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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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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurUIHJSéparateurEditoSéparateurOur Union is our Strength
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Our Union is our Strength


Thanks to the outstanding work accomplished during the past fifteen years by President Jacques Isnard, the UIHJ has developed to become an organization operating universally, and can one add without exaggeration, an universally respected organization

The UIHJ initially concentrated on the recruitment of new members; in parallel it proved to be an Organization, “with a big O”, able to intervene in various countries both at the level of consultancy and at the level of effective assistance during the reorganisation, the implementation of reforms of their judicial system, including in the field of procedure and enforcement proceedings and attachments. This installation or this reform proved to be necessary because, through globalization, the open market never cease extending and the economic sector always asks for more legal security specially in the fields of covering, of procedure and enforcement law, and of attachments of goods.

The object, the goals and the organization of the UIHJ are stipulated in its status which are regularly amended and adapted, as it should be in a dynamic organization. The UIHJ counts seventy members today that it represents before several international organizations and takes an active part in a certain number of activities of these international organizations.
The UIHJ created the Institue of private international judicial law and enforcement law (IDJPEX). This branch of the UIHJ was created in order to support legal research, development of private international law, professional training, study and publishing of academic work, research and legal communications and finally the creation of a world library.

Inside the UIHJ, there are also structures which have a broad autonomy.
First of all, there is the Committee of the UIHJ, composed of three quaestors who, on their own initiative of on the initiative of the board, carry out studies, make research, write reports, etc. Nothing could prevent us from thus setting up a global network charged to quickly carry out investigations intended for statistics which could be used in desired place and times. Until now, this network was not fully set up yet. Special attention should be given to this structure.

Then, there is CADAT, which representents the Cape Town-Dakar-Tunis axis.This organization within the UIHJ aims to achieve, in Africa, a harmonization of the statute of the judicial officer, on the basis of the principle of best practice, in order to create in Africa a legal area allowing freedom of movement of legal documents and judgments.

Finally there are the UIHJ-Euros : UIHJ-Euromed, UIHJ-Euronord, UIHJ-Euroscandinavia, and UIHJ-Eurodanube. Actually, UIHJ-Euromed is directed from the board while the