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Au service de la profession d’huissier de justice dans le monde depuis 1952
At the Service of the Profession of Judicial Officer in the World since 1952
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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurUIHJSéparateurEditoSéparateurChronicle on the Evolution of the Great Profession of Enforcement
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Chronicle on the Evolution of the Great Profession of Enforcement


Au début du 20e siècle les médecins prescrivaient encore des saignées pour enrayer les infections et il y a quelques années les trains étaient tirés par des machines à vapeur actionnées par des mécaniciens. Aujourd’hui, les antibiotiques ont remplacé les scalpels et les motrices électriques sont contrôlées par des conducteurs maîtrisant l’informatique. Les techniques évoluent comme les hommes, comme les métiers. Et les huissiers de justice ?

At the beginning of the 20th century doctors still prescribed bleedings to stop infections and a few years ago still trains were pulled by steam engines operated by mechanics.

Today, antibiotics have replaced scalpels and electric engines are controlled by drivers mastering data processing.

Like men and trades, techniques evolve.

But what about judicial officers?

To be a judicial officer is to devote oneself to a trade, i.e. to exert an occupation, but also to fulfill the functions that etymologically means to carry out a service.

The exercise of such a service implies the respect of a certain number of obligations. Those imposed to the judicial officers through their statutes are too well known to detail them here but we can wonder about the consequences of such a situation.

If in certain circumstances doctors have stopped using scalpels to look after their patients, judicial officers hardly improved their technique in the art to circumscribe the non enforcement of legal decisions. Indeed, both the use and the manner in our routine evolved only little since the beginning of the last century.

Thus, the access to information, so necessary to reinforce the effectiveness of enforcement measures, remains hermetically closed.

In so far as the railway man gave up the shovel to supply the boiler of the engine, the judicial officer always fills by hand the copy of the document he is handing-over or the list of the seized goods.

Admittedly, there are circumstances and requirements which oblige to suffer the past and to maintain practices which are apparently outdated. Such is, it seems, the price to pay to have the statute of a “regulated” profession. But no one could support the idea that, to maintain a function, there is pleasure in a kind of asphyxiating paralysis which compromises the future.

Because ultimately what is the position of our profession?

The activity of judicial officers remains centered on the functional service of enforcement.  However, nothing could exclude the judicial officer from other operations which fit in its sphere of activity. All contrary speculations, it is necessary to say, could in the long term only lead towards a recession.

Reality tends to show that the exercise of our trade is mostly cut by restrictions which are imposed on him than by the appropriations which are granted to him.

Prohibition to amicably recovery - prohibition to give legal advice - prohibition to arrange installments, prohibition to lead enforcement procedures - prohibition to enforce...

In a society turned towards liberalism the function asphyxiates the judicial officer by locking him up in a true yoke.

Admittedly, many conservative-minded could object that it is a choice and that after all it is up to the judicial officers to adapt to their situation. But only as long as the circumstances allow it on two levels:

- The social and the political
- Economic issues

On the social level we are confronted - and that is a good thing - with an evolution of customs where enforcement modes become completely incompatible with our contemporary culture. Obvious examples are provided to us with the mode of non distrainable goods which is unceasingly extended to the profit of devices which form obstacles to enforcement.

Regarding economy, it is necessary to be convinced that enforcement activities, whatever the situations, including in times of economic crisis (contrary to what many people think), is not sufficiently gainful to ensure the functioning of an office.

One realizes, moreover, that the great international institutions are perpetually on the watch to propose substitution methods for the enforcement procedures however legitimately reserved to the judicial officers.

According to the forecasts of the Union, except by impelling a countercurrent, the increase of the number of judicial officers in certain States confronted with a reduction of enforcement activities will lead to a deep recession even to a real impoverishment of judicial officers.

A fast and sharp reaction is thus essential.

Already in Athens, at the time of the 2000 congress, the UIHJ had launched a vibrating call to the creation of a great profession of enforcement reinforced by an opening towards new disciplines.

Initially limited to the service of documents, enforcement and debt collection the program widened towards a functional multi-field profession declining itself in 16 branches of activity.

The implant is now rooted with time, in particular with the multiplication of the workshops on new disciplines presented at the time of the permanent councils of the UIHJ. The consciences seem to wake up.

The judicial officer of 2012 will be opened towards new attributions.

To impose him the judicial officer will have to concentrate, between his hands, all the enforcement procedures, being civil, commercial, social, fiscal, interlocutory and provisional like those concerning distraint.

He will have, moreover, to master all the disciplines of enforcement on movable (tangible and intangible) and immovable, bankruptcy, and forced sales of movable and immovable goods...

He will be in charge of the amicable debt collecting, statement of facts (finding of evidence) sequestrations, alimonies and the production runs of the collective procedures (bankruptcy).

The extension of his activities must be conceived in a logic of rationalization of our trade whose actors (judicial officers) are expected to assert the plenitude of their expertise and their prerogatives.

It is not whether we are opposed to such or such other profession but more simply to go back to what is our true perimeter of functional attribution.

At the time where each one wants to exert the trade of the other, it is time that the judicial officers collect the full exploitation of their own territory.

It is there that the stakes and the future of our profession are.  And the UIHJ is well decided to continue its engagement in this direction.

Jacques Isnard
President of the UIHJ - January 2009

Jacques Isnard

President of the UIHJ

Our Union is our Strength
January 2009
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