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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurAsiaSéparateurVietnamSéparateur1st Asia Europe Meetings of Judicial Officers : "The Call of Bangkok"
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1st Asia Europe Meetings of Judicial Officers: "The Call of Bangkok"

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On 20 and 21 March 2014, the UIHJ met in Bangkok with nine Asean countries during an international seminar on exchanging best practices on legal execution jointly organised with the Ministry of Justice of Thailand and its Legal Execution Department

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Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ, Pasit Asawawattanaporn, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Justice of Thailand
 
A New Chapter in the History of the UIHJ
 
This is certainly a new chapter in the history of UIHJ and the profession of judicial officers. Thanks to the contacts maintained by the Ministry of Justice of Thailand, the Legal Execution Department (LED) and its General Director, Wisit Wisitsora-At, with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean ), the UIHJ realised a major goal by organising in Bangkok a major international seminar on the enforcement of court decisions on the basis that nine of the ten invited Asean member States were present: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
 
The Hague Conference on Private International Law, represented by its Secretary General, Christophe Bernasconi, also attended the seminar at the invitation of the UIHJ as well as eleven European and African member countries of the UIHJ: Algeria, Armenia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Scotland and Uganda.

The theme of the programme, held in Bangkok in front of a hundred delegates, was the exchange of best practices on legal execution between UIHJ and Asean Member States. During the opening ceremony, Pasit Asawawattanaporn, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Justice of Thailand, welcomed on behalf of the Government and the Minister of Justice the delegations from Asia, Europe and Africa. He explained that it was a great honour for LED and the Ministry of Justice to organise with the UIHJ such an event, with three specific objectives:
- Exchange of information on laws and regulations, experiences and best practices regarding enforcement of court judgments in civil matters;
- promote a wider profession network of judicial officers;
- And develop cordial relationships and explore possible cooperation among relevant agencies from UIHJ and Asean Member States.
Mr Asawawattanaporn noted that in todays' fast-growing global economy, it is essential that each country has effective laws and enforcement procedures: "While enforcement of court judgment or order is a domestic legal process, it is undeniable that by exploring and exchanging best practices on laws and regulations of other countries, it will increase capacity to improve its respective domestic legal process. We all are gathering here today and tomorrow to learn from one another”, before declaring open the First Asia Europe Meetings of Judicial Officers.
 
The Call of Bangkok

In his short speech, Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ, first thanked the Ministry of Justice of Thailand, the LED and its General Director, Professor Wisit Wisitsora-At, for organising the seminar and provide logistical and financial support. He welcomed the presence of The Hague Conference on Private International Law and its Secretary General, Christophe Bernasconi. The president of the UIHJ stated that it was the first time for an event of this magnitude to be held in Asia and that so many countries were meeting to discuss the judicial officer profession and civil enforcement proceedings. He continued: "We can only rejoice  for the  links that will be made possible. Exchanges will become reality. They will develop. They will thrive. Beyond the human adventure that begins, each country will benefit from the vision and experience of others. This will lead to a lot safer, faster and more efficient judicial system."

The president of the UIHJ stressed that in order to promote the development of judicial and procedural law, the recognition of an independent enforcement law and the establishment of a enforcement professional with a harmonized status based on the model of an independent judicial officer, the UIHJ had constituted a Scientific Council composed of university professors from around the world, including Pimonrat Vattanahathai from Thailand, whose presence he welcomed. In addition, he noted that the UIHJ has been working for three years to develop a Global Code of Enforcement which initial draft was presented in 2012 at the International Congress of judicial officers in Cape Town (South Africa) and thereafter at the end of 2013 in Lomé (Togo) during the 3rd Africa-Europe Meetings of judicial officers.

