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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurAfricaSéparateurAlgeriaSéparateur8th UIHJ-EuroMed Session in Annaba (Algeria) on 20 and 21 October 2011
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8th UIHJ-EuroMed Session in Annaba (Algeria) on 20 and 21 October 2011

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In Annaba, Algeria, on the shores of the Mediterranean was held the eighth UIHJ-EuroMed session on 20 and 21 October 2011, attended by senior officials and representatives from Algeria, France, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, and the National School of Procedure of Paris

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During the opening ceremony, from left to right: Françoise Andrieux, General Secretary of the UIHJ, Djane Hamed Sid Ahmed, President of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of Algeria, Ahmed Ali Salah, Director of Civil Affairs of the Ministry of Justice of Algeria, and Jacques Isnard, past President of the UIHJ
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To Promote the Membership of the Middle East
 
During the formal opening session which took place in the presence of the President and the General Prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Annaba and of civil and military authorities of the city, Mohamed Chérif, former president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers Justice of Algeria and board member of the UIHJ, said that his mission in our organization was to establish contacts and promote the membership of the Middle East such as Egypt, Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait or Jordan and Lebanon. He then presented the agenda of the session divided into the three workshops detailed hereafter.
Djanz Hamed Sid Ahmed, Chairman of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Algeria, assured that hosting this session of UIHJ-EuroMed was a great honor and that the work would be in the line of the civil justice reform in Algeria. He said that the aim was to study the common factors of judicial officers of the Mediterranean to meet globalization.
Ahmed Salah Ali, Director of Civil Affairs of the Ministry of Justice of Algeria stated then that the Minister for Justice attached great importance to our profession and that these meetings occupied a prominent place both nationally and internationally, notably as part of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the profession of judicial officer in Algeria.
It was finally the turn of Jacques Isnard, former president of the UIHJ and representing President Leo Netten to speak. After presenting the position of Algeria in the UIHJ since its joining in 1994 until its accession in the executive board, President Isnard recalled the origins of the creation of UIHJ-EuroMed, from an original idea Françoise Andrieux, general secretary of the UIHJ, then president of the Departmental Chamber of Judicial officers of the Bouches-du-Rhone (France), to explore ways of adapting the judicial officers to the Barcelona process. The first meeting was therefore held in Marseille on 30 April 2004. The honorary president of the UIHJ made an analysis of the previous meetings and pointed out two emerging topics: research of information and debt collection, all underpinned by training (The National School of Procedure of Paris is a partner of UIHJ-EuroMed since its inception). He concluded by calling for the harmonization of the subjects into three parts:
- Topics for the business world
- Issues of Comparative Law
- Looking for new members of UIHJ-EuroMed
Finally recognizing that the political aspect related to the Barcelona process had drifted Jacques Isnard declared that UIHJ-EuroMed showed its effects had nevertheless been beneficial as regards relations between countries.

The Status of the Judicial Officer
 
Three workshops succeeded during the days of the conference. The topic of the first workshop was the status of the judicial officer. Several questions were raised to the speakers by chairman Belkacemi (Algeria): Is the judicial officer a civil servant? What is the nature of his function in each country? Is the activity of the judicial officer of public interest? Is it adequately remunerated?
Freddy Safar, representing the National Chamber of judicial officers of France, was the first to respond by saying that the judicial officer is an official officer liable for his actions which can be contested only through a forgery procedure. French judicial officers buy their businesses. He said that the status is protective and that it represents the public part of the French judicial officer. He then outlined the new developments of the profession in France: direct access to information about the debtor, and the creation of the employed judicial officer.
Our Tunisian colleague Hatem Mechali recalled that in Tunisia the judicial officer is a liberal professional since 1954. He carries out civil and commercial missions and is an officer of the court whose activities of enforcement and service of documents are separated. Discipline is exerted by the judges of the court of the jurisdiction of the judicial officer. He is a public and ministerial officer. Mechali Hatem indicated that discussions are currently underway for the allocation of new activities.
Luis Ortega Alcubierre, representing the Spanish Procuradores, indicated that the status of Procuradores is different from that of the judicial officer. They perform two main functions: representation, and enforcement under the direction of the judge, with three characteristics: territoriality, a flat rate and an incompatibility with the exercise of the profession of lawyer or attorney. The current goal of the Procuradores is to get the control and the monopoly of enforcement, an activity normally devoted to the judge according to the Spanish Constitution. However, the Procuradores do not despair to inherit the outsourcing of this function.
Douadi Jafar intervened for Algeria by saying that the best is the status that confers powers to someone expressly competent for the activity. In Algeria, after having been civil servants, judicial officers became liberal, independent, and accountable and are encouraged to do their job. They enjoy legal protection related to their office and economic protection through their tariff. Judges do not interfere with enforcement.

