Every three years, the UIHJ organises the international congress of judicial officers. This is the occasion of the largest gathering of judicial officers in the world, from Africa, America, Asia and Europe. A privileged place to meet and exchange between professionals, the International Congress is the opportunity to present the scientific work and focus on all the advances, progress and projects related to the profession of judicial officer.
This year the scientific work was completed by a historic roundtable attended by the major international institutions and organisations: the World Bank, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the Ohada, and the European Law Institute. During the roundtable, the UIHJ officially presented to the world the Global Code of Enforcement, whose work has been going on for nearly ten years and have been conducted jointly its Scientific Council under the direction of Natalie Fricero, professor at the University of Nice (France).
On the occasion of this 22nd International Congress and the renewal of its board, a woman, Françoise Andrieux (France), was elected for the first time as President of the UIHJ.
The conference was under the patronage of His Majesty Felipe VI, King of Spain. It was dedicated to the memory of Bernard Menut (1952-2015), 1st Vice-President of the UIHJ, the recently deceased President of the Congress.
The scientific work was under the direction of Jos Uitdehaag, judicial officer (Netherlands), 1st Secretary of the UIHJ, who perfectly fulfilled his delicate mission. He had the task to demonstrate how the judicial officer, through his activities, status and the trust vested in him, was an essential part of economic development both internally and internationally.
The perfect material organisation of the Congress should be acknowledged, resulting from a titanic work between the UIHJ, in particular its administrative secretary, Luisa Lozano, and the General Council of Procuradores Spain.
During three days of great density and diversity over fifty speakers, judicial officers, representatives of major international organisations and institutions, lawyers, professors, experts and specialists took the floor to present the work and discuss the many issues related to the conference topic.
The official opening ceremony was led by Luis Ortega Alcubierre, Procurador (Spain), Secretary of the board of the UIHJ. Juan Carlos Estevez Fernandez Novoa, President of the General Council of Procuradores of Spain, welcomed all participants indicating how happy and proud he was that Spain holds for the first time the international congress of judicial officers. He warmly thanked Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ, and his predecessor, Jacques Isnard, for the work that has helped forge ties and trust between the UIHJ and the General Council of Procuradores. President Estevez wished all participants a pleasant stay in Madrid and in Spain and successful work.
Then Rafael Catala Polo, Minister of Justice of Spain, and Carlos Lesmes Serrano, Chairman of the Council of the Judiciary of Spain, in turn welcomed the participants. After greeting the actions of the UIHJ for the profession of judicial officer in the world, they emphasised the importance of enforcement of court decisions and the role of the Procurator in this activity. Carlos Lesmes Serrano gave an overview of ongoing reforms that will impact the Procuradores, granting them new powers and new skills, particularly in enforcement.
Leo Netten then delivered the speech reproduced hereafter.
Opening speech by Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ
Minister of Justice,
Mr President of the General Council of Judicial Power,
Mr President of the General Council of Procuradores,
Mr Chairman of the Council of Procuradores of Madrid,
Madam 1st Secretary of the Hague Conference on Private International Law,
Madam Representative of the World Bank,
Mr Representative of the IMF,
Mr President of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice of the Council of Europe,
Mr and Madam Representatives of the European Commission,
Mr Head of Legal Services and Communication of the Secretariat of Ohada,
Mr Director General of Ersuma,
Madam Representative of Ali / Unidroit
Mr Representative of the European Law Institute,
Distinguished professors and members of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ,
Distinguished heads of delegations of the member countries of the UIHJ,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Twenty-three years ago the Procuradores crossed the path of the judicial officers for the first time. It was in Vienna during the Permanent Council of the UIHJ in May 1992. The Chairman of the General Council of Procuradores, Granados Weil, had made the trip to meet the President of the UIHJ, Baudouin Gielen. He was probably intrigued by this organisation created in 1952 and which then consisted in twenty countries, mostly European. But then everyone followed their own paths separately.
It took almost ten years since that event for the real contacts to be tied with Procuradores. It took the vision of two men, Juan Carlos Estevez Fernandez Novoa, president of the General Council of Procuradores and Jacques Isnard, my predecessor at the head of the UIHJ for the bonds created to become unbreakable.
Yet nothing destined our two professions to join. Finally, what connection is there between a Procurador and an enforcement agent? Seemingly none. In appearance only. According to Latin the Procurator is the one who is appointed by another to accomplish a specific task. Before the judge, he carries out the procedures that will allow a party to assert his rights. In Spain, this also includes the service of legal documents and the enforcement of court decisions. The link between Procuradores and judicial officers therefore appears.
The Procuradores have long understood that these two activities - service of documents and enforcement - are intrinsically linked with their core business. For over twelve years now, the UIHJ accompanies the Procuradores in this long way towards recognising the integration of these tasks within their status. And progress towards this recognition are now well on track.
This is precisely one of the tasks assigned to the UIHJ to help countries acknowledge that enforcement of court decisions and service of documents should be entrusted to a single professional that meets specific criteria. These criteria are those of the UIHJ. They are now those of the Council of Europe: an independent professional with a high level of training and fully accountable.
How could I express to you my satisfaction to see that 23 years later the 22nd International Congress of judicial officers is organised here in Madrid? As you can imagine, it is total on that point.
Madrid, European Capital of Culture in 1992. Madrid, city of arts and traditions. Madrid, full of striking buildings and museums among the most visited in the world. Madrid, seat of two of the biggest football clubs in the world, at the peak of their glory when they both played last year in the final of the Champions League. We understand why Madrid is one of the most attractive European cities for its nearly five million visitors a year.
But you will have the opportunity during your stay, if you have not done so yet, to discover the wonders of Madrid.
For now, I welcome and congratulate the General Council of Procuradores, its president, Juan Carlos Estevez Fernandez Novoa, its board, and our colleague Luis Ignacio Ortega Alcubierre, commissioner general of the congress. You have worked tirelessly for many months to get everything perfect. You can be thanked on behalf of the hundreds of judicial officers from four continents, of the representatives of the major international institutions and organisations, as well as of the professors and of the members of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ.
