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Union européenne des huissiers de justice

 
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8th Nordic Seminar of Judicial Officers in Finland from 4 to 6 September 2013

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The UIHJ Attended the Seminar in Turku Organised by the National Administrative Office for Enforcement of Finland on the subject of insolvency

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Juhani Toukola, Director of the National Administrative Office for Enforcement of Finland

At the initiative of the UIHJ, seminars are held every two years since 1999 by four Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. After Norway (Bergen in 2011), it was the turn of Finland to welcome colleagues from other countries. The seminar was held in the beautiful city of Turku, the former capital of Finland. Seventy participants from the four countries gathered for three days to discuss the central theme of insolvency, but also to share information on the progress and developments in each country regarding enforcement agents and enforcement procedures. Marc Schmitz, member of the board of the UIHJ and Deputy Vice -President, and Mathieu Chardon, first secretary of the UIHJ represented the UIHJ in this event.

Like the seven other seminars, the atmosphere both studious, warm and friendly and the perfect organization of the work were greatly appreciated, thanks to the work carried out by Juhani Toukola, director of the National Administrative Office for Enforcement, and the Finnish Association of judicial officers. The Master of Ceremonies was our colleague, Ulf Böhling, Vice President of the Association.

On 4 September, Juhani Toukola welcomed the participants in Turku. He presented the city with a film. Then he welcomed the presence of the UIHJ. He discussed the history of the Nordic seminars honoring Nicola Hesslen (Sweden), who was the key organiser of these seminars and thanks to whom they can be held every two years since 1999. Juhani Toukola said the UIHJ was promoting the organization of these seminars. Then he presented the themes that would be discussed, including the relationship between the service of the Administration and the judicial officers and other authorities in the fight against organized crime.

Marika Valjakka, president of the Association of judicial officers of Finland welcomed all participants. She spoke about the history of judicial officers in Finland which exists in its current form since 1934 and its organization. Ulf Böhling presented in turn the topics of the seminar.

Bernt-Johan Jansson, Landskapsfoge (Finland) reviewed the recent amendments to the law on enforcement of judgments in Finland, as well as the harmonization of the working methods of the enforcement service. A working group was created to assess these methods. The Enforcement offices of the Finnish enforcement system were greatly reduced, from 178 a year ago to just 66 today. Registers of information on debtors are now fully operative. A debtor who is insolvent and who finds work can now easily be seized on his salaries since the information about the new employer will soon be included in the register. In 2012, three million enforcement cases were registered. During the year, about the same number has been closed. These records relate to approximately 220,000 individuals and 20,000 corporate entities. The Enforcement Department includes approximately 1,300 employees, including 700 enforcement officers. Debt collection can finance about 70% of the cost of enforcement. The costs are low but the political will is to keep costs low to maintain access at enforcement.

Jeannette Melchior, Deputy Judge at the commercial and maritime court of Denmark, spoke about the situation in her country. Her presentation included bankruptcy proceedings and the working group of UNCITRAL on insolvency. Helle Jardorf, Head of the Enforcement Department of Denmark, Head of Delegation at the UIHJ for Denmark, noted the changes since the laws of 2010 and 2011. Since 1 July 2013, it is possible for a judicial officer to summon the debtor by phone, then send him a formal letter. From next year it will be possible to summon the parties to court by secure e-mail, to the extent that they will have accepted this method of service. Otherwise, the traditional means of communication will be used. Helle Jardorf also mentioned the introduction of mediation in the trial at the request of the parties or on the proposal of the judge. Then Wicki Oland Jensen and William Bak, representatives from the Treasury (Skat, the Tax authority) of Denmark provided information on the situation of persons under insolvency procedures in Denmark. They indicated that, because of criticisms regarding the lack of efficiency of enforcement for the recovery of tax debts, very important reforms had been undertaken. These reforms have resulted in an automation of the agendas of the enforcement officers.

Jonny Nauste, president of the Enforcement Administration of Norway, presented a report of the activities of judicial officers in his country. 147,688 enforcement measures have been conducted in this country of five million people.
On behalf of the Swedish enforcement Authority, Olof Dahnell, representative of the UIHJ for the Nordic countries, and Charlotte Carrborg discussed the latest developments resulting from the enforcement reforms of 2011. In particular, in insolvency, a new law allows a simplified restructuration of debt. New methods for auctions were also discussed as well as electronic attachment of bank accounts. At the end of the first day, participants were invited to the town hall in Turku for a visit which took place at the end of a cocktail given by the mayor.