Regarding Asia, Leo Netten recalled that the UIHJ has regularly visited various Asian countries over the past twenty years (China, Dubai, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Thailand, and Vietnam) but until present, only Thailand, Kazakhstan and Dubai had become members. "Our goal in Asia is to help build bridges between its so diverse countries. In each State of the largest continent in the world, judgments should be enforced and professionals should enforce them. As you know, a good enforcement of judgments ensures democracy, legal certainty and economic development" stated President Netten. He felt a new chapter in the history of the UIHJ had begun. And he concluded: "Today, here in Bangkok, I call all judicial officers of the Asian continent to convene, to learn from each other, to exchange, to train, to grow, and to develop together for the benefit of justice, citizens and businesses".
 
Six Sessions

The programme took the form of six dynamic and practical sessions. A series of six questionnaires were sent in advance to each country. Issues and themes were raised in consideration of Recommendation Rec (2003) 17 of 9 September 2003 of the Council of Europe and Guidelines of 17 December 2009 of the Council of Europe on enforcement of court decisions.

The first session related to the fundamental principles of enforcement. It was chaired by Mathieu Chardon, 1st Secretary of the UIHJ. As an introduction, the chair explained the importance of Recommendation 17 and the Guidelines of the Council of Europe on enforcement, a model for Europe, but also for other continents. Mathieu Chardon explained that when a country seeks to improve its system of enforcement of court decisions and to develop the profession of enforcement agent, these two documents ensured full compliance with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, in fact, a guarantee of security in Europe but also everywhere else in the world. The panellists of the first session were the Sultanate of Brunei, France, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Scotland, and Thailand. A series of questions were asked of each country in turn. The game of questions and answers immediately set a rhythm and momentum that was particularly appreciated by all participants. They could immediately become familiar with the systems in place, and identify and assess the points of convergence and divergence.

The second session explored different ways of serving documents to individuals. It was chaired by Françoise Andrieux, Secretary General of the UIHJ. Panellists from Cambodia, France, Laos, the Netherlands, Thailand and Vietnam explained who, in their respective countries, ensured the service of legal documents, including those initiating proceedings.

The third session, chaired by Bernard Menut, 1st Vice-President of the UIHJ, focused on the status of enforcement agents. Answers were given to questions related to the level of initial and ongoing training of enforcement agents, discipline and ethics or professional organisation. Panellists included representatives from Armenia, Belgium, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Thailand and Vietnam.

The fourth session's theme related to the activities of judicial officers. It was chaired by Jos Uitdehaag, 1st Secretary of the UIHJ. Brunei, France, Laos, Malaysia, Scotland and Thailand responded to questions on activities that can be carried out by judicial officers other than those relating to enforcement of court decisions and referred to in point 34 of the Guidelines on enforcement of the Council of Europe: debt collection, statements of facts, bankruptcies, mediation, representation of parties at courts...

The fifth session, chaired by Marc Schmitz, member of the board of the UIHJ, dealt with enforcement measures carried out by judicial officers: seizures of movable and immovable property, seizures of salaries, attachments of bank accounts, evictions, auctions, etc. Responses were provided by Cambodia, France, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Finally, the sixth session was chaired by David Walker, member of the board of the UIHJ. It concerned provisional measures. The representatives of Belgium, Cambodia, France, Malaysia and Thailand  explained which provisional measures were made available to creditors, under what conditions they could be carried out and on what goods.

A Global Code of Enforcement for All Countries of the World


Then Françoise Andrieux presented the ongoing work on the Global Code of Enforcement. She explained why the UIHJ had initiated such work and how the Asean countries could be impacted. The UIHJ obtains information through seminars and questionnaires which are sent to its member countries. The Secretary General of the UIHJ explained the composition of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ and its missions. Why a code of enforcement? The resulting document, she explained, will be called “code” but actually will contain guidelines, accompanied by legislative and jurisprudential texts of the country. This Code was initiated in 2006 at the International Congress of judicial officers in Washington. "We live in a globalized world. Enforceable titles circulate around the world and it is important to find enforcement rules at global level” she observed. The economic crisis influences enforcement and vice versa. Businesses need guarantees. It is important that basic rules are the same regardless of the country in which enforcement is sought. Françoise Andrieux explained how the UIHJ had the authority to publish this code. Enforcement agents are everywhere. The UIHJ includes 73 member countries, on four continents. The Scientific Council of the UIHJ has a central role in the development of this code. The work has already been presented to several international organizations and has received excellent welcome. Then Françoise Andrieux presented the contours of the code and its various components.