Thank you for your massive attendance. Your presence is the best proof for your support to the actions we strive to lead every day to promote our great profession and for the family of judicial officers to continue its development and sustainability.
I wish you all a warm welcome to Madrid for our 22nd international congress of judicial officers on the theme: "The judicial officer: link between law and economy, a new approach to enforcement".
Six years ago, when you assigned me the mission to preside over the destiny of our organisation, I focused one of the axes of our policy on the further development of relations with international institutions and organisations.
The theme of our conference is the culmination of our many discussions during this period. The fates of the legal professionals we are and international organisations and institutions are intrinsically linked. Economic development and law are not mutually exclusive. Quite the contrary. Economic development cannot be sustainable without justice. Justice is one of the best sources of economic development.
Economic exchanges globalise every day. The successive economic crises have directly impacted most states. Disrupted economic balances are being redefined. New models appear, especially in emerging countries.
Agencies specialised in economic development have understood that a country will only grow if it can guarantee a definite level of legal certainty for economic operators, enterprises and citizens. Financial aid is subject to the implementation of structural legal reforms to meet their specific requirements developed from models, and model laws. The major organisations and institutions have also understood that to be effective, these models and model laws shall be designed in collaboration with professional organisations such as the UIHJ.
The enforcement of court decisions ensures the completion of the work of justice. Economics, law and enforcement of judgments are three fundamental aspects with the judicial officer as common denominator.
How important is the judicial officer in the world today? What place will he occupy tomorrow?
Surveys carried out on our members with the Grand Questionnaire of the UIHJ or by the CEPEJ teach us that the enforcement of court decisions is almost always implemented by enforcement professional to whom the State has delegated a parcel of Public authority. The status of these professionals is mostly liberal (almost 70%). It is also civil servant (about 20%), or mixed (about 10%).
The execution of court decisions is an integral part of the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The judicial officer is an essential element of the rule of law, as recognised in 2004 by the European Court of Human Rights.
Yet twenty years ago, as strange as it may sound today, the enforcement of court decisions was the concern of judicial officers only. It was generally regarded as a minor activity, unknown, obscure, requiring only minimal or no training.
It took time and all the energy deployed by judicial officers under the leadership of my predecessors for this archaic vision to change.
It also took the occurrence of economic crises to consider that the failure to enforce judicial decisions was not only an obstacle to economic development, but it also helped to plunge the world into an even greatest crisis.
So began a long process in which the major international organisations and institutions invested.
For its part, the UIHJ started acting upon the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet bloc to ensure to be present everywhere to offer a model of judicial officer that meets the requirements which since became standard criteria.
The Council of Europe organised many missions in its member states to strengthen democracy and the rule of law around the enforcement of court decision, with the involvement of the experts of the UIHJ.
In 2002 the Council of Europe created the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, the CEPEJ, whose work and expertise would greatly stimulate the sector of justice, by placing it under the spotlight, including through its biannual report on European judicial systems.
Having adopted a recommendation on the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters on 9 September 2003, prepared with the support of the UIHJ, the Council of Europe instructed the CEPEJ to draft some Guidelines for a better implementation of this recommendation. The UIHJ, member of the Working Group to develop these Guidelines, contributed to a historic result. Perfectly in line with our concept of who an enforcement agent should be and how judgments should be enforced, the CEPEJ and the Council of Europe carved in the marble of the Guidelines of 17 December 2009 the face of the European judicial officer and beyond, the model of the judicial officer at global level.
This was not enough for the CEPEJ. The enforcement of court decisions was included a few months ago in its Working Group on Quality of Justice. What recognition for our profession!
Fifteen years ago was the EU summit in Tampere. The European judicial area was launched within the European Union. With it, directly applicable regulations in member countries impacting enforcement measures are adopted:
- Service of documents;
- Recognition and enforcement of judgments;
- European enforcement order;
- European order for payment;
- Small claims;
- Maintenance obligations;
- European Account Preservation Order.
We were present at the inauguration of the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters in December 2002. The European Commission had recognised the need to involve legal professionals in the development of justice. The UIHJ fully participated in this process, alongside European organisations representing professions such as lawyer, notary, or clerk. Today, the judicial officers are integrated in the work of the European Judicial Network. They can therefore directly affect the entire EU legislative process.
Also in Europe, the European Law Institute, of which the UIHJ is a founding member, undertook since its creation in 2011 substantive work to go even further in the harmonisation of law in Europe.
The African continent is not left behind. On the contrary. The Ohada managed an unprecedented harmonisation work in the world. Assuming that economic development is inseparable from an efficient and effective justice, 14 African countries decided in 1993 to give up part of their sovereignty to a supranational entity.
Today, thanks to Ohada, judicial officers from 17 African countries enforce court decisions in the same way. Disputes concerning the enforcement of court decisions are judged by the same jurisdiction, the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration, which enables a single reading of the law.
And of course I could also mention the African Union and the WAEMU. All are aware of the importance of justice in the strengthening of the rule of law and economic development.
The World Bank, UNCITRAL and the IMF are also at the heart of the process that combines law, justice and economic development. The Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development, created by the World Bank, is a concrete example.
The Hague Conference on Private International Law has worked for over 120 years to facilitate legal communication between countries around the world. Without the Service Convention of 15 November 1965 developed in association with the UIHJ, which is this year celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, the transmission of judicial documents from one country to another would remain an insoluble puzzle. Without this convention, the European Regulation on service of documents would probably not exist.
In 2004, the American Law Institute and UNIDROIT published the Principles of transnational civil procedure, the result of the work of many years, and a main influence in the world.
For its part, the UIHJ undertook in 2006 its most ambitious project: the writing of a Global Code of Enforcement. Far from being utopian, the project was based on the necessity and the need for universal standards regarding the enforcement of court decisions and those responsible for their enforcement. The Global Code of Enforcement is a reality. It will be officially presented during our congress.
Nowadays, everyone agrees to recognise that a court decision which cannot be enforced is useless. The three pillars of the judiciary are the lawyer who defends the parties, the judge who says the law and the judicial officer who guarantees the effectiveness of justice.
