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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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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurEuropeSéparateurCroatiaSéparateurCroatia at the door of the European Union
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Croatia at the door of the European Union

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With the assistance of the French Embassy in Zagreb, a delegation of the UIHJ led by its president, Jacques Isnard, went in the Croatian capital from the 10 to July 13, 2006 and met with high representatives of the ministry of Justice, judges and academics

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Jacques Isnard with Mrs Snježana Bagić, Secretary of State
A mission made possible by the French embassy in Croatia

Croatia is at an important stage of its history. It hopes to join in the next years the European Union, after Bulgaria and Romania. Many reforms are currently in hand. A permanent delegation of the European Commission is in station in Zagreb to assist the country in the reforms and to follow the - bulky - specifications that Croatia must fill as regards criteria of adhesion.
The Commission has the eyes riveted on the “justice” panel which is regarded as essential. There are currently no judicial officers as such in Croatia. Enforcement of court decisions are carried out under the supervision of the judge. A report on the backlog of cases of the Croatian jurisdictions was drawn up in spring 2006 by Lisa Lou Wipf, from the promotion of the French National School of Magistrates, within the framework of the external training course at the Legal Institution carried out with the French embassy in Zagreb. This report gives an account on a worrying number of backlogs of cases within the jurisdictions of the country. This backlog reached the record level of more than 1,4 million in 2004. Almost half of the files relates to enforcement. And this number is on the increase...
In this context, the UIHJ decided to send a mission of information and contact in Croatia. Thanks to the effectiveness and the support of the French embassy in Croatia, meetings with the highest authorities (ministry of justice, magistrates, professor of Law) could quickly be set up.
The delegation of the UIHJ was led by its president, Jacques Isnard, and included Francis Guépin, member of the board, and Mathieu Chardon, 1st secretary.
The goal fixed by the delegation was primarily to make contacts in order to prepare an international information conference on the profession and to outline the premises of cooperation. This mission was accomplished beyond all hopes.

High level Judges in favour of the implementation of a body of independent judicial officers

During a meeting at the French embassy with the French ambassador François Saint-Paul, the situation was outlined with Michel Iogna-Prat, Judge, resident twining adviser and Caroline Socié, European and administrative co-operation administrator. Jacques Isnard cordially thanked the ambassador to have personally taken care of the good implementation of the mission. The president of the UIHJ indicated that the contacts thus made at the highest level would make it possible for the UIHJ to save a precious time in the making of a co-operation between our organization and the Croatian authorities.
The first meeting had been fixed by the president of the Supreme Court, Branko Hravtin, in the superb buildings of this institution. The delegation of the UIHJ was accompanied by Mr. Philippe Dorcet, France's “Connection” Judge in Croatia and in this area of Europe, and Caroline Socié.
During the first exchanges, president Isnard thanked Mr. Hravtin for the great honour of receiving the UIHJ. It quickly proved that the president of the Supreme Court was familiar to both the judicial officers and our organization, as the various documents which were present in his office showed. Mr. Hravtin described the visit of the UIHJ in Croatia as “well-timed”.
Jacques Isnard mentioned the recommendation Rec (2003) 17 of September 9, 2003 of the Committee of the Ministers of the Council of Europe to the Member States on enforcement, adopted naturally by Croatia. The president of the UIHJ also pointed out that 17 of the 25 Member States of the European Union exert today the profession in a liberal form and that countries as Germany have unrelentingly moved towards this status.
Mr. Hravtin specified that he considered that justice is given, not with the judgment, but once the decision is finally carried out. “I always say that it is necessary to implement the European standards. That would be a good thing to found an independent and professional profession, having a certain influence. We certainly will proceed in this way. Your experiment will be very invaluable and it is with great pleasure and a great interest that I listen to you” declared the president of the Supreme Court, resolutely on the same wavelength as the delegation of the UIHJ.
President Isnard said he was confident in the future by announcing that he wished that Croatia would quickly join the UIHJ. The president of the Supreme Court immediately adhered to this declaration. “That certainly will occur. If that already occurred with the other Member States, there is no reason that that does not occur with Croatia” he entrusted us.
After this first promising meeting, the delegation, still accompanied by Mr. Dorcet and Ms Socié, went to the head office of the Court of Appeal of Zagreb, where it lengthily could discuss with Mr. Duro Sessa, judge, president of the Association of the Croatian judges.
In his general presentation, Jacques Isnard declared that the UIHJ makes contacts with the countries which are not members of the European Union, with an aim of working from the point of view of the creation of a body of European judicial officers. “Our goal is not to give precise orientations but to give indications to expose what is the international context, each country being free to choose the system which is appropriate for it. We would like to associate Croatia with the development of the reflections which we carry out for the installation of a more effective justice” declared president Isnard.
Francis Guépin then presented the broad outlines of the occupation of judicial officer such as it exists today in most of the European Union, as well as in Bulgaria and Romania, in particular through the French model. Like Mr. Hrvatin, Mr. Sessa appeared to be well acquainted with the matter, to our great satisfaction. He decided in favour of the creation of a body of independent judicial officer. “Personally, I am in favour of this idea to discharge Croatian justice and the Croatian jurisdictions from things that does not concern the work of the judge, in particular the execution of the decisions of court”, he said.

