.
Jean Tock Makosso, Chairman of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of the Congo and a great witness, said we should consider a Ufohja training for electronic tools.
Alain Bobant then presented the draft he created for the UIHJ and all the judicial officers of the world. This is the Digital Trust Project. We shared an incredibly strong moment, and we witnessed an exceptional time for the history of the profession. Alain Bobant's project will allow each judicial officer of the world to enjoy all the technological advances and allow each judicial officer of the world to significantly increase their skills and effectiveness.
The reactions of the great witnesses spoke for themselves. Monique Kotchofa-Faihun, vice president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Benin, admitted to having been "terrified" at the beginning of the panel. The arguments of Alain Bobant visibly reassured her. "Although African countries are not as developed as the European countries, we cannot renounce the use of electronic means," she said. "Besides, electronic evidence is included in the Uniform Act on commercial acts, in Article 50. We cannot abandon its use. With the outlined developments, I am reassured. My fear disappeared. This is a great project. The intervention of Leo Netten reassures me. The UIHJ will adopt this tool. The profession must be harmonized in the 21st century. I want to see this project becoming a reality. "
In this direction, Mohamed Bousmaha, judicial officer in Algeria, said technology precedes the law. Referring to the past, he acknowledged that things have gone this way.
Pimonrat Vattanahatai, professor of law in Thailand, member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ, supported the project UIHJ. The UIHJ must begin working to harmonize the legal systems of the world. As such e-Learning is very interesting.
For Orazio Melita, judicial officer in Italy, the introduction of the Digital Trust Center was seen as a big surprise. The presentation was not only digital but very warm. "This project is international and very practical. It is very important that the UIHJ does something like that. It's not enough to draft very beautiful laws, as in Italy, but they also should be enforced. "
Antonio Kostanov, president of the National Chamber of judicial officers of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said that "we have the train ticket and we must be on the train."
Gary Crowe, administrator of the National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS), expressed the nervousness of the 2200 Process servers of his organization. A nervousness but no fear.
David Walker, judicial officer in Scotland, Permanent Delegate of the UIHJ for the UK and Ireland, considered that the presentation of Alain Bobant was fantastic: "He has, I think, perfectly understood all the economic interests that the judicial officers can benefit from this great project. " Kraisorn Singharajwarapan also said he enjoyed the presentation.
For Christophe Bernasconi, it was a highlight of the congress and maybe even for the historical evolution of the Union. "Ten years ago the subject of the mail service had created confusion. Today the debate is more serene and more realistic. " The Vice-Secretary General of the Hague Conference congratulated the Union and Alain Bobant. He said he hoped to collaborate with the UIHJ, particularly in the context of the 1965 Convention and its Article 10 b.
Leo Netten added that the judicial officer must follow the path of electronics. He extended his congratulations to Alain Bobant. He said he was always convinced of this. "We should implement a digital strategy. If we don't, others will. We have the monopoly for now. If one does not secure the electronic path, we will lose the activity ".
Alain Bobant concluded by stating that his commission had to actually deploy a computer and Internet education. "The use of technology can be a leverage to our community. We sould have a pool of expertise and develop a culture of sharing. We should draw upon all the close or distant skills. We should stop the dispersal of our forces. We should think about working at communicating, being in phase. We need to build a universal electronic architecture. We should be inventive. "
Dear colleagues, at the end of this summary report, let me tell you the honor and pleasure that were mine to work during these past three years. I want to thank first our President Leo Netten, for the confidence granted to me. I also thank all of the board of the Union for its support, assistance and encouragement. Thank you to past President Jacques Isnard and to Francoise Andrieux, our Secretary General, for their advice and experience. A strong thank you to the president of the congress, Bernard Menut. I thank from the bottom of my heart the three Commission rapporteurs, Alain Ngongang, Robert Emerson and Alain Bobant for their total investment and the excellence of their work. A big thank you to everyone involved in the written work and the live presentation. They are nearly a hundred to have engaged in the congress work. I especially thank the members of the Scientific Council of the Union which have enabled us to raise our work at this level. I thank Johan Fourie and our secretary Luisa Lozano for their extraordinary work to ensure the perfect organization of our conference. Finally, I thank you all for being so diligent throughout our work.