All these professionals must be ensured to work completely independently, without being subjected to any pressure.
The responsibility of the rule of law is to allow these professionals to work in accordance with these requirements. Any exception would directly question the very legitimacy of the state.
Court decisions are enforced in the name of the people, for the people and in the interest of those whose rights are enshrined in the court decision.
This universal principle is still too often ignored.
In the name of this principle, it is unacceptable that a judicial officer is subject to pressures on the sole ground that he is enforcing a court decision.
In the name of this principle, it is unacceptable that a judicial officer is imprisoned, dismissed, wounded, or killed simply because he is enforcing a court decision.
In the name of this principle, it is unacceptable that a national chamber of independent judicial officers is suddenly put under the supervision of the State.
Not a year goes by without having to deplore such injustices.
Fortunately, these attacks on the rule of law or the physical integrity of judicial officers are marginal. But we must remain vigilant.
The UIHJ represents the interests of all judicial officers and ensures the development of all who work, often behind the scenes, to ensure citizens and businesses that the public service of justice and the rule of law are reality and not a chimera.
To achieve this objective, the UIHJ has long considered that the enforcement must be considered broadly. It should cover many areas, including debt recovery, cross-border enforcement, mediation, post-judicial mediation, declaration of assets, fast track procedures, rescheduling of debts, bankruptcy proceedings, legal auctions, etc.
Information and communication technologies are the essential tools of our development, while never forgetting that the human is always in the centre.
To measure the long road that lies ahead, the question we should ask ourselves is: What are the countries that meet all the criteria of the CEPEJ Guidelines on enforcement?
Some are far apart. Some deviate. Most want to approach it. But at present no country in the world fulfils all the CEPEJ criteria.
We will continue together to take this long road, always stronger, always more united. At the time of its creation in 1952, the UIHJ consisted of seven countries. Today we are 85. Tomorrow we will be 100. Unity has always been the basis of our success. It will be the same tomorrow.
For now, with this congress, we will show you how, through the enforcement of court decisions, the judicial officer, is a link between law and economy, how he contributes to strengthen the rule of law and democracy.
For this is our fight. This is our ideal. This is our Union.
I wish you all a happy stay in Madrid and a great 22nd international congress of judicial officers.
Long live the judicial officers.
Long live the International Union of Judicial Officers.
Tribute to Bernard Menut
The opening ceremony ended with a tribute to Bernard Menut (France), who passed away on 3rd March 2015. A judicial officer in France, former President of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of France and former Vice-President of the National School of Procedure of France, Bernard Menut was the First Vice-President of the UIHJ. He was also the President of the congress.
President Netten spoke these words:
Ladies and gentlemen,
Bernard Menut, first Vice-President of the UIHJ, President of the 22nd International Congress of Judicial officers, passed away on 3rd March 2015, exactly three months ago today.
Nobody could expect his sudden and we are all in shock.
How we would like to see him appear before us to participate in our work, as he did for fifteen years!
Alas, it is without him that we have to go on.
At the announcement of the terrible news of his departure, many came forward to express their emotions, sadness and sympathy. Within a few days we had received dozens of testimonies from all around the world.
This spontaneous momentum did not surprise us as he was appreciated as a man and for the exceptional quality of his work within our organisation for the profession of judicial officer worldwide.
A friend is gone, a tireless companion, an example to all. We remember what he has done and a tribute of his work at our sides was paid to him on our website.
At the time of the opening our 22nd International Congress of which he was, as I mentioned, the President, we will now pay him a new tribute, this time in image.
The tribute took the form of a very emotional slideshow
Law and Economy
The work of the conference began with the presentation of the report of activities of the outgoing board, from 2012 to 2015. The report was presented by Francoise Andrieux, General Secretary of the UIHJ, and Mathieu Chardon, 1st Secretary of the UIHJ.
Jos Uitdehaag then presented the work of the congress.
Economic developments have its influence on society, also on the legal system.
For example the economic disruptions caused worldwide economic losses, people became unemployed and States had to cut the State budgets. It is clear that the financial crises cause changes in the civil justice system: people want to be compensated for their losses, will initiate civil proceedings and, consequently, enforcement. At the same time the financial collapse leads to state budgets under stress. This stress, we can see in practice, caused major changes in the court mechanisms and in litigation. Civil procedure systems are reorganising, introducing different instruments e.g. for small and/or uncontested claims, there is an increasing attention for alternatives for civil procedure such as mediation and ADR.
Economic developments also have its influence on enforcement. Take for example the financial status of debtors. Economic developments will lead to a different approach and view on the profession of enforcement agent.
In this respect the theme of the Madrid congress will fit in the themes of the previous congresses:
• Stockholm (1997): "Judicial officer, a craft, a right, a space"
• 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"
• Marseille (2009): "The judicial officer in the State, in the law, in the world "
• Cape Town (2012): “The Judicial Officer of the 21st Century”
Economic developments will ask for a different view of the profession of enforcement agent. Rather than an enforcement official, in the future our profession will demand a broader view, a different approach towards debt collection, or, more general creditor and debtor satisfaction. Instruments like mediation and debt rescheduling will become part of our work. The financial crisis has shown ever more people are in financial problems, many people suffer from over-indebtedness, politicians, but also international organizations are interfering in enforcement (e.g. changing legislation on disclosure, discussion on the humanity of an eviction). Our profession will be changing.
Numerous international organisations are paying attention to the legal system in relation to economic developments. There is a necessity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the legal system: World Bank has established special working groups for personal bankruptcy, insolvency, debtor-creditor regimes and securities; The International Monetary Fund demands reform of the legal system as prerequisite to obtain a loan; Uncitral comes with model laws in the field of securities, is paying attention to the development of alternatives for court proceedings such as mediation and ADR, European court of Justice is interfering in the field of enforcement... Also politicians are interfering in enforcement. Catherine Ashton, former EU-commissioner for Justice noted after an ECJ judgment on enforcement: “This judgement matters for citizens. It is important to know that in these difficult times of financial crisis, EU law is there to ensure fairness.”
