Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UIHJ organized for the first time on 26 November 2020 a dematerialized permanent council, in the presence of 48 delegations.
In his opening speech, Marc Schmitz, president of the UIHJ, announced with great sadness the death of Jacques Isnard on 23 November 2020, honorary president of the UIHJ, president of the UIHJ from 1994 to 2009, due to the Covid-19. He reviewed the career and work of President Isnard and insisted on the fundamental role he played in allowing the UIHJ to take off and develop. He sent his condolences as well as that of all the judicial officers of the world to his family and to those close to him. He announced that a tribute will soon be paid to the patriarch of the UIHJ, unanimously admired and loved by all the judicial officers of the world.
The president of the UIHJ reported on the actions carried out by the UIHJ during 2020, despite the Covid-19 crisis which made any travel almost impossible. He observed that the UIHJ has adapted to the situation, like the international organizations and institutions with which it is in contact and, that ultimately, its activity was comparable to that of 2019. He reported on the two videoconferences organized by the UIHJ, one on how the judicial officer could contribute to the economic crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic (April 2020), the other on the findings (October 2020). He also highlighted the positive aspects of the consequences of the crisis on the use of information and communication technologies, in particular online platforms.
The Association of Judicial Officers of the Dominican Republic (“Association Dominicana de Alguaciles”) represented by its president, Hipolito Giron, submitted its organization’s membership to the UIHJ, which was unanimously accepted. The Dominican Republic will become, once its candidacy has been approved by the next international congress of judicial officers in November 2021 in Dubai, the 99th member of the UIHJ.
The activity report was presented by the Innovation Team of the UIHJ and by Mathieu Chardon, 1st Vice-President of the UIHJ. This report demonstrates, as President Schmitz indicated, that the UIHJ carried out in 2020 an equivalent number of missions in 2019, due to the multitude of videoconferences which made it possible, despite the pandemic, to continue all the work and projects.
After the financial report, the draft reform of the statutes of the UIHJ was presented and discussed, to be put to the vote of the members of the UIHJ during the next international congress of the UIHJ in Dubai in November 2021.
The projects and work in progress and to come were presented by the various speakers, in particular Jos Uitdehaag, secretary of the board of the UIHJ, Mathieu Chardon, Jean-Didier Bidié, vice-president of the UIHJ, Françoise Andrieux, honorary president of the UIHJ, Sue Collins, deputy-secretary of the board of the UIHJ, José-Carlos Resende, vice-president of the European Union of judicial officers (UEHJ), Patrick Gielen, member of the Innovation team of the UIHJ and advisor to the president of the UIHJ, Elin Vilippus, member of the Expert team of the UIHJ, and by Iva Peni (National Chamber of Commissioners of Justice of France) regarding the presentation of the FAB III project European directory of judicial officers.
In particular, the draft Global Code of Enforcement of Digital Assets was presented by Françoise Andrieux. The final version of the project is to be integrated into the Global Code of Enforcement of the UIHJ (2015) and will be presented during the 24th International Congress of Judicial Officers in Dubai in November 2021. Françoise Andrieux and Marc Schmitz insisted on the importance to propose, as soon as possible, guidelines on the seizure of digital assets, in order to encourage countries and international organizations and institutions to adopt them or integrate them into legal texts both internally and internationally, in order to constitute a coherent corpus at global level.
The permanent council also addressed the topics relating to the computerization of the offices of African judicial officers, the training of African judicial officers, the directory of African judicial officers, the recast of (EU) Regulation No 1393/2007 on the service of cross-border documents in the European Union, the work of the various working groups of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ), in particular the draft Guidelines on the management of judicial time for enforcement agents whose drafting was entrusted to Mathieu Chardon, or the projects of the European Law Institute (ELI) on blockchains, digital assets, Cyberjustice and artificial intelligence, in which Jos Uitdehaag is strongly involved.
Regarding public relations, President Schmitz presented the new UEHJ website and the renovation of the UIHJ website, emphasizing the importance of social networks.
Several countries also intervened to present the situation in their countries. Argentina and Brazil have expressed their interest in the work of the UIHJ and their support. Dimosthenis Tsirigotis, president of the Federal Association of Judicial Officers of Greece, reported on two eagerly awaited changes for Greek judicial officers: from now on the judicial officers of this country can carry out statements of facts and serve documents electronically.
Finally, David Walker, secretary of the board of the UIHJ, rapporteur of the 24th International congress of judicial officers of Dubai, confirmed the dates of the congress: from 22 to 25 November 2021. He presented the state of progress of the work and invited judicial officers from around the world to convene.
At the end of the Permanent Council, Marc Schmitz thanked the participants for their attendance, the members of the board, the advisers, the Innovation team and the UIHJ secretariat. He wished everyone happy celebrations of the end of the year, hoping to be able to travel again quickly to physically meet all the members of the UIHJ. He announced that the Dubai Congress will be dedicated to the memory of our late President Jacques Isnard.