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At the Service of the Profession of Judicial Officer in the World since 1952
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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurInstitutionsSéparateurEuropean CommissionSéparateurAssises de la Justice: What Role for Justice in the European Union?
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Assises de la Justice: What Role for Justice in the European Union?

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The UIHJ participated in the Assises de la Justice on 21 and 22 November 2013 at the European Commission

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Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, EU Justice Commissioner, Robert Badinter, former Minister of Justice and former President of the Constitutional Court of France, Françoise Le Bail, Director General of Justice of the European Commission, Juozas Bernatonis, Minister of Justice of Lithuania, Joshua Rozenberg, journalist (United Kingdom)
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Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, EU Justice Commissioner, Robert Badinter, former Minister of Justice and former President of the Constitutional Court of France, Françoise Le Bail, Director General of Justice of the European Commission, Juozas Bernatonis, Minister of Justice of Lithuania, Joshua Rozenberg, journalist (United Kingdom)
 
 
The European Commission has organized this major European event in which more than 700 participants and professionals from many backgrounds attended: major international organizations, legal professionals (judges, lawyers, notaries, judicial officers, clerks), academics, journalists and media, users and associations. The UIHJ was represented by its first secretary, Mathieu Chardon. The purpose of the Assises was to examine the role of justice in the European Union.

In the opening session, Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, EU Justice Commissioner, said that the Amsterdam Treaty was an important point of integration of justice. But it is with the Lisbon Treaty that things could evolve. Justice policy has become more transparent, more democratic. "We have taken many steps since the Tampere summit but its goals are still as relevant," said Ms Reding. The principle is that of mutual recognition. This can only work if it based on trust. As such the abolition of exequatur is an important milestone with the recast of the Brussels I Regulation. It is important to exchange so that these European instruments do exist in the minds of citizens and businesses. For example in civil matters, the Vice-President of the European Commission estimated that the service of documents is important, as well as the enforcement of judgments. How to work for citizens and businesses to make the most of our European community? These were the objectives of the Assises de la justice.

Introductory remarks were made by Juozas Bernatonis, Minister of Justice of Lithuania, Robert Badinter, former Minister of Justice and former President of the Constitutional Court of France, and Joshua Rozenberg, journalist (United Kingdom).

Mr Bernatonis said that the history of European justice is filled with important events. Justice Policy will further develop. The Stockholm Programme, adopted in 2009, is nearing completion. You have to see the progress that was achieved to consider the future. The European Council held in June 2013 decided that the strategy of the European Union concerning the area of freedom, security and justice will be developed during 2014. He then presented the four panels of the Assises de la Justice.

Robert Badinter said that “What our generation has succeeded is unique in history: the creation of a community, a European Union, a democratically expressed will of citizens by treaties and agreements that everyone envy us so much, the European Union”. The former Minister of Justice of France recalled that the European Union is the largest economy in the world, where fundamental rights of human beings are better protected than in any other country in the world. For Mr Badinter, a greater unification of European justice is "necessary and inevitable".

Four panels took place during two days, chaired by Françoise Le Bail, Director General of Justice of the European Commission. The first panel focused on an effective justice system in the EU and the EU Justice Scoreboard, a project in which the UIHJ is directly involved with the European Commission, with regard to data on the profession of judicial officer, notably through the Grand questionnaire of the UIHJ. The three speakers were Paula Teixeira da Cruz, Minister of Justice of Portugal, Koen Lenaert, Vice-President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Maurits Barendrecht, Professor of Law at the University of Tilburg (The Netherlands), Director of the Institute of The Hague for the Internationalisation of Law, and Justice Paul Gilligan, President of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary.

The second panel was entitled: "Independence of Justice and the EU Justice Scoreboard". Four speakers took the floor: Vassilios Skouris, President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Pauliine Koskelo, President of the Supreme Court of Finland, Vice-President of the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union, Evangelos Tsouroulis President of the Council of Bars and Law Societies or Europe, and Reinhard Müller, journalist (Germany).

The third panel addressed the theme: "Towards a new Rule of Law mechanism". The speakers were Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence of Ireland, Rui Tavares, member of the European Parliamant, Vice-Chair of the Special Commission on organized crime, corruption and money laundering (CRCIM), Jean-Marc Sauvé, Vice-President of the Conseil d'Etat of France, President of the Association of the Councils of State and the Supreme Administrative Jurisdictions of the European Union and Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission, Council of Europe.

The theme of the fourth panel was: "Towards a more integrated European area of justice based on mutual trust". It was split into three subpanels, each relating to a specific branch of law. With regard to criminal law, speakers were Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the LIBE, Klaus Tolksdorf, President of the Bundesgerichtshof of Germany, Vice-President of the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union, Jean-Claude Marin, Attorney General at the Court of Cassation of France, and Maura McGowan QC, Barrister, Chairman of the Bar Council of England and Wales. Civil and commercial law was discussed by Klaus-Heine Lehne, Member of the European Parliament, Chairman of the JURI Committee, Lord Mance, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom), and Maciej Szpunar, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, lawyer. Regarding the section on administrative law, the three speakers were Luigi Berlinguer, Member of the European Parliament, Zdenek Kühn, judge at the Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic, and Sabino Cassese, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Italy.

Participants were able to widely respond to the different themes and make proposals. Mathieu Chardon recalled the scope of the Pini v. Romania case pronounced on 22 June 2004 by the European Court of Human Rights referring to  the judicial officers “who work to ensure the proper administration of justice and thus represent a vital component of the rule of law”. He then mentioned the CEPEJ Guidelines on enforcement of 17 December 2009 stating that they were a model in the context of reforms that could be introduced into national law concerning enforcement measures and the profession of enforcement agent. Finally, he mentioned that a harmonized document initiating proceedings at European level with regard to cross-border disputes would be likely to bring legal certainty and contribute to strengthening European citizens' confidence in the judicial institutions of the Member States.
 
After the discussions, Françoise Le Bail thanked all the participants and speakers for their contributions and the many ideas that had sprung during the debates. In her conclusions, Viviane Reding thanked in turn Ms Le Bail and all the participants. This work should help to provide a publication that will inspire the next European Commission and the new European Parliament. Mutual trust should grow through contacts with practitioners, she said. Reforms should be made with practitioners. With regard to cross-border trade, things work fine until a problem occurs. Then many questions arise: what law to apply, what jurisdiction is competent, etc. Citizens should feel safe everywhere. In 2020, finding the right judge and the right court should no longer be a problem. This should concern all aspects, including service of documents. A judicial officer in Warsaw should have the same look on an enforcement title as in any other place, said Ms Reding. In 2020 citizens and businesses should be able to enjoy all existing instruments. We should accelerate the pace, together with the States and the European Parliament, said Viviane Reding.
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