Enforcement is also connected with human rights. The Hornsby vs. Greece case in 1997 already considered that enforcement is part of the fair trial principle as mentioned in article 6 ECHR. It made enforcement a fundamental, a human, right. Human rights need to be protected. Human rights protection is expensive, however especially in times of financial crisis the need is growing. In that respect the remark that was made at a seminar organised in January 2013, by the ECtHR, is clear: “Failure to comply with human rights requirements will only in exceptional and limited circumstances be justified by a lack of resources. In reality compliance with human rights standards is not only even more necessary in times of economic crisis because of increased vulnerability, it also makes a contribution to recovery by establishing the conditions necessary for stability and the proper functioning of the rule of law, both essential for economic growth.”
The work took the form of three workshops and round tables and a panel of the Scientific Council on the Global Code of Enforcement.
Programme of the Congress
The programme was as follows.
Workshop 1 - Fair and Efficient Justice: an Equitable Global Economic Development, a Right for Every Justiciable
Rapporteur: David Walker, judicial officer (Scotland), Deputy Vice-President of the UIHJ
Chair: Françoise Andrieux, judicial officer (France), Secretary General of the UIHJ
Panel 1 - Fair and Efficient Justice and Enforcement
• Access to court proceedings and enforcement - Georg Stawa, President of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)
• Consumer protection versus enforcement - Göstra Petri, Deputy Head of Unit JUST. E2, Consumer and marketing Law of DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission
• African case law on “Unfair Enforcement” - Jacqueline Lohoues-Oble, Professor at the University of Cocody (Ivory Coast), Member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ
• European Court of Human Rights and Court of Justice of the European Union case law regarding “unfair” enforcement - Guillaume Payan, lecturer at the University of Toulon (France), UIHJ consultant
• Debt rescheduling for natural persons - Elin Vilippus, judicial officer (Estonia)
• Post-judicial mediation - Françoise Andrieux, judicial officer (France), Secretary General of the UIHJ
• Mediation - André Bizier, President of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Quebec (Canada)
• Changing role of the enforcement agent in society - Eva Liedström Adler, Head of the Enforcement Service of Sweden
Panel 2 - Recent Economic Development and its Impact on the Organisation and Functioning of Enforcement
• Economic developments and consequences for enforcement (changing systems, changing fees, changing competences) - Ton Jongbloed, Professor at the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands), member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ
• Recent developments in Greece - Dimitrios Tsikrikas, Professor at the University of Athens (Greece)
• Legal reforms in enforcement in Bulgaria - Todor Lukov, judicial officer (Bulgaria)
• Recent developments in Morocco - Abdelaziz Fouganni, 1st Vice-President of the National Order of the Judicial Officers of Morocco
• Developments in Portugal - Jose Carlos Resende, President of the National Chamber of Solicitadores of Portugal
• The impact of Ohada on economic developments in the Ohada region - Alexis Ndzuenkeu, Head of the Justice and Communication Department at the Permanent Secretariat of Ohada
• The impact of recent economic developments on the attitude towards enforcement - Robert Emerson, Huber Hurst Professor of Business Law, Warrington College of Business Administration, University of Florida (USA), member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ
• The impact of recent economic developments on the attitude towards enforcement - Javier C. Sanchez Garcia, Procurador (Spain)
Round Table: The Role of the International Organisations in Economic Development and Fair Justice
Chair: Françoise Andrieux, judicial officer (France), Secretary General of the UIHJ
• Ersuma - Félix Onana Etoundi, Director General of the Regional Superior School of Magistrates of Ohada (Ersuma)
• The Hague Conference on Private International Law - Marta Pertegas, 1st Secretary of The Hague Conference on Private International Law
• Ohada - Alexis Ndzuenkeu, Head of the Justice and Communication Department at the Permanent Secretariat of Ohada
• UIHJ - Jos Uitdehaag, judicial officer (The Netherlands), 1st Secretary of the UIHJ
• World Bank - Sophie Wernert, Counsel, Global Forum on Law Justice and Development, Legal Vice-Presidency, The World Bank
Workshop 2 - The Role of the Global Enforcement Agent as an Answer on Economic Development
Rapporteur: André Sama Botcho, President of the National Chamber of the Judicial Officers of Togo
Chair: Honoré Aggrey, judicial officer (Ivory Coast), Vice-President of the UIHJ
Panel 1 - Domestic and Cross Border Legal Services
• Role of the enforcement agent in EU Regulations - Natalie Fricero, Professor at the University of Nice (France), member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ
• Developments in Estonia - Elin Vilippus, judicial officer (Estonia)
• Spanish developments in the field of enforcement - Manuel Maria Alvarez-Buylla Ballesteros, Procurador (Spain)
• Developments in Thailand and South-East Asia - Ruenvadee Suwarnmongkol, General Director of the Legal Execution Department of the Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Thailand (LED)
• Role of the enforcement agent within the Ohada Uniform Acts - Jérôme Gérard Okemba Ngabondo, judicial officer (Congo)
• E-Justice and Enforcement - Ernst Steigenga, Ministry of Justice and Security (The Netherlands)
Panel 2 - From Enforcement Agent to Judicial Officer
• Some overviews from the Grand Questionnaire of the UIHJ - Patrick Gielen, judicial officer (Belgium)
• EU attention to training of enforcement agents - Regina Hernandez Escriva, DG Justice, Unit B2, European Commission
• The level of education and training of the Global enforcement agent - Aida Kemelmajer de Carlucci, Professor at the University of Mendoza (Argentina), member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ
• The social face: the enforcement agent as solution seeker for vulnerable debtors - Honoré Aggrey, judicial officer (Ivory Coast), Vice-President of the UIHJ
• Ethics and disciplinary proceedings - Artur Parfenchikov, Chief Judicial Officer of the Russian Federation, Head of the Federal Service of the Judicial Officers of the Russian Federation
Round Table - The enforcement Agent: Legal Interface with Economic Partners