Automate Access to Information
 
The second workshop concerned access to information. Its moderator was Françoise Andrieux. Mohamed Bousmaha, representing Algeria, recalled that the Civil service in his country has to assist in the enforcement of judgments upon written request. The profession, however, wishes for greater automation in access to information and is considering an Intranet project to facilitate exchange of information between judicial officers.
Jean Michel Rouzaud (France), Chairman of the National School of Procedure of Paris (ENP), stated has an introduction of his speech that a profession can only exist if it highly focuses on training. For him it is necessary to differentiate between information that has a broad meaning, and intelligence, which has a limited sense. The judicial officer must make a diagnosis of solvency to know then what treatment to apply. For this, he needs information. In France there are public information: the registries on immovable, marital status, mortgages, electoral rolls, directories, Facebook, information held by the registries of commercial courts, the records of protests, pledges, information held by chambers of commerce, chambers of trade, prefectures, or the National Institute of Industrial Property. There is also information reserved for holders of enforcement titles: register on bank accounts, information held by government, any institution or organization as regards the domicile, the employer and the debtor's assets. The limits are given by the principle of protection of privacy.
José Carlos Resende, president of Portuguese Solicitadores, presented his profession. Solicitadores are very computer friendly. They have eighteen sources of information on tax matters including, vehicles, social security, civil registries for addresses, buildings ... When a person is located, his assets are instantly located. Information is obtained in three seconds via the computer system. 300 000 requests for information are sent per month and 31 000 vehicle seizures were made electronically in 2010.
Our colleague Mechala pleaded for the need for patrimonial transparency in Tunisia. He deplored the legislative gaps that make the judicial officer in his country treated as any other citizen facing access to information. He also reminded that access to information had a cost that should be included in the tariff.

The Judicial Officer, Craftsman of Debt Collection
 
The third workshop dealt with debt collection and was moderated by our Algerian colleague Mohamed Bousmaha. In Algeria, said Habri Abdelaziz, there is a regulated process giving the monopoly of debt collection to the judicial officer. It is ruled by principles of forms and follow-ups in a hierarchical way (written or telephone reminders) and a strict timetable. The judicial officer is the legal representative of the monies collected. He sets all the necessary documents for information. Fees for debt collection are listed.
For Françoise Andrieux, the distinction between amicable debt collection and judiciary debt collection is irrelevant. There is debt collection and is the judicial officer is its craftsman. She insisted that debt collection is actually a methodology and that nothing prevents using this technique even when in possession of enforcement order. She then gave the audience an overview of how to negotiate during collecting process stating that the French judicial officers receive specific training in collecting techniques.
Hatem Mechali indicated that in Tunisia debt has worsened. Judicial recovery is hard and solutions should be found through methods of debt collection. The problem is the lack of provisions in this field. The judicial officer acts in his capacity and the success of the system specifically relates to his quality. He thinks of this mechanism in terms of a possible topic of an on-going training for judicial officers.
The session carried on with a round table on news of the member countries. In France, Jean-Michel Rouzaud reminded that the Beteille Act facilitates the action of the judicial officers for the claiming of abandoned domiciles, and access to halls of buildings during his work of serving documents or enforcing court decision. This Act also contains obligation of on-going education for judicial officers and gives them the opportunity to serve as mediators as a secondary activity.
As regards Tunisia, Hatem Mechali recalled that his country was being restructured after the spring revolution. Judicial officers are responsible for organizing and monitoring elections. The country is in a transitional period. It is asked from the judicial officers to propose a project for the profession. He stressed the need for a law guaranteeing the independence of the judicial officers.
In Algeria, Djane Hamed Sid Ahmed recalled that the elections were held in May. Four new regional chambers were created. There are now 1690 judicial officers in Algeria. A permanent education program is in place.


The Annaba UIHJ-EuroMed Recommendations
 
Finally, the UIHJ-EuroMed eighth session ended with the reading and adoption of the following recommendations:
 
Recommendation 1
- Considering the need for the existence of a statute of the judicial officer,
- Considering that this status should be protecting not only for the judicial officer but also for the defendant,

UIHJ-EuroMed recommends harmonizing the status of judicial officers on the basis of five additional elements:
- A professional organization to provide a common structural identity
- A responsibility based on discipline and deontology for a guarantee for any litigant
- A rate to ensure equal treatment of citizens facing justice
- Training to ensure the optimisation of the expression of justice through competent professionals
- Access to the profession reserved for university graduates with a relevant master's level, followed by a professional training of at least one year and a national professional examination


Recommendation 2
- Considering the need for the private judicial officer liberal and independent to guard against hazards,
- Considering the disparity of social protection systems in different countries,

UIHJ-EuroMed recommends promoting the creation of a social status of the judicial officer.

Recommendation 3

- Considering that the effective enforcement of court decisions is subject to obtaining information on the economic and social situation of the debtor,
- Considering that individuals are entitled to the same effective enforcement of the court regardless of where enforcement takes place,

UIHJ-EuroMed recommends that judicial officers carrying out an enforcement order have free access to information about the address, the employer, the bank accounts and all information about immovable, tangible and intangible goods of the debtor.

Recommendation 4
- Considering that service of documents is one of the core activities of the judicial officer,
- Considering that the information of the defendant is one of the elements of a fair trial,

UIHJ-EuroMed recommends that when a document has to be served by a judicial officer, the judicial officer has direct access to information concerning the home address of the addressee.

Recommendation 5
- Considering that the collection of civil, public and state debts should be part of the natural core activities of the judicial officer,
- Considering that he conducts this amicable or judicial activity in compliance with his statutory rules which protects the defendant,

UIHJ-EuroMed recommends promoting the organisation of a specific initial and on-going training on the collection of civil, public and state debts at the concerned administrations of the interested countries.
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The First Workshop : Mr Bekacemi and Douadi Djafar, judicial officers (Algeria), Fredy Safar, past President of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of France, Hatem Mechala, judicial officer (Tunisia)
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Luis Ortega Alcubierre, Procurador (Spain)
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The 2nd Workshop: José Carlos Resende, president of the National Chamber of Solicitadores of Portugal, Mohamed Bousmaha, judicial officer (Algeria), Françoise Andrieux, Jean-Michel Rouzaud, president of the National School of Procedure of Paris, Hatem Mechala
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The 3rd Workshop: Abdelaziz Habri, judicial officer (Algaria), Mohamed Bousmaha, Françoise Andrieux, Hatem Mechala
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