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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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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurUIHJSéparateurEditoSéparateurInaugural address of Marc Schmitz, President of the UIHJ, during the 23rd International Congress of Judicial Officers in Bangkok, on 4 May 2018
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Investiture speech by Marc Schmitz, President of the UIHJ, during the 23rd International Congress of Judicial Officers in Bangkok, 4 May 2018


During our 23rd International Congress, that was held in Bangkok, we demonstrated successfully that the judicial officer is the professional who is an essential element of good governance. During this Congress, we learned that huge challenges are waiting for us while digitalization is conquering the world.


We have seen during the activities report that has been presented to us, that the UIHJ is very active to defend our profession on every level. Nevertheless, we must continue to be present everywhere and to fight for our professional future. The International Union of Judicial Officers – or UIHJ is more than an international organization – it’s a family!

U like Union

We can only survive as a professional group if we stay united! Compared to other professional groups in the legal field (notaries, judges and especially lawyers), we are only a very small group. Nevertheless, UIHJ is actually in terms of member countries one of the biggest associations of legal professionals in the world. To keep this position, we have to stay united! This was although the reason why, two years ago, a European Union of Judicial Officers has been created inside of the UIHJ. We must speak with one voice! The challenges that we are actually facing – and I’m speaking about those that already appeared or will appear in a very soon future – like electronic service of documents, Blockchains, predictive justice based on algorithms and enforcement proceedings on digital assets – will deeply change our professional live - or even more … will become a danger for it. If UIHJ would like to continue to be as successful as it has been in the past, we only have one option: to stay united and to fight together for the same aims! I’m very confident that at the end, we will keep our place inside of the judicial system and stay an indispensable actor of justice who guarantees the rights of each of the litigants.

I like International

Compared to other international or continental organizations, the big advantage of the UIHJ is the huge number of countries where members are coming from. Today, we welcomed another 5 members inside of our big family that brings us to a total of 93-member associations from 90 countries.
Through this respectful number of members, we are actually present on 4 continents, and I promise to you, that I will try to get in touch with our colleagues from the last continent that we are actually missing, to become a real worldwide represented organization.
On the European continent and especially inside of the EU, the role of the European Union of Judicial Officers will be increased. It will become the unique representative of our profession on a European level and work together with the European Institutions. Through the UIHJ, the European Union of Judicial officers will be able to deliver to the European Commission not only relevant data and statistics, but some clear statements and positions on topics that concerns directly our profession and – the most important – defend them.
Furthermore, the UIHJ will try to continue to bring its expertise in working groups to the ELI, the European Law Institute, which has been established to initiate, conduct and facilitate research, make recommendations and provide practical guidance in the field of European legal development.
Beyond the EU, on a European, continental level, the very successful collaboration with the CEPEJ will be followed on and we will attend, as an observer member twice a year the plenary meetings. Despite the fact, that there are actually 38 members in our organization that are emerging from the European continent, we still have some white spots on the European map. We will try, within the next years, to reduce this list as much as we can.
On the African continent, we have to increase our actions. The digitalization of justice is a worldwide phenomenon that will reach the African continent too. Electronic case management will be one of the first challenges where UIHJ should give its support. The knowledge that has been acquired in that field on other continents should be, with the help of UIHJ, transferred on a best practices experience. The next Africa-Europe Meetings of Judicial Officers that will be organized again in 2019 will constitute an excellent opportunity to exchange again best practices and to draw up together a master plan for the future. Concerning the relations between the UIHJ and the African institutions, like the OHADA and the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), we are on the right way. The signing of the cooperation agreement with the training body of the OHADA, the Higher Regional School of Magistracy (ERSUMA) is another step of confession of the UIHJ to the African continent and the profession of judicial officer there. We are still convinced, that one of the most important aims is, to achieve in Africa a harmonized status of the judicial officer that will help to create there a legal area, allowing free movement of legal acts and judgements, or at least smooth and simplified, cross-border enforcement proceedings. While the French speaking part of Africa – the Maghreb region and the Western and Central Western part of this continent – is very well represented in the UIHJ, there’s still some work to do on the other parts. The countries of the Eastern, Central Eastern and Southern part of the African continent that are not yet a member of the UIHJ should be contacted on that issue and I count on my African colleagues which are present here today, to help me on this challenge. The more we are, the more we can achieve for a better future of our profession in Africa!
Concerning the American continent, we should put the focus on the southern part. While the United States and Canada are present inside of the UIHJ already for a very long time, many of our efforts to establish continuous relations to different countries of the southern part of the American continent have unfortunately failed or are rather difficult to hold. We will put all our efforts, together with the contacts that we have reached to establish and with the countries of that region that are already member of UIHJ, to expand our presence there and to acquire new member countries. Contacts to the MERCOSUR, which is a South American trade bloc and which purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people and currency in its member countries, might be very useful to reach this aim.
And, of course the Asian continent. The continent where more than 50 % of the world population lives and where UIHJ is, till now, only present in 5 countries. We are convinced, that with the help of our Asian members, we will soon convince professional organizations from this continent to join our big family. We hope that this congress, organized for the first time in the 66-year-old history of the UIHJ on the Asian continent, will help us to increase our presence here. I would like to thank especially our colleagues and friends from the Legal Execution Department of the Kingdom of Thailand to have invited delegations from the whole South East Asian region, the so-called ASEAN region, to join us on this Congress. We hope that all of them enjoyed their participation, got interested on the actions of UIHJ and will join us in a very near future and become a member of our world-wide family.  Furthermore, the Central Asian countries should not get less attention from our side and their involvement in our continuous work would be welcome.
The relations of the UIHJ to international organizations and institutions like the World Bank, UNCITRAL, the International Monetary Fund and – of course The Hague Conference on Private International Law are the most prestigious one we have and reflects the international and worldwide recognition that the UIHJ achieved. The maintaining and intensifying of these relations will stay an absolute priority in the general politics of the UIHJ.