Chair: Marc Schmitz, judicial officer (Belgium), Deputy Vice-President of the UIHJ
• The contribution of the enforcement agent towards efficient court proceedings - Pimonrat Vattanahathai, Law Professor (Thailand), member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ
• Debt collection - Juan Antonio Pérez Campanero, representative of the Banco de Santander (Spain)
• Service, authentication and securing of document - Alain Bobant, President of the Federation of Trusted Third Parties (FNTC)
• Communication with creditors and debtors; use of IT - André Bizier, President of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Quebec (Canada)
• Experiences with enforcement agents - Tomasz Banach, judicial officer (Poland)
• Public awareness - Mihran Poghosyan, Chief Compulsory Enforcement Officer of the Republic of Armenia
Workshop 3 - 21st Approach to Enforcement
Rapporteur: Olof Danhell, judicial officer (Sweden)
Chair: Mathieu Chardon, judicial officer (France), 1st Secretary of the UIHJ
Panel 1 - New Approaches - New Tools to Enforcement
• Summary proceedings - Papuna Papiashvili, judicial officer (Georgia), presented by Jos Uitdehaag
• E-Justice : acting as trusted third parties - Alain Bobant, President of the Federation of Trusted Third Parties (FNTC)
• Statement of Assets - Eliane Oberdeno Ontala Lewori, President of the National Chamber of the Judicial Officers of Gabon
• Representation in court - Wilbert van der Donk, judicial officer (The Netherlands)
• Bankruptcy Manager - Dovilė Satkauskienė, Director of the National Chamber of the Judicial Officers of Lithuania
• Cross-Border Enforcement Proceedings Tool (CEPT
) - Janek Pool, President of the National Chamber of the Judicial Officers of Estonia
Panel 2 - The Need of Harmonisation of Enforcement
• General overview - Aida Kemelmajer de Carlucci, Professor at the University of Mendoza (Argentina), member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ
• The Enforcement Convention - Marta Pertegas, 1st Secretary of The Hague Conference on Private International Law
• Opinion of the UIHJ on harmonisation - Mathieu Chardon, judicial officer (France), 1st Secretary of the UIHJ
• Practical experiences - Marc Schmitz, judicial officer (Belgium), Deputy Vice-President of the UIHJ
• Harmonisation in the Caribbean- Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice
• Toolkit on Enforcement - Jos Uitdehaag, judicial officer (The Netherlands), 1st Secretary of the UIHJ, expert and former member of the Board of Managers of the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC)
Round Table - Harmonising Legislation - The Need for Fair Principles for Enforcement: the Global Code of Enforcement
Chairs: Leo Netten (The Netherlands), President of the UIHJ, and Jacques Isnard (France), Honorary President of the UIHJ
• History towards the Global Code of Enforcement - Françoise Andrieux, judicial officer (France), Secretary General of the UIHJ
• The Global Code of Enforcement - Natalie Fricero, Professor at the University of Nice (France), member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ
• Ali/Unidroit - Frédérique Ferrand, professor at law at the University Jean Moulin Lyon III (France), Member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ
• CEPEJ - John Stacey, Former President of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, Technical Director of the International Institute for Justice Excellence (IIJE)
• European Commission - Michal Wiktorowicz, Legal assistant, Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, General Justice Policies and Judicial Systems, European Commission
• European Law institute - Sjef van Erp, Professor at the University of Maastricht (The Netherlands), member of the Executive Committee of the European Law Institute
• The Hague Conference on Private International Law - Marta Pertegas, 1st Secretary of The Hague Conference on Private International Law
• Ohada - Alexis Ndzuenkeu, Head of the Justice and Communication Department at the Permanent Secretariat of Ohada
• Scientific Council of the UIHJ - Natalie Fricero, Professor at the University of Nice (France), member of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ
• UIHJ - Françoise Andrieux, judicial officer (France), Secretary General of the UIHJ
• World Bank - Sophie Wernert, Counsel, Global Forum on Law Justice and Development, Legal Vice-Presidency, The World Bank
• Alain Ngongang Sime, President of the National chamber of the Judicial Officers of Cameroon
• Jérôme Gérard Okemba Ngabondo, judicial officer (Congo)
• Artur Parfenchikov, Chief Judicial Officer of the Russian Federation, Head of the Federal Service of the Judicial Officers of the Russian Federation
• David Walker, judicial officer (Scotland), Deputy Vice-President of the UIHJ
• Luis Ortega Alcubierre, Procurador (Spain), Secretary of the board of the UIHJ
• Ruenvadee Suwarnmongkol, Director General of the Legal Execution Department (LED) of the Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Thailand
Jos Uitdehaag then presented the summary report of the congress.
Jos Uitdehaag finally presented the traditional wishes of Congress which were immediately adopted unanimously. They are reproduced below.
Wishes of the Congress
Taking into consideration that:
- In view of the economic developments, the enforcement agent is an inevitable chain between law and economy.
- Society demands a review of the tasks of the enforcement agent. Its primary task is to balance the economic rights of the creditor and the protection of the fundamental rights of the debtor.
The 22nd International Congress of Judicial Officers recommends:
1. To strengthen the role of the enforcement agent with a view to fair justice among parties. Such a fair justice includes a balance between the rights of the creditor and the protection of human rights of the debtor;
2. To institutionalize post judicial mediation as an element of participatory enforcement, a concept enlightened by the international organizations;
3. With a view to efficient and effective enforcement, to introduce secured use of new technology in the activities of the enforcement agent;
4. To international organizations and our members, with a view on the principles of the Rule of Law, to use the World Code of Enforcement as a tool of good governance.
Several celebrations and ceremonies were to follow. Armenia, Belarus, the Caribbean Court of Justice, Spain and the Russian Federation became officially ratified as members of the UIHJ. Montenegro, meanwhile, became the 86th member country of the UIHJ.
Jacques Isnard, former President and Honorary President of the UIHJ, received the Grand Medal of the UIHJ in recognition of all of his work to the benefit of the profession of judicial officer in the world.