On 5 September, Antti jauhonen, Senior Advisor to the Grey Economy Information Unit and his colleague Seppo Laakso, presented this new structure of the Finnish Tax Administration. Grey economy refers to such activities of an organisation that result in legal obligations which are not met in order to avoid payments for taxes, statutory pensions insurances, accident or unemployment insurances or custom fees, or to obtain unjust repayment. Estimate 10-14 billion Euros (6-7% of the GNP). The influence of Grey is most visible on construction, restaurant and transportation branches. Up to 90% of the profit of Finnish foreign investments is not declared to the Tax Administration.
The Unit promotes the fight against grey economy by producing and disseminating information about grey economy. The Unit also prepares compliance reports concerning organisations and people connected to business entities to other authorities for the purpose of the Act. The Act came into force on 1 January 2011 and is a new unit in the Finnish Tax Administration.

Two presentations focusing on fight against organized crime followed. Teijo Ristola, chief police of Aland Island (Finland), discussed the fight against black economy and organized crime. Then Göran Erixon, Rudolf Paulson and Eva Johannes, from the Swedish Enforcement Authority dealt with the cooperation against organized crime. These presentations were followed by an information workshop and a visit to the Office of the State Administration for Enforcement in Turku. The day ended with an unexpected and lovely medieval dinner in the magnificent ballroom of the castle of Turku. Participants were able to continue their exchanges in English, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish.

On 6 September, Marina Vatanen, senior inspector at the Office of the Bankruptcy Ombudsman of Finland, discussed fight against financial crime in bankruptcy proceedings. This presentation was followed by a workshop where everyone could go deeper into the different themes.

Marc Schmitz and Mathieu Chardon presented the UIHJ, its objectives and recent accomplishments. Marc Schmitz emphasized the importance for the profession of judicial officer of the CEPEJ Guidelines on enforcement of 18 December 2009. Mathieu Chardon presented an outline of the "Aphrodite" project of the UIHJ, the work on the Global Code of Enforcement and the future publishing of an issue of Juris-Union on European Union case-law on the profession of judicial officer and enforcement. He invited all the participants to book the first week of June 2015 and to register for the 22nd International Congress of judicial officers to be held in Madrid (Spain).

The seminar was a great success. It brought together enforcement officers from four countries united by a common culture and interests that led to the creation of the Nordic seminars nearly fifteen years ago now.

The UIHJ wishes to thank Kimmo Vikman and Ulla Pekkinen, respectively senior advisor and lawyer at the National Administrative Office for Enforcement of Finland, for their translation into English and French, the debates being mainly in Swedish, Norwegian and Danish.

 
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Juhani Toukola, Director of the National Administrative Office for Enforcement of Finland
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Marika Valjakka, President of the Finnish Association of Judicial Officers
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Ulf Böling, Vice-President of the Finnish Association of Judicial Officers
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Mark Schmitz, Deputy Vice-President of the UIHJ
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The participants
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Bernt-Johan Jansson, Landskapsfoge (Finland)
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Jeannette Melchior, Vice-Judge at the Commercial and Maritime Court of Denmark
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Helle Jardorf, Head of the Enforcement Department of Denmark
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Wicki Oland Jensen, representative of the Tax Authority (Skat) of Denmark
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William Bak, representative of the Tax Authority (Skat) of Denmark
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Jonny Nauste, President of the Enforcement Administration of Norway
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Olof Dahnell, Judicial Officer (Sweden), Permanent Delegate of the UIH for the Nordic countries
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Charlotte Carrborg, judicial officer (Sweden)
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Antti Jauhonen, Senior advisor at the Grey Economy Information Unit (Finland), and his colleague Seppo Laakso
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Teijo Ristola, Chief of the Police, Island of Aland (Finland)
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Göran Erixon, Enforcement Authority of Sweden
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Johannes Paulson, Enforcement Authority of Sweden
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Eva Rudolf, Autorité d’exécution de Suède
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Head office of the Enforcement Department of Turku
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