H like huissier

Judicial officer, this profession which is so treasured to us and which is reflected in many synonyms across the different member countries: Gerichtsvollzieher, Gerechtsdeurwaarder, Dierwächter, Ufficiale giudiziario, Kronofodge, Sheriff Officer, High Court Enforcement Officer, Messenger at Arms, Exekutor, Sudevni ispolnitel, komornik, etc. This profession is known by many names but brings us all together through the main activity which is the enforcement of court decisions. The judicial officer constitutes with the judge and the lawyer incontestably one of the three fundamental pillars of any judicial procedure. The judicial officer, by his independence, is a guarantor for legal certainty. This independence is, however, reflected in a twofold requirement: that of a high quality training and that of a diversity of activities.
A high level training of the judicial officer has always been and will always be one of the indisputable requirements demanded by the UIHJ. High level training is the key to ensuring the sustainability of our profession. This high-level training does not only translate into a solid and diversified basic training, but also through continuous training that meets the expectations of our profession, expectations that continue to grow. It is therefore essential to continue to promote the training model that has been established and which has proved to be very effective: that is to say, a continuous training organized together with various actors: the national chambers, the UIHJ and, why not, universities. This type of training has the advantage of being individualized according to the needs met on the spot and obviously to be oriented towards the daily practice. Thus, several sessions of these permanent training already took place and others will follow shortly. In this context, the obvious question is to know whether it would not be useful to gather the know-how of the various schools of procedures or training center established within the national chambers and to create, under the aegis of the UIHJ, a specific training platform. This platform would not only have the merit of promoting the exchange of experience in training, but also of making available to the concerned countries a much wider choice of modules as well as experts who could intervene within the framework of these programs. This is certainly an ambitious project that will undoubtedly be talked about in the future.
Besides training, the diversity of our activities is indeed a guarantee of our independence. The CEPEJ guidelines are very clear in this respect: a multitude of ancillary activities can be exercised by the judicial officer. And I go even further: these activities can not only be exercised by the judicial officer, but he is the ideal actor, the privileged actor. Who else but the judicial officer could bring to the statement of facts its probative force by the surplus value of being considered a genuine document?  The same can be said of the amicable recovery of debts. The status of the judicial officer as ministerial officer as well as his obligation to ensure the respect of the rights of all parties, provides additional guarantees to litigants. It is obvious that the judicial officer will be able to claim the exercise of additional activities only if he has a high level of training. The exercise of additional activities is not only closely related to training, but they are inseparable!
In the same context, it is obvious that the role of the Scientific Council of the UIHJ is crucial. Through the experience of the distinguished members who compose it and by its work, it constitutes without any doubt, the key scientific exposure of our association. The Global Code of Enforcement that was presented at the Madrid Congress three years ago, as well as the Guide of good professional practices that has just been presented, are the fruit of a scientific work which constitutes for our profession a major asset and which allows us to position ourselves indisputably at the level of international institutions.

J like Justice

Ladies and gentlemen, Presidents and Heads of Delegations, Ladies and Gentlemen, the world is changing and evolving. It is the same with regard to justice! We heard it throughout this congress: new technologies are appearing and will be considered tomorrow as indispensable for the proper functioning of justice. This evolution which, by observing it closely, tends rather to mutate towards a revolution cannot leave us indifferent! We must act proactively to maintain or even strengthen our position in the justice system to ensure the sustainability of our profession.
It will not only be necessary to adapt to the needs that will arise, but also to participate actively in the creation of instruments that we will use tomorrow. The e-Codex communication platform that was presented to us during one of the workshops of this congress is undoubtedly one of the powerful tools that we will have to favor to position ourselves.
But, above all, it is our human aspect that allows us to position ourselves in a justice that digitalizes at the speed of light. No computer, no artificial intelligence is able to individualize an enforcement procedure taking into account the human aspect. It adds to the other values that our profession represents.



Thank you for your support and thank you for your attention.

Marc Schmitz,President of the UIHJ
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