Jean-Baptiste Kamaté, President of the National Order of Judicial Officers of Senegal, announced the 4th Africa Europe Meetings of Judicial Officers in Dakar in Spring 2016 during which the 20th Anniversary of the Call of Dakar will be celebrated.
Board of the UIJHJ - 2015-2018
Then the Madrid International Congress of judicial officers met in a general assembly to elect the board of the UIHJ for 2015-2018 as follows:
President: Francoise Andrieux (France)
1st Vice-President: Marc Schmitz (Belgium)
Vice-Presidents: Luis Ignacio Ortega Alcubierre (Spain), André Sama Botcho (Togo)
Treasurer: Juraj Podkonicky (Czech Republic)
Secretary: Jos Uitdehaag (Netherlands)
Assistant Treasurer: David Walker (Scotland)
Assistant Secretary: Sue Collins (USA)
Members: André Bizier (Canada), Abdelaziz Fouganni (Morocco), George Grigoris (Greece)
The secretariat is provided by Mathieu Chardon (France), Secretary General, and Luisa Lozano, Administrative Secretary.
Françoise Andrieux is the first woman at the head the UIHJ. Elected unanimously, President Andrieux will lead for the next three years the actions of the UIHJ and the profession internationally. We wish her a successful mandate, a mandate in the continuity of action of her predecessors, as she promised. President Andrieux delivered the following speech.
Speech of Françoise Andrieux, President of the UIHJ
A Congress ends and a new three-year cycle begins. This gives the opportunity for an assessment as well as the implementation of projects and other works. So I will articulate my remarks around three somehow very traditional space and time axes where past, present and future actions of our organisation on all four continents are represented.
1. The Past
It is necessary initially to assess past actions. I voluntarily will be very brief in this part because the activities report which was presented to you at the beginning of this congress is the basis of this assessment: we only have to dig into it to acknowledge the depth of the actions of our organisation. President Netten had set two main goals: one internally was to professionalise the secretariat of the UIHJ, the other internationally was to integrate major international organisations. Not only did he reach his goal as shown in the work of this Congress but in addition, he continued the hard work of his predecessor, Jacques Isnard in expanding our family members bringing the total number of member countries to 86. Today to find out what is the place of the UIHJ in the world, I propose to analyse the present.
2. The Present
Our organisation is now recognised worldwide. Before examining more in details the areas of cooperation of the Union with the international institutions let's ask ourselves about the reasons for this cooperation.
The recognition of the Union is due both to its unity that forges its power by gathering 85 countries from four different continents and to the contribution of each country that can provide knowledge of our unique profession in the world.
Thus the UIHJ is a member of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (UN), as a non-governmental organisation. Within the UN is the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The Commission was mandated by the General Assembly to encourage the progressive harmonisation and unification of international trade law, including by coordinating the activities of the organisations in charge of this area and encouraging cooperation among them. We wish to develop our participation in meetings of interest to our profession whenever the opportunity arises, particularly in the working groups V (Insolvency) and VI (Security Interests).
The UIHJ is a partner of the World Bank through the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development. This collaboration has allowed us to present not only our profession but also the Global Code of Enforcement during the last Law, Justice and Development Week which is held every year in Washington D.C.
We should understand now that law and justice cannot be detached from the economic forces they organise and regulate and that it is at global and economic levels that are impulsed the changes relating to regional and national laws.
The UIHJ has collaborated for decades with the Hague Conference on Private International Law, particularly in the development of the conventions on Service and on Execution. We are part of working groups in which our expertise is required and we will work at strengthening this cooperation.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also uses our expertise and participates in many missions in various countries in which it operates. I would particularly like to recall the expert missions of the UIHJ with the Troika (European Central Bank, European Commission and IMF) in member countries of the European Union.
In Europe, the UIHJ has its place within the Council of Europe and its European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ), as well as within the European Union and the European Commission. By its importance, the UIHJ is considered as the organisation “par excellence” that represents the "agent in charge of the service of documents" and "the enforcement agent" that the judicial officer is. The global nature of our organisation confers with regional institutions a unique force by the contributions it alone can provide about our profession and its activities. Since 2004, the UIHJ, as an NGO, is an observer to the CEPEJ and attends its plenary meetings held twice a year. Now, the UIHJ is part of the Quality Working Group in which issues are addressed concerning the enforcement of court decisions. The importance of this collaboration regarding 47 European countries should be emphasised.
Our action is constant with the European Commission. It shows in particular by the position papers prepared by the UIHJ and sent to the Commission to express our views on various topics such as training or service of documents or, more broadly, on the European Judicial Officer, with many meetings that allow us to communicate our positions on EU legislation specifically on the difficulties relating to enforcement and thus collaborate together to improve European texts. We also work within the European Commission in working groups to develop the training of judicial professions within the European Union.
As regards precisely the improvement of European legislation, the UIHJ is a founding member of the European Law Institute (ELI), also an important field of influence where the UIHJ brings its expertise in working groups, where the need for inputs from practitioners have been recognised.
In Africa, the UIHJ has many contacts with the Organisation for the Harmonisation in Africa of Business Law (Ohada) and with the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (Waemu) which welcomes the draft uniform status of the judicial officer. This project is the result of a long collaboration between the various judicial officers of the Ohada area. This form of stability it induces is now of particular importance in the days when, in other continents, the status of the judicial officer is sometimes given a hard time. At this point we should value the importance of interaction between countries and continents and understand that without each other we are fragile and vulnerable. The harmonised status of the African judicial officer will perhaps one day serve as a base for the status of the European judicial officer. We have strengthened our cooperation with the Ohada through its training body that is the Higher Regional School of Magistracy (ERSUMA), signing a cooperation agreement that will be implemented in the coming months.
In America, we signed a cooperation agreement with the Centro de Estudios de Justicia de las Americas (JSCA), an inter-American system agency whose members are those of the Organisation of American States (20 countries in South America, the United States and the member countries of the Caribbean Court of Justice). CEJA works among others on the reform of the civil justice or alternative mechanisms to judicial proceedings and will open us the doors to the development of our activities in South America.