Future Cooperation between Asean Countries and the UIHJ


Concluding remarks were made by Leo Netten. He thanked again the Thai authorities and the LED for the perfect organization of the 1st Asia Europe Meetings of Judicial Officers. In particular, he thanked Kraisorn Singharajwarapan, Director of LED, for being the designer of the seminar. He was especially pleased with the format that had been chosen for the seminar which focused on direct exchanges on specific points for obtaining valuable information on best practices in Asean and European countries on enforcement. In this regard, the President of the UIHJ referred to Article 6 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to a fair trial and its jurisprudential corollary, the right to enforcement, recognized by the European Court of Human Rights in 1997 in the Hornsby against Greece case. He concluded his remarks by emphasising once again the historic character of the meeting.

The seminar was officially closed by Pasit Asawawattanaporn who thanked the UIHJ, The Hague Conference on Private International Law and all countries for coming to Thailand. He said that his country was particularly favourable to international exchanges such as the ones that had just occured. He acknowledged that "We share common objectives in enforcement of court decisions. We must protect the interests of individuals". Then Mr Asawawattanaporn wished a pleasant stay in Thailand for those concerned and a safe journey for those returning home.

The delegation of UIHJ and the present Asean Members States were then invited to visit the premises of the LED of Thailand, located in Bangkok. In the main state of the art amphitheatre where public auction are carried out, the system of enforcement of court decisions was presented to them. Christophe Bernasconi referred to the Hague Convention on Private International Law as well as the Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the service of documents abroad in civil and commercial matters. Finally, Leo Netten and Bernard Menut presented to Asean countries the objectives of the UIHJ and how to join. A discussion was initiated about the possibilities of future cooperation between Asean Member States and the UIHJ. Countries expressed their keen interest in the seminar that took place. Several participants did not hesitate to declare that the sessions had opened their eyes to a new realm of possibilities for the enforcement of court decisions and international cooperation.

The questionnaires that were sent out will be completed, compiled and made available to each country. The interest generated by "The Call of Bangkok" will nurture contacts with all Asean countries. The board of the UIHJ will promptly investigate the means to deploy new actions in South East Asia. Due to its geographical position and development, the LED of the Ministry of Justice of Thailand is expected to play a key role in the growth and development of the relationships that have been established.

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Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ, Pasit Asawawattanaporn, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Justice of Thailand
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Pasit Asawawattanaporn, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Justice of Thailand
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Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ
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A part of the participants
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Kraisorn Singharajwarapan, Director of LED
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A part of the Thai delegation
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The delegations from Algeria, Cambodia, Estonia and Poland
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The delegations from Brunei and Bugaria
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Christophe Bernasconi, Secretary General of The Hague Conference on Private International Law
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Bernard Menut, 1st Vice-President of the UIHJ
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Armen Harutyunyan, member of the delegation from Armenia)
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Françoise Andrieux, Secretary General of the UIHJ
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Fathar Anuar, Head of delegation from Brunei Darussalam
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Nil Philippe, Head of delegation from Cambodia
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Mathieu Chardon, 1st Secretary of the UIHJ
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Patrick Safar, Head of delegation from France
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Abdullah Suwidya, Head of delegation from Indonesia
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Bountha Songyerthao, Head of delegation from Laos
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Jos Uitdehaag, 1st Secretary of the UIHJ
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Azimah Binti Omar, Head of delegation from Malaysia
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Mohd Aizuddin bin Zolkeply (Malaysia)
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Marc Schmitz (Belgium), member of the board of the UIHJ
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Ricardo V. Paras III, Head of delegation from the Philippines
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Vu Van Anh, member of delegation from Vietnam
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David Walker, member of the board of the UIHJ
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The head office of LED in Bangkok
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