Short-Speech of Leo Netten, Re-Elected President of the UIHJ
First of all, thank you very much for the trust that you give me, my secretariat directed by my secretary general, francoise, and of course my board because I consider this re-election as your utmost approval of the work that has been done by us and the direction that we have chosen.
We heard during the past days all about the possibilities of our beautiful profession.
The harmonized, multi-field, highly-trained, dynamic, well-structured, etc., professional who is facing his future.
New tasks, new opportunities open to us and light up the future for all of us, for all of our organization.
I told you already that we foresee thrilling achievements, new challenges all as stimulating as each other.
Are we ready to deal with these challenges, to profit from the possibilities, to face the future?
We have to be very realistic and to work with the tools that we have and that we can create.
One example. On Monday and Tuesday we had a special expert meeting organised by the CILC, the Center for international legal cooperation and the UIHJ. More than 30 experts, working within or in narrow cooperation with the UIHJ have discussed the creation of an enforcement law toolkit, an online instrument to facilitate legal professionals to reform the field of enforcement law.
They discussed how, by what means, with what approach a reform of the enforcement system in a country can be initiated and or established. What steps should be taken, what is the role of the experts, what instruments, what standards are available, what do we learn from the experiences so far.
These pools of experts within the UIHJ are unique in the world of legal professionals.
Another example. We have created the Grand Questionnaire of the judicial officer, where you can find online statistic information about the judicial officer worldwide. Because of the particularity of updating the data by the national bodies, these data are always up to date. We have already set up a global network which can quickly carry out investigations intended for statistics which are used or asked for instance by the European Commission for instance.
Another example. Within the UIHJ are structures like CADAT which aims to achieve in Africa a harmonization of the statute of the judicial officer, on the basis of best practice. This same basis of best practice is used within STOBRA, the council of the European UIHJ presidents for harmonizing enforcement procedures such as those on immovable by identifying best practice or setting up a European statement of facts carried out by judicial officers also by identifying best practices, including those offering the highest security.
And there are many more examples to give. Yes, I am convinced of the fact that we can face the future. The UIHJ is now one of the largest and most influential international organizations in the world.
When I was appointed two and a half years ago, I emphasized that we should take advantage of our position within international organisations and on the need to be proactive. We can only note that the movement initiated is today fully operational. We are recognized by all institutions at all levels, European, African or global, as the natural partner to turn to. For 60 years now, our huge advantage over other legal professionals often fragmented between their different entities is the opportunity to speak with one voice, yours. We develop and send the same message whether in Africa, Europe - not only in the European Union but in the wider Europe of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe - in North-, Central- or South-America or Asia.
This unique strength is irreplaceable. It allows us to be recognized everywhere.
It is towards the UIHJ that turns the Hague Conference on Private International Law as regards the service convention. We even take part as partner with the Hague Convention in a i-Support project.
And as you could hear yesterday we will set up a working group together with the Hague Conference to develop a protocol and standards for the electronic transmission of documents regarding art. 10b of the Service Convention.
It is towards the UIHJ that the Council of Europe turns through its numerous missions in its member states. It is towards the UIHJ that the Council of Europe turns when it decides to create a working group on enforcement. It is towards the UIHJ that the European Commission turns when creating a working group to develop the European bank attachment order. It is naturally to the UIHJ that the European Commission turns when it plans to incorporate legal professions in the European Judicial Network and as regards its Justice Forum. It is towards the UIHJ that the European Consilium turns to create a directory of judicial officers for its e-Justice portal. It is towards the UIHJ that the European Union turns for its great project on training. It is towards the UIHJ that the European Law Institute turns, when it asked us to be a founding member at the time of its recent creation, one year ago now. It is towards the UIHJ that the UNCITRAL (the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) turns when it asked us to become observer member.
