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International Union of Judicial Officers
Au service de la profession d'huissier de justice dans le monde depuis 1952
At the Service of the Profession of Judicial Officer in the World since 1952
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Meeting at the European Commission on the Service of Documents in the European Union

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On 26 March 2014 the UIHJ submitted to the European Commission its comments on the report of 4 December 2013 of the Commission on the application of Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 on the service of documents in the Union European

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On 4 December 2013, the Commission prepared a report to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee on the application of Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (COM (2013) 858 final). On 6 January 2014 the UIHJ wrote written comments which were addressed to the European Commission. An appointment was set for 26 March 2014 with Michael Shotter, Head of Unit, DG Justice, Directorate A1 Civil Justice Policy and Pál Szirányi to present this document and discuss the question of the service of documents in the European Union. The UIHJ was represented by its President Leo Netten, its General Secretary, Françoise Andrieux, and its First Secretary, Mathieu Chardon.

Michael Shotter thanked President Netten for the quality of the written comments and the high reactivity of the UIHJ, stating that it was the first to provide comments on the report. Pál Szirányi noted that the UIHJ was present at all meetings of the European Judicial Network (EJN) when it came to the section on the service of documents. He felt that the UIHJ analysed in depth and with great relevance the report of the Commission. He hoped that the UIHJ would attend the next meeting of the EJN.

After presenting the UIHJ, Leo Netten said that the institutions with which the UIHJ was in contact, such as the World Bank, UNCITRAL, the IMF, the Council of Europe, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the Ohada or the European Law Institute, wanted to involve the practitioners in the work of their commissions and that they were aware of the importance of legal professionals. He continued by stating that the UIHJ was interested in the service of documents insofar as it guaranteed access to courts, and thus a fair trial, in accordance with the provisions of Article 6 § 1 of the European Convention of human Rights.

Françoise Andrieux took the floor to mention that in 2009, on the occasion of an international conference held in Sibiu (Romania) for the 10th anniversary of the EU summit in Tampere, the UIHJ had conducted a comprehensive survey on the service of documents in Europe which had resulted in a report and a draft by the UIHJ of a European directive of a harmonized document initiating proceedings in Europe. It appears from the report that, all across Europe, judicial officers may serve documents. In cross-border disputes, a harmonized document initiating proceedings would solve all the problems related to the legal uncertainty caused by the postal notifications and facilitate the implementation of other European regulations (recognition and enforcement of judgments, European Enforcement Order, European Order for Payment, Small Claims, or Maintenance Obligations).

Mathieu Chardon argued that the approach of the UIHJ is not to question the legitimacy of each judicial system of the European Union in terms of service of documents. The idea is in fact to admit that in order to provide European citizens and businesses with a sufficient degree of legal certainty in cross-border disputes, a service of document system that meets certain acceptable standards throughout all countries should be considered. In this respect, the draft European directive of the UIHJ is a useful starting point.

At the end to the meeting, Michael Shotter thanked once again the delegation of the UIHJ for its work. He said solutions that suited everyone should be found. In this context, the proposals of the UIHJ were welcome and would provide input for discussions that would be organized to achieve the reform of Regulation 1393. Adopting the words of Vice-President of the European Commission Viviane Reding, Mr Shotter recognized the need to build bridges, as long as the strength of their foundations could be ensured.
 
 
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