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The French National Chamber of Commissioners of Justice organised the 1st Biennial of Commissioners of Justice on 28 June 2024 in Strasbourg, France, on the theme “On the Road to Digitalisation, What Economic Model Tomorrow for Commissioners of Justice?”. During the day, seven particularly innovative and very concrete projects proposed by French commissioners of justice to meet the expectations of litigants, were presented.

More than 300 participants gathered at the Music and Congress Palace of Strasbourg. The UIHJ was represented by its President, Marc Schmitz, its Vice-President, Jean-Pierre Herbette, also Treasurer of the National Chamber of Commissioners of justice of France, its Secretary-General Mathieu Chardon, and its and Honorary President Françoise Andrieux. The European Union of Judicial Officers was represented by its President, Marc Schmitz, and by its Treasurer, Robert Cicuto, also a member of the National Chamber of Commissioners of justice of France.

The Biennial was introduced by Benoît Santoire, President of the French National Chamber of Commissioners of justice. He explained that the Biennial was launched just a year ago and that he was eager to hear the results of a year of work carried out by many young commissioners of justice. He confirmed the desire of the young profession of commissioner of justice to be part of modernity and usefulness for society, and to “associate creative impulses to design together tomorrow’s profession” by promoting a symbiosis between the work of the seven working groups and those of the French National Chamber of Commissioners of Justice, in a world where artificial intelligence is called upon to play an ever more important role. He expressed his sincere thanks to all those who contributed to the advent of this historic day.

As a prolegomenon to the presentation of the seven projects, Allan Petre, a young French engineer, spoke about his journey which allowed him to fulfil at only 24 years old his childhood dream, joining the NASA, an exceptional and very inspiring ride for the whole new profession of commissioner of justice, and which demonstrates its firm intention to take its rightful place in the service of justice and litigants.

The first project, “The Competitive Advantage of Public and Ministerial Officers”, notably proposed the sale at public auction by commissioners of justice of real estate resulting from the seizures of commercial bankruptcy procedures, the creation of a patrimony platform concerning assets, being gold or intangible, including crypto-currencies, NFTs, etc., the creation of an commissioner of justice enforceable title, for example on leases drawn up by him, on unpaid rents and its enforcement or on the refusal of unpaid bank direct debit, the simplification and acceleration of the procedure for giving back abandoned rented premises to their owners, or the intervention of the commissioner of justice in the context of mediation concerning local authorities.

The second project, “Personalised Service of Documents”, questioned the complexity of legal vocabulary to propose very practical solutions to democratise access to justice and social inclusion. Among other things, litigants who receives a document served by a commissioner of justice will be able to grasp its full scope, without any waiver of legal requirements, thanks to a QR code integrated into the document opening onto a video drawing their attention to the content of the document, and their rights and obligations.

The third project, “A Different Debt Recovery” notably presented a Web platform which makes it possible to assist litigants from electronic invoicing to recovery, to include an insurance covering procedural costs in the event that the amicable recovery procedure is unsuccessful, or a Debt Marketplace which aims to enable creditors to sell their debt on this platform in an ethical and secure manner through the intermediary of commissioners of justice.

The fourth project, “Winning Together”, consists of a platform for access to all the services offered by commissioners of justice, managed by the French National Chamber of Commissioners of Justice, and therefore with a community vocation. This service allows the litigant to file a recovery or enforcement file, pay online, require a statement of facts or an online legal consultation, deposit funds, create a digital identity, find a commissioner of justice, and offers clear explanations on the tariff of commissioners of justice.

The fifth project, “Collaboration Between Offices”, offers concrete solutions in terms of replacing an absent commissioner and an on-call service for commissioners of justice, or even to combat harassment and cyber-harassment.

The sixth project, “The Commissioner of Justice, Relay of e-Commerce”, proposes to secure e-Commerce, including in the metaverse, by means of certification of profiles and online platforms, and assistance of commissioners of justice during online sales.

The seventh project, “Projection to 2060: The justice Commissioner of the Day After Tomorrow”, imagines the place of commissioners of justice on the horizon 2040, 2050 and 2050, and the role that they will still be able to play in a fully digitalised world, dominated by artificial intelligence, even in the metaverse.

At the end of the presentations, the participants as well as a jury awarded the prize of the 1st Biennial of Commissioners of Justice to the second project, “Personalised Service of Documents”, which, in agreement between Benoît Santoire and Marc Schmitz, will be presented during the next Permanent Council of the UIHJ, on 28 November 2024, in Paris.

By organising this first and hugely successful Biennial, the young French profession of commissioner of justice has demonstrated all its dynamism and its desire to be part of a pro-active approach focused on the services it can offer to all litigants and ensure its development and sustainability. An example to follow for all judicial officers.