An academic bridge between Croatia, the Council of Europe and the UIHJ

The third meeting of the mission of the UIHJ was held within the premises of the French embassy, still with the effective assistance of Ms Socié. Alan Uzelac is well-known to the UIHJ. Professor of law at the University of Zagreb, he is also a member of the Commission for the efficiency of justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe. For this reason, he took part in the development of the famous recommendation Rec (2003) 17 on enforcement. He also participates in expertise missions for the Council of Europe, several of them having been accomplished with Mathieu Chardon. Professor Uzelac had also intervened at the end of 2002, in the Sorbonne (Paris, France), within the framework of the European Meetings of procedures organized by the French National School of Procedure. It was thus more of a cordial meeting than a simple contact-making meeting to which the participants were invited.
Nevertheless, the subject of the efficiency of justice in Croatia, the reduction of backlogs of the cases in front of the jurisdictions and the enforcement of court decisions quickly directed the debates towards more important matters. Professor Uzelac regretted the general absence of knowledge concerning the enforcement of court decisions in Croatia. “There is a general ignorance regarding the options and the existing models” he indicated. He then insisted on the model role of the French judicial officer: “All that can help us to make the enforcement more effective will be of a great help. I think that we have many things to learn from the French model. This model was largely included in the European Union. Few people know here that the judicial officer from the French mould is honourable and is well remunerated, that he is a professional very well trained, qualified and well respected, like Judges or lawyers. This model should be put on the agenda, with other models, in order to make a decision”.
For his part, president Isnard indicated that he perfectly understood that there are reserves on the absorption in a country of a profession which does not exist. “Nevertheless, he continued, the advantage of our organization is that its embraces a broad sight. In the European Union, on 25 countries, 17 have adopted a liberal system. There is no case where a country retrogressed. In Bulgaria and Romania, the liberal system is already set up. Each country arranged the liberal system resulting from the French model. This system was the first there, but it was not transposed completely. What characterizes the system is that the judicial officers are compelled with a certain number of standards which the UIHJ recommends and which were taken again by recommendation 17”.
After more than two hours of intense exchanges, came the essential idea to organize at the beginning of 2007 in Zagreb, an international conference on the profession, under the care of the UIHJ. “One cannot evolve in a country without there being a contest between the judges, politicians and professors of university. Our step is to put at your service our competences, with the possibility of entering our organization”, indicated to conclude president Isnard with professor Uzelac who declared himself very enthusiastic about this new opportunity.

Green light of the authorities

In spite of an extremely busy agenda, Mrs Snježana Bagić, Secretary of State, took some time to meet the delegation of the UIHJ. Francis Guépin made a broad présentation of the statute of the French judicial officer, centred in particular on the independence of the judicial officers, of their liability, their discipline, their general competences and training. A very significant number of notes were taken by Mrs Bagić. At the end of the meeting, the Secretary of State was asked whether the ministry of Justice would be willing to cooperate for the organization of a seminar of comparative law in Zagreb, next spring. Mrs Bagić then showed her attachment to this conference with the University of Zagreb.
There is no doubt that this seminar will mark the first stone of a future and profitable co-operation between the UIHJ and the ministry of Justice of Croatia.
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Miglena Tatcheva, Deputy Minister of justice
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Croatia awaits its integration to the European Union
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Branko Hravtin, president of the Supreme Court of Croatia
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Jacques isnard with Duro Sessa, President of Association of the Judges of Croatia
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The UIHJ delegation and the French with Mr Hravtin representatives
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Professor Alan Uzelac
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Michel Iogna-Prat, Resident Twinning Adviser
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Philippe Dorcet, Jacques Isnard, Snježana BagićCaroline Socié, Francis Guépin
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The UIHJ delegation and the French Ambassador in Croatia
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During the meeting at the French Embassy with Alan Uzelac
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