And last but not least it is towards the UIHJ that the World Bank turns. This institution considered that economic development cannot be achieved without relying on the cornerstone of judicial institutions that are powerful and strong. As an answer to the need of the international community for a forum to exchange permanent and global knowledge, the World Bank has established the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development. An electronic platform for information and communication will serve as a way of exchange. And we, the UIHJ, you all, are asked to participate as leader in the construction of the ‘enforcement' pole which will be developed in this project. It is again the proof of our statement that law and economics are linked. This is of course not only a challenge but also a tremendous recognition of the necessity of enforcement. Exchanges develop only because they originate in a secure environment, but it is the enforcement professionals who are the privileged vectors of this security, as they ensure the fulfilment of contractual obligations.
We should be aware of our strength, enjoy it, cherish it and protect it as our most valuable asset. We should however not forget that the occupation of judicial officer is much less important than that of other legal professions. Yet our influence, our recognition and efficiency are very real. Let us be realistic and consistent with ourselves; we should avoid any dispersion of our actions. They would only result in weakening our profession and therefore weakening each judicial officer of each member state of the UIHJ.
Yesterday we heard the brilliant presentation of Alain Bobant who told you in which direction our UIHJ will go and I will summarize it.
Our challenges for 2022. Deploy a computer and technology education by providing strategic and technical resources, and an electronic watch. If we master technology, its use will become a force for progress and a real performance boost for our community. And then we can reinvent it. We can mutualize our skills and develop a culture of sharing. To have a solid expertise, we need contributions to our internal or close expertise, such as those of our current partners: NSG, NOTA BENE, ADEC, FNTC ...
To successfully integrate innovations from the digital business, we should end the dispersal of our forces. We need to gather and unify: we should interconnect through digital multiplicity the spaces that make up the UIHJ. Let's build universal technology architecture. We will not have an "arms race", but we will substitute the inventiveness to the power of oversized and expensive equipment.
We should build with intelligence, coherence and pragmatism, a universal architecture.
A harmonized international profession is a strong profession. We should aim at a global harmonization of our professional structures, procedure rules, and production and communication tools.
See you there, Alain Bobant.
The challenges that await the UIHJ are enormous and the next years will be decisive for the future of the judicial officer. So I will end as always. We should all be conscious of the risks our profession is facing. We should also all be conscious of the importance of the opportunities and prospects which are offered to us. Actions and stakes exceed more and more national levels being in Europe, in Asia, in America or in Africa. It is thus only together that we will be able to face these issues and to move on.
Our Union will be our strength.
Resolutions of the Congress
Having established that the harmonization of the profession of judicial officer is a legal, economic and social necessity;
Having established that the judicial officer should provide economic stakeholders and litigants with services compatible with his function and powers,
Having established that the judicial officer should provide a high level quality of service;
Having established that the harmonization of technology is the means to increase effectiveness and efficiency of judicial officers,
The congress of the Judicial Officers convened in Cape Town on 2, 3 and 4 May 2012 issued and ratified the wish that :
The UIHJ is the key actor of the legislative and regulatory process to harmonize the profession of judicial officer
The recognized activities of judicial officers include items 33 and 34 of the Guidelines of the CEPEJ of 17 December 2009
Technological harmonization and integration is implemented within the profession of the judicial officer
The New Board of the UIHJ (2012-2015)
President: Leo Netten (the Netherlands)
1st Vice-President: Bernard Menut (France)
Vice-Presidents: Honoré Aggrey (Ivory Coast), Dionysios Kriaris (Greece)
Secretary: Louis-Raymond Maranda (Canada)
Treasurer: Juraj Podkonicky (Czech Republic)
Vice-Secretary: Luis Ortega Alcubierre (Spain)
Vice-Treasurer: Mohamed Cherif (Algeria)
Members: Sue Collins (USA), Marc Schmitz (Belgium), David Walker (Scotland)
Secretary General: Françoise Andrieux
First Secretaries: Mathieu Chardon, Jos Uitdehaag
Administrative Secretary: Luisa Lozano