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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurEuropeSéparateurBulgariaSéparateurFirst General Assembly of the Chamber of Private Judicial Officers of Bulgaria
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First General Assembly of the Chamber of Private Judicial Officers of Bulgaria

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On 25 November 2005 in Sofia, the judicial officers of the Republic of Bulgaria created their National chamber in the presence of Georgi Petkanov, Minister of Justice, and have elected Georgi Dichev as their first president.

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Georgi Petkanov, Minister of Justice of the republic of Bulgaria and Georgi Dichev, president of the National Chamber of judicial officers of the Republic of Bulgaria
A historical day
The moment is solemn and the day will be a historical one. In the conference room of the Grand hotel in Sofia, next to Professor Georgi Petkanov, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria and former Minister of the Interior under the previous government, are seating Georgi Dichev, president of the Bulgarian enforcement judges, Mathieu Chardon, member of the Committee of UIHJ, representing Jacques Isnard, president of UIHJ, held in Paris at the UIHJ Permanent Council, Gene Gibson, USAID Project Director and Valeri Dimitrov, submitter of the law on Private Judicial Officers, chair of the Audit Office.
Facing them are Mrs Sabrie Sapundgieva, vice-minister of Justice, Anastasios Chrisomallo, vice-president of the Greek National chamber of judicial officers and Vasilios Kouvroukoglou, member of the Chamber, both of whom came specially from Greece, as well as the 92 Bulgarian judicial officers who decided to adopt a private status for their work. Without mentioning an army of journalists, photographers, and televisions cameras that came to cover the event. In a few moment, the National chamber of judicial officers of the Republic of Bulgaria will be created and there will be a vote for the election of the board and its president.
In his opening speech, Mr Petkanov reminded that 8 out of the 10 countries that joined the European Union on 1st May 2004, only two (Cyprus and Malta) hadn't created beforehand a private system of judicial officers.
Gene Gibson was very happy about the excellent co-operation of USAID with the authorities and of this historical moment. But he also indicated that now the real work was about to begin to lead the project to its end.
Mathieu Chardon noted that, if the moment was historical, it was not an extraordinary event, the vast majority of EU Member States having adopted a similar system for their judicial officers. He also mentioned the close ties between judicial officers of Bulgaria and UIHJ, in particular with Georgi Dichev and Anelia Kotzeva, Senior expert at the Ministry of Justice, whose work and determination were greeted. He addressed the congratulations of UIHJ and its president, Jacques Isnard, for this decisive move towards the harmonisation of the profession worldwide.
For his part, Mr Dimitrov evoked the various points of the reform. He insisted on the fact that the new profession shouldn't close herself but on the contrary stay opened on the world.
 
The first president of the National chamber of judicial officers of Bulgaria
After a short break, the General assembly starts its work, in the presence of Mr Petkanov. The board is made of Georgi Dichev, Sabrie Sapundgieva and Slavi Serbezov, judicial officer in Dobrich (North East of Bulgaria). The agenda starts off questions relating to the statute of the chamber. Then comes the time for the vote of the election of the members of the board and of is president. The audience holds its breath. At 12.45, the results are unveiled. They are a plebiscite for Georgi Dichev who obtains the unanimity of the 87 voters, both as a member of the board and as its president.
The president of UIHJ, joined by telephone, addressed his warm congratulations to Georgi Dichev and his board, wished great success in his future work and confirmed the full support of UIHJ to the National chamber of judicial officers of the republic of Bulgaria.
The other points on the agenda were then discussed, including the amount of the initial and annual membership fees, the budget of the Chamber. After a very long working day, a party was given by USAID were everyone could relax in a friendly atmosphere, before the start of many days of very hard work!
A new page has been written in the harmonisation of judicial officers in the world. UIHJ welcomes the private judicial officers of Bulgaria and wishes a long and prosperous professional and personal life.

Interview of Georgi Dichev
During the evening that followed the meeting, we asked some questions to Georgi Dichev.

