The 22nd International Congress of judicial officers organised around the theme "The judicial officer: Link between Law and Economy" gathered 550 participants from 70 countries as well as representatives of major international organisations and institutions: 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 congress, the Global Code on Enforcement, on which the UIHJ has been working for almost ten years, was officially presented.
A detailed report of the conference will be published soon on our website, as well as videos of various presentations.
The international congress of judicial officers is also the time to renew the board of the UIHJ. Leo Netten, president of the UIHJ, indicated that he would not run for a third term as president. Françoise Andrieux, judicial officer (France), General Secretary of the UIHJ, was unanimously elected 10th President of the UIHJ. For the first time in the history of the UIHJ a woman takes over as president. Françoise Andrieux said her action would be in line with those of her predecessors Baudouin Gielen, Jacques Isnard and Leo Netten. Françoise Andrieux has been working as a judicial officer in France since 1993. Strongly involved in the UIHJ for a dozen years, she was its Secretary-General since 2009.
The composition of the new board of the UIHJ is as follows for the 2015-2018 term:
President: Francoise Andrieux (France)
1st Vice President: Marc Schmitz (Belgium)
Vice Presidents: Luis Ignacio Ortega Alcubierre (Spain), André Sama Botcho (Togo)
Treasurer: Juraj Podkonický (Czech Republic)
Secretary: Jos Uitdehaag (the Netherlands)
Assistant Treasurer: David Walker (Scotland)
Assistant Secretary: Sue Collins (USA)
Members: André Bizier (Canada), Abdelaziz Fouganni (Morocco), George Gregoris (Greece)
Mathieu Chardon (France) was appointed Secretary General of the UIHJ.
Elin Vilippus (Estonia) wa appointed Expert Manager of the UIHJ.
Alain Ngongang Sime (Camerron) was appointed Special adviser of the board of the UIHJ for Africa.
Guillaume Payan (france) was appointed Director of the Legal Unit of the UIHJ.
We wish a successful mandate to the new board of the UIJH!
The speech delivered by President Andrieux is reproduced below.
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 strengthing 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