We also signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Mendoza (Argentina), which should allow us to promote our scientific work in South America.
In Asia, we organised last year the first Asia-Europe meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, an opportunity to make our first contacts with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
After focusing on the importance of the UIHJ globally, and before turning to the last part of this communication we should first examine the structure of the UIHJ.
Scientifically, the UIHJ includes the Jacques Isnard Institute, Institute of International Private Judicial Law and of Enforcement Law. This branch of the UIHJ was developed to promote legal research, the development of private international law, vocational training, study and publication of work, research and legal communications and finally the creation of a global library.
But the jewel of the Institute is the Scientific Council of the UIHJ, composed of 12 professors specialised in civil procedure and enforcement law, from 11 different countries and four different continents. Their contribution to the scientific work of the UIHJ is priceless and I take this opportunity to thank them all for the work done and also in advance for their future work.
At European level, a series of workshops were opened, baptised Stobra (along the axis: STOckholm -BRussels - Athens). They include seven topics.
• Stobra 1: Harmonise enforcement on immovable in Europe
• Stobra 2: Harmonise the cross-border service of documents in civil and commercial matters in the European Union
• Stobra 3: Promote and harmonise the transparency of assets in Europe
• Stobra 4: Harmonise the establishment of evidence in Europe by the statement of facts carried out by the judicial officer
• Stobra 5: Organise and harmonise the training of judicial officers in Europe
• Stobra 6: Promote and harmonise e-Justice and ICT for the profession of judicial officer in Europe
• Stobra 7: debt collection
The progress of these workshops do not follow the same rhythm as priorities are set according to the news. Of course I will return to these workshops as they are part of future developments.
Within the UIHJ, some entities enjoy broad autonomy. In Europe the UIHJ has been regionalised: UIHJ-EuroScandinavia, UIHJ-EuroDanube. These two "Euros" have broad organisational autonomy and contribute to the mutual knowledge of actions and exchanges of best practices in order to expose and resolve common problems. Special attention should be paid to UHJ-EuroMed, the oldest and an integral part of the UIHJ which drives it. This organisation aims to meet the economic interests related to information and the debt collection between countries of the Mediterranean. It is primarily intended for companies as its goals are to improve the services offered through once again mutual knowledge and exchanges of best practices. We now have in Africa UIHJ-Maghreb which operates on the same principles as the UIHJ-Euros.
In Africa still, the UIHJ has created CADAT, representing the African axis CAp Town-DAkar-Tunis, which, within the UIHJ, aims to achieve in Africa a harmonised status of the judicial officer, thanks again to the basic principle of exchanges of best practices in order to create in Africa a legal area allowing free movement of legal acts and judgments. Our colleague Alain Ngongang (President of the National Chamber of the Judicial Officers of Cameroon) will be in charge of developing CADAT within the board of the UIHJ.
This inventory should not only be preserved but should still and always grow, change and evolve. As you understand we will now approach the third part of our developments. After the assessment, after the analysis, it is now time to plan for the future.
3. Planning for the Future
The UIHJ should as always work towards the elevation of our profession, defend its interests, this in accordance with the objectives set out in its statutes. Today following known tracks is not enough. Global economic topicality leads us to an inevitable evolution. A treaty called TAFTA: the Transatlantic Business Agreement or Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (also known as the TTIP, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or Transatlantic Partnership Trade and Investment) is currently under negotiation between the EU and the United States. The agreement provides that the laws in force of both sides of the Atlantic should comply with free trade standards established by and for the major European and American companies.
We should remain cautious. In these negotiations, we could see the spectre of the eternal struggle between Common and Civil Law which can question not only our status but also our existence. But we should also see the positive aspects of the possible changes: they will be for us a source of challenges and reflections to carry out new activities and present a new face of the judicial officer. Therefore the UIHJ will strive to continue to be proactive. It is under the sign of the link between economics and law that we will carry on our work in implementing the principle of good governance. Promoting the judicial officer, pillar of the proper administration of justice within this concept will be one of our priorities.
Good governance is for the state a means to transfer certain functions on the head of trained professionals. Simplification and acceleration of judicial procedures, use of new technologies, better access to justice, harmonisation of procedures, information of the defendant, quality of justice in general are the ways of good governance in judicial matters that we choose. Recent events in various countries show us that we provide all the tools to shape our future. This is how the action will be carried out by the UIHJ in the coming years.
On the example of the Global Code of Execution which now belongs to you, we will develop all the instruments that will allow you to defend yourself or at least give you the necessary arguments to meet or better to anticipate difficulties you might encounter. To carry out this goal and fill our toolbox we need designers. The board you have elected will work for you in the creation of these tools.
Internally, the board will be reinforced by the secretariat consisting of the Secretary General (a position assumed by Mathieu Chardon) and the administrative secretariat led by the unique Luisa Lozano. But our success and development leads us to draw on a larger organisation. We will create a Legal Unit which will be led by our expert consultant of the UIHJ Guillaume Payan. He will bring together around him colleagues from different countries. This Unit will be in charge at the same time to develop and maintain existing tools but also to create new ones.
Amongst existing tools are the Global Code of Execution which we have already mentioned at length. Its first phase is complete. We now need to promote it country by country and then make sure that the proper arrangements are reached for adapting the Code's principles in different parts of the world. In a way, we could say that we presented the legislative part and that we will now work on the regulatory part. Stobras will continue their developments and will be presented to the European Commission upon completion.
The Great Questionnaire of the UIHJ is undoubtedly one of the other major achievements of recent years. It provides a unique database in the world on our profession. I take this opportunity to invite the few countries that have not yet answered the questionnaire to do so promptly. It is constantly evolving as we complete the questions as and when the need arises. Through this survey we established the first report on enforcement that was presented to the CEPEJ in Strasbourg last December. The report, built on the model of the CEPEJ report will be biennial. It compiles statistics and their analysis on enforcement in the different European countries and will be extended to other countries later.
