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At the Service of the Profession of Judicial Officer in the World since 1952
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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurInstitutionsSéparateurEuropean CommissionSéparateur9th EJN meeting in Brussels on 20-21 January 2011
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9th EJN meeting in Brussels on 20-21 January 2011

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For the first time, the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matter held a meeting with its newly integrated legal professions

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9th EJN meeting in Brussels on 20-21 January 2011
Tangible benefit for citizens and businesses

The European Judicial Network (EJN) was created in 2001 and inaugurated in 2002. Since the first meeting, legal professions such as that of judicial officer were regularly associated to its work. Quickly discussions approached the issue of the possibility to integrate legal professions within the network. After several meetings attended by the UIHJ as well as representatives of other international and European organisations of other legal profession (notaries, lawyers, court clerks...), it appeared that the question was not if but how. The issued was solved in the decision n°568/2009/CE of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009. From 1 January 2011, date of entry into force of the decision, the “professional associations representing, at national level in the Member States, legal practitioners directly involved in the application of Community and international instruments concerning judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters” are also members of the EJN. It is therefore an EJN reinforced with some 58 new members (the EJN has now 494 members) which gathered on 20 and 21 January 2011 in Brussels. The UIHJ was represented by its first secretary, Mathieu Chardon.
The meeting was chaired by Salla Saastamoinen, head of unit A1, Judicial cooperation in civil matters, DG justice, Commission. Françoise Le Bail, Director General DG Justice, Commission, greeted the participants by welcoming the new members. Mrs. Le Bail mentioned the tangible benefits for citizens and businesses of this new contribution. She recalled the role of the EJN, stating that it would increase with the adoption of new instruments. Then the representative of the Commission gave an overview of the work in progress and to come. An axis is allowing the implementation of mechanisms to facilitate access to justice everywhere in Europe. “We must give economics stakeholders the necessary tools to profit from the opportunities of interior market”, she said. In this matter, administrative steps must be simplified. For this reason, exequatur should be suppressed. The cross-border debt recovery should also be made easy and the European provisional attachment on bank accounts will be voted this year, she announced. Businesses should also fully profit from an interior market of 500 million persons, as we must protect consumers as regards the goods they buy in another member state. The EJN gives an important practical contribution by facilitating legal cooperation between member states. It permits effective access to justice or, through the Justice Forum, the solving of problem occurring when applying Europeans regulations. It offers tools for law practitioners and citizens with the services it offers, its website or it Judicial Atlas, as many very useful tools to help them in the running of cross-border litigations. “The EJN accomplishes a remarkable work”, estimated Françoise Le Bail while congratulating its members. The EJN has to face important issues. The new framework will allow lawyers, solicitors, barristers, notaries and judicial officers at domestic level in the member states to become members of the EJN. “This collaboration will certainly contribute to enrich the work of the network and making cooperation more efficient throughout Europe. Your presence helps to reinforce the indispensable mutual trust for the creation of the area of the justice area and of a European legal culture” concluded Mrs. Le Bail.

A certain idea of Europe

Salla Saastamoinen stated that the purpose of the meeting in the afternoon of 20 January was to welcome the participation of new professions and actually see how participation would benefit the EJN. Christoph Sjonz, secretary of the EJN, gave factual information about the EJN which he also briefly presented. Regarding the website of the EJN, he confirmed that after discussions it was decided that it would integrate the European e-Justice portal. Then members of the legal professions (lawyers, notaries and judicial officers) took the floor to discuss how they envisaged the participation of their profession within the EJN and what mutual benefits were sought.
Evanna Fruithof, from the Bar Council of England and Wales, admitted having waited this integration for a long time. She stated that her profession would contribute to the work of the EJN, through the "unique expertise" of English lawyers. "The EJN helps to highlight the difficulties and shortcomings and propose possible solutions."
Michel Benichou, National Council of French bars, said that the integration of lawyers is for his organization a chance to make these tools and instruments more known to the lawyers of his community who then will use them for their clients. With the support of the Commission, joint training will take place to get a more complete control of these instruments. It will improve these instruments. "We will share our experience with other professions," he promised, by issuing greetings for a Europe "closer to the people" so that everyone may be able to solve his/her problems. "We want to spread a certain idea of Europe through the EJN" concluded Michel Benichou.
Markus Buschbaum, from the Chamber of Notaries of Germany, said that the common objective is that of cooperation. He presented the European Notarial Network (ENN), through a very efficient movie made by this organization and visible on the site of ENN (http://www.enn-rne.eu/) or on YouTube the following address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30A6pW1CXVg.
Then Geoffrey Stas de Richelle, representing the International Council of Belgian Notaries raised the exchange of experiences and information relating to the application of instruments and the development of brochures. He stated that notaries face cross-border problems increasingly frequently. In this regard, "the citizen is faced with different rights and needs access to reliable information."
Mikael Berglund, from the Swedish Enforcement Authority, introduced the Enforcement service that he represents and focused on the importance of enforcing judgments and the interest for the EJN to benefit from the expertise of these professionals.
Maria Rosa Blanch Domeque, the Spanish Contact Point, presented the Spanish occupation of Secretarios Judicial she represented. She mentioned the creation of a network of Secretarios Judicial specializing in international matter, the RESEJ.

Going further

Mathieu Chardon explained that by reviewing the history of the EJN, the integration of legal professions seemed inevitable. He therefore congratulated on behalf of the UIHJ the European Commission and the EJN for this significant step forward for the network, legal professions, justice and citizens. However, he indicated that we should go further and that we should now give the opportunities for international organizations representing the professions to also be incorporated into the EJN, one way or another, to allow optimization of the cooperation between legal professions and the EJN. As an example, the first secretary of the UIHJ referred to the work of the Working Group of the CEPEJ (CEPEJ-GT-EXE) which, in 2009, with the cooperation of the UIHJ, presented the Guide Lines on execution, unanimously adopted on 17 December 2009 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Through this collaboration, said Mathieu Chardon, a remarkable instrument was created which is globally approved by all enforcement professionals, so that it now constitutes the basis of European standards, even global on the profession of judicial officers and on enforcement measures.
Mrs. Saastamoinen thanked the 1st secretary of the UIHJ and stated that this issue would be discussed within the EJN. Speaking in turn, our colleague Patrick Safar (France), contact point at the EJN of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of France (CNHJ), said he fully supported the proposal of the UIHJ. Then he outlined the great European project European Judicial Enforcement (EJE) led by the CNHJ, under the auspices of UIHJ, which brings together organizations of judicial officers from nine member countries of the European Union and the UIHJ.
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