H.E. Sam Tanson, Minister of Justice of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, honoured with her presence on 12 May 2023 the opening ceremony of the Spring Council of the UIHJ organised jointly with the Chamber of Judicial Officers of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in the prestigious premises of the European Convention Center Luxembourg.
Luxembourg was chosen to organise in 2023 the traditional Spring Council of the UIHJ. The Chamber of Judicial Officers of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, represented by its President, Carlos Calvo, spared no effort to offer the 31 delegations of the UIHJ from Europe, America, and Asia the very best welcome in the ideal and historical settings of the European Convention Center Luxembourg (ECCL), which regularly hosts the Councils of European Ministers.
The Spring Council of the UIHJ was preceded on 11 May by a workshop on recent international developments. The Hague Convention of 2 July 2019 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters was first discussed by Jos Uitdehaag, 1st Vice-President of the UIHJ. Patrick Gielen, Secretary of the Board of the UIHJ, then discussed recent developments in the EU legal framework. Then Natalie Fricero, Professor of Universities (France), and Guillaume Payan, Professor at the University of Toulon (France), both members of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ, presented the recent jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Finally, these two eminent professors unveiled the 2nd Edition of the Book on European Case Law on Enforcement and Service of Documents, which they wrote under the aegis of the UIHJ, and a copy of which was given to each participant.
On 12 May, during the opening ceremony of the Spring Council, Carlos Calvo welcomed all participants and wished them a pleasant stay in Luxembourg. He welcomed the presence of the Minister of Justice of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the secretary representing the Ambassador of Uzbekistan. He recalled that many chapters of European history were written in the room where the Spring Council was held, and that Luxembourg was one of the seven founding members of the UIHJ in 1952. Returning to the present time and projecting into the future, he evoked the profession of judicial officer of his country, resolutely turned towards new technologies while preserving the essential human contact with the litigants. He then addressed the Minister of Justice of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to praise the excellent relations they maintain.
Marc Schmitz in turn greeted all the participants and thanked for their presence Sam Tanson, the secretary representing the Ambassador of Uzbekistan, the two honorary Presidents of the UIHJ, Leo Netten and Françoise Andrieux, as well as President Calvo and his entire chamber. He recalled that the UIHJ, with its 103 members from 98 countries on five continents, is one of the largest organisations of legal professionals in the world. Then President Schmitz related the long history of the relations between the UIHJ and Luxembourg, stressing that it was a Luxembourg judicial officer who had been charged in 1953 with drafting the first statutes of the UIHJ and that a previous Spring Council had been organised in Luxembourg in 1988, during which the idea of a European directory of judicial officers had been launched. He also recalled that President Calvo played a very active role in the creation in 2016 of the European Union of Judicial Officers (UEHJ) of which he is the Secretary of its Executive Committee. He greeted the new heads of delegation of the member countries of the UIHJ since the Permanent Council of the UIHJ in November 2022. He also paid respect to the memory of the recently deceased heads of delegation, Georgis Mitsis (Greece) and Pierre Kremmer (Luxembourg), observing a minute of silence in their honour.
In terms of professional activities, Marc Schmitz regretted the constant decrease in those related to the enforcement of court decisions. He therefore insisted on the importance of the secondary activities provided for in the Guidelines of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice of the Council of Europe (CEPEJ) of 9 December 2009 on Enforcement, such as mediation, statements of facts, or extrajudicial collection of debts. He mentioned the developments of the UIHJ in favour of a harmonisation of the profession and enforcement procedures through the Global Code of Enforcement of 2015 and the Global Code of Digital Enforcement of 2021, both of which have become international standards. In this regard, he underlined the basic principles proposed in these codes to national legislators to allow the harmonisation of rules in a borderless environment. He announced the ongoing drafting of a Global Code of Standards for the Profession of Judicial Officer which will be presented during the 25th International Congress of Judicial Officers in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) from 7 to 10 May 2024.
Sam Tanson thanked Carlos Calvo and the UIHJ for their invitation to open the Spring Council of the UIHJ. She wished everyone to be able to take advantage of all the cultural possibilities offered by her country during their stay. She recalled that the judicial officer is an essential link in every judicial system and praised his legal, technical but also human skills, particularly in Luxembourg. She highlighted the new challenges for the profession, in particular the digital aspect, and declared herself convinced that the solutions would be found together, placing the human side in the foreground.
The Spring Council then discussed the 30 points on its agenda and covering the many projects and activities of the UIHJ and the UEHJ since the Permanent Council of November 2022: training, projects, Global Codes of the UIHJ, expertise, relations with institutions, communication, and organisation of the 25th International Congress in Rio de Janeiro in 2024.
Following the closing ceremony of the Spring Council, during which Marc Schmitz very warmly thanked Carlos Calvo and the Chamber of Judicial Officers of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for their total investment for several months which contributed to the success of the event, fruit of a perfect organisation, as well as the Innovation Team and the Secretariat of the UIHJ, the participants met in the evening for a memorable gala evening.