Drafting position papers will continue and the next one will concern auctions. The Service on States set up by the Secretariat of the UIHJ will be developed. This provides information about cross-border enforcement and service of documents to all who request it. This service is not limited to these topics as we are sometimes driven to provide information simply on existing enforcement systems in general in any country. The database that we have allows us to meet, thus facilitating cross-border trade.
Finally the last tool concerns training. We will propose a new training programme for Europe. The heads of delegation will soon receive a mail to explain the new training formula. We will continue our training sessions in Africa with the collaboration established with Ersuma and as always in partnership with the National School of Procedure of Paris. I would like to express our African colleagues all our regrets that we currently have difficulties in organising our training sessions in some countries. The political events forced us to postpone our travels but you know what we do and that we will do everything possible to maintain the planned programmes. I count on your understanding and I thank you in particular.
As for tools to create, there are two natural major axes. I have already sketched them during my previous remarks. The first will be to reflect on the judicial officer and his status: what is the model we should promote today? The second will focus on his activities. The new economic demands, globalisation, require us to be proactive and to adapt. Only the UIHJ can lead this reflection for you through the diversity and richness of situations you offer. The methodology is simple. Just take the example of the emergence of the Global Code of Execution that appeared in the reflections of the International Congress of Athens, was profiled in Tunis and took shape in Washington. It is the same for the interdisciplinary nature of the judicial officer resulting from the Washington works. Today we will ask the Legal Unit, under the aegis of the Scientific Council, to reflect on the ideas expressed during the various following congresses:
- Marseille, with the great profession of enforcement, post-judicial mediation, and new activities linked to the new contract law (we are not far from the famous... Tafta);
- Cape Town, with the judicial officer of the 21st Century;
- And finally Madrid, with the influence of the economy on our business.
Finally, as you know, the expertise of the UIHJ is required everywhere. We participate in many projects that give us the opportunity to set up judicial systems and in particular to organise enforcement in many countries. As these projects multiply we decided to set a group of experts to be headed by our Estonian colleague Ellin Vilippus. It will train experts in the analysis of situations, the writing of reports, the establishment of judicial systems, and in training, to match what is requested from us.
This is how our board will develop our actions. Our Scientific Council will be asked to analyse the changes that alter enforcements proceedings and thereby our profession. The Legal Unit will draw from the recommendations of the Scientific Council the programmes of international conferences that will be organised by countries with the support of the UIHJ. The experts will be brought in the different projects they participate to implement the principles of the Global Code of Enforcement.
Globalisation has imposed, and serves economic activities that develop on a regional and even global level as well as legal regulations that come off gradually from the authority of the nation-state's territory. The legitimacy of the law is openly measured in terms of its economic performance. In other words - in line with the Tafta Treaty - domestic legal rules may inevitably change in view of their unsuitability to the development of transnational exchanges. More than ever an enforcement law (in the broad sense of all forms of enforcement: voluntary, forced, participative or negotiated), which secures economic exchanges worldwide and thus becomes a component of evolution economic data is needed. Economic freedom and justice should not be seen as opposite but complementary.
Our profession suffers setbacks of the economic crisis: more than ever, we should be united and likewise give the UIHJ the force that will allow it to continue to defend our profession through the universal values of justice, transparency, loyalty, fairness. Because it is unique, because it represents everything our profession may contain, because you give it full knowledge of the profession in the world, the UIHJ is the only vehicle able to represent you in the world and through this power to ensure the sustainability of our profession.
We know that the importance of our organisation should not be a burden that prevents it from moving, but rather a source of energy that gives it the strength to renew. The future will be found in our evolution. We should reflect together on the model of the judicial officer that we want to continue to promote. Economic changes discussed during these two days, societal changes should not leave us indifferent. We have seen that in some countries, the statutes of the judicial officer are subject to profound changes. We should be proactive if we don't want to decline: "Better to be the fathers of our future than the children of our past". So we will create and forge our tools for our future because we are aware that "If man does not shape his tools, tools will shape him."
Let me conclude by addressing myself to the Presidents and Heads of Delegations: expressing my recognition is not yet enough to highlight your cooperation, your support. With your continued backing, overcoming ideological rifts, resisting the attempts of division, beyond the sacrifices of all kinds, including financial, you allow us to carry out our action in the interest of the profession. Only together and united we can withstand the winds. Only together and united we will be able to produce the best our profession. Only together and united can we move forward with respect to our function and towards its recognition. You cannot know how much your loyalty comforts us and gives us the strength to go beyond by putting ourselves at your service. You are the souls of the success of the UIHJ and you will be its craftsmen if you use the tools provided to you.
The UIHJ lives only by you, through you and for you.
Our Union is our strength.
President of the UIHJ
Madrid - 5 June 2015
Thanking Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ from 2009 to 2015
With the departure of Leo Netten, a chapter in the history of the UIHJ has ended. A new chapter begins. President Netten's challenge was to take over from Jacques Isnard, who had, during fifteen years at the head of the UIHJ (five consecutive terms), led the profession of judicial officer to a level of excellence never achieved. During his two terms from 2009-2015, Leo Netten has demonstrated his ability to improve even more before the profession of judicial officer, in particular by developing and perpetuating relations with international organisations and institutions, the key of his policy. During his two terms, the family of the UIHJ has grown and strengthened, rising from 68 to 86 members, with prospects of new members. President Netten ended his mandate having won all his fights. He offers to her successor an incredible range of possibilities. Leo Netten will make history for having given the world the Global Code of Enforcement.
All participants have shown him their deep gratitude and appreciation for all the hard work he has done. Among the testimonies, one of them took the form of an especially composed song for him - simply titled "Leo the Lion
"! This song was played to him at the end of the congress. It was also performed live by the "UIHJ Orkestra" during the gala evening in a general euphoria. What better way to end a congress everyone agrees to recognise that it was the greatest of all...
... Perhaps until the next, to be held in 2018 in Bangkok! Thailand indeed proposed its candidacy - unanimously accepted - to organise the 23rd International Congress of Judicial Officers.
This will be the first international congress of judicial officers in Asia. A meeting not to be missed and to enter today on all agendas!