You have just lived the creation of the Bulgarian National chamber of judicial officers, in the presence of the Ministry of Justice. What are your feelings tonight?
It is impossible to describe. A mixture of relief, satisfaction and of high positive expectancies.

This event is the result of several years of hard work. Could you tell us the steps of the reform and the difficulties you had to face ?
First, how to convince the State authorities that the private system offers by far the best solution to the problem relating to enforcement in our country? Second, and parallel to the first issue, how to get my colleagues convinced, as the private system was unknown to them. Also, the government had various points of view on the matter. This required a lot of effort from us and drew a lot of energy. As soon as the political will was there, the problem was to create a law that would be positive and that would be a good basis for the private system of enforcement.

In your effort, you have had the support of several organisations. What was the input of these organisations ?
I would put UIHJ in first position. UIHJ always supported our project from the very beginning, both from our part and from its part. This organisation always answered immediately to our questions and requests. When we needed a position on one point, it helped us to a great extend in front of the Bulgarian Parliament.
On second position, I would put USAID, which gave us a tremendous technical and logistic assistance. Though it is difficult to rank all the help that we received, I would put in third position my Bulgarian colleagues who gave their time and financial resources without counting, to help us in our project. We also had the full support of colleagues from all over the world, in particular of France, Greece, and the Netherlands.
Also, through UIHJ, we have been in contact with colleagues from numerous European countries such as Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czech republic, Slovakia, and if I cannot cite them all, all of them wanted to give their help. They gave me the strong feeling that, through UIHJ, private judicial officers from the world belong to one big family. I am convinced that, with this newly formed National chamber of judicial officers, all my colleagues will soon feel the same way.
As regards to the Council of Europe, if it did not take part in the technical process, nothing could have been possible without it. It is through the Council of Europe that we could have all the necessary contacts and that we are here today.

At the term of the historical day, the board of the National chamber has been elected and you also have elected as its first president. What are your immediate, short tem and long term objectives ?
The immediate objective is to prepare all necessary legal documents on private judicial officers. At the same time, we must create our chamber, not only as an electoral entity, but as a functioning organisation. My short terms objectives are to ensure that all private judicial officers of Bulgaria can normally operate in an independent way. Also, they must gain the trust of the population and of the institutions of this country. On the long term, our objective is that Bulgaria is seen just like any other European country, where the enforcement system respect the European principles on enforcement and that, when someone mentions Bulgarian judicial officers, no one could say that they are different from another European country.

What do you expect from UIHJ to help you in achieving these goals ?
We heavily rely on UIHJ to show us new tendencies, to lead us to new fields in the matter of enforcement. UIHJ also offers the possibility to meet colleagues from Europe and the rest of the world. We also rely on the opinions of UIHJ experts to relay them to our authorities. On our side, we can give our support to other member countries of UIHJ in giving our opinion, by taking notes of other Member countries' opinions during meetings. And on a general level, we have the opportunity to experience very rich cultural exchanges with our colleagues from the entire world.

And what do Bulgarian private Judicial officers think ?
We have met three young judicial officers from Varna (North-East of Bulgaria, by the Black Sea) and asked them the reasons that made them want to become private ?

Stanimira Danova (26), private judicial officer in Varna
Liberal profession represents for me big opportunities. It is a great challenge to start something new in complicated times but with great expectations.

Luba Todorova (27), private judicial officer in Varna
In a State controlled system, I didn't have the opportunity to really express my professionally and to be able to do things my way. I am expecting a great development of the profession and the chance to see it.

Lubomir Mavrov (36), private judicial officer in Varna
There are many reasons to choose the liberal profession but the main one is that I wanted to work for myself.
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Georgi Petkanov, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria
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Georgi Dichev, president of the National Chamber of judicial officers of he Republic of Bulgaria
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Mrs Sabrie Sapundgieva, vice-minister of Justice
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The National Library of Belarus
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The constitutive board at work
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Mr Dichev during an interview
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Stanimira Danova (26), Judicial officer in Varna
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Luba Todorova (27), Judicial officer in Varna
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Lubomir Mavrov (36), Judicial officer huissier in Varna
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