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At the Service of the Profession of Judicial Officer in the World since 1952
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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurInstitutionsSéparateurEuropean CommissionSéparateurUIHJ participates in the European Judicial Network (EJN) annual meeting
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UIHJ participates in the European Judicial Network (EJN) annual meeting

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The European Commission has invited representatives of legal professions to participate in a round table discussion on the relations between the EJN in civil and commercial matters and the legal professions, organized during its annual meeting that took place in Brussels on 13 December 2006

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A pre meeting reunion
To facilitate the participation of the members of the panel and the discussion, a pre meeting reunion was organized in Brussels on 2 December.
The basic objectives of the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters, created by Decision of the Council of 28 May 2001, are to improve and facilitate effective judicial cooperation between the Member States in civil and commercial matters both in areas to which existing instruments apply and in those where no instrument is currently applicable and to create an effective access to justice for persons engaging in cross-border litigation and facilitating citizens' access to justice through an Internet-based information system which provides citizens with easily accessible and understandable practical information.
To attain its objectives, the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters is supported by contact points designated by the Member States and their authorities with specific responsibilities for judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters. These contact points meet regularly throughout the year.
The Network held its inaugural meeting on 4 December 2002, and fourteen meetings of Contact Points have been held since the 11 February 2003.
The relations between the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters and the legal professions is a very important subject to the future of the EJN and one of the priority of the Network remains to disseminate information to citizens, judges and legal practitioners, in particular through its Internet site which is regularly updated. But, as far the judicial cooperation is concerned, the Network is not entitled to involve legal practitioners in its functioning, except when they have been designated as central authorities (art. 2(1) b) as bodies for instance for receiving documents by the Member States.
At this stage of the text of the Decision of 2001, the contact points are not directly at the disposal of the judicial professions.
The article 19 of the Decision states that an eventual review shall consider, among other relevant matters, the question of possible access to and involvement of the legal professions in the activities of the European Judicial Network.
In order to exchange of views on the improvement of the relations from the Network with each specific legal profession and on the possible increase of the use of the Network by the legal professions and the eventual change of the communication system in face of the information needs of the legal professions or how to widely spread information near the legal professions and the need to know how the legal professions saw their access and involvement, the European Commission has invited the legal professions to share their views with the “Network” during its 4th members' meeting which took place on 13 December 2005 in Brussels.

A Christmas present for the legal professions
On 13 December 2005, the panel that was facing around 130 Members of the EJN was composed of Mario Tenreiro, Head Unit at the European Commission , Joao Simoes de Almeida, administrator at the EC, secretary of the EJN, Karima Zouaoui, French contact point, Marina Liekova, Czech contact point, Carlos Marinho, Portuguese contact point, Mathieu Chardon (UIHJ), Clarisse Martin director of the European board of the Conference of the European Union Notaries, Dominique Voillemot, president of the French Bar Delegation), Eva Schrievel (Association of German Lawyers) and Eva Fruthof (England and Wales Bar Association).
In his introductory speech, Mario Tenreiro evoked a possible Christmas present for the legal professions other then magistrates with a possible collaboration with the EJN. “Behind the world of the EJN, there are citizens and legal profession” declared Mario Tenreiro. “What would be the advantages, risks, costs and inconvenient of such a collaboration?” he concluded before giving the floor to the members of the panel.
From the nearly two hours discussion that followed, it came to the conclusion that everyone was agreeing in associating legal profession with the works of the EJN, the question being to know how and on which basis.
From his part, Mathieu Chardon, member of the Committee of UIHJ, and who was representing for the occasion the profession of Judicial Officers at a European level, indicated that a Judicial Europe could not be envisaged without including legal professionals. “A lawful Europe cannot operate without the legal professionals” did he resume in unison with the representatives of the other legal professions. “In this framework, a coming together of Judicial Officers with the EJN would be beneficial. The EJN could also benefit from the expertise and the experience of UIHJ on an international level, notably in the field of training, of the organization of international conferences, with a network of 63 countries”.

Being more and more in the concrete
The reactions of the room were very positive as to the presentations made by the panel from the legal professions, the key word being interaction between the EJN and the professionals.
In his final speech, Mario Tenreiro mentioned that the idea of the participation of legal professionals in meeting, such as the EJN annual meeting, is recurrent. “Within the EJN, he said, we must be more and more in the concrete, to know how to solve problems, in the framework of a practical cooperation. It might be possible that the professions choose a representative for the EJN who would be the contact between the profession and the EJN”.
This would be a way of including legal profession inside the EJN without changing everything and without increasing the workload of the contact points, did he conclude this eventful morning session which probably forecasts an even closer collaboration between UIHJ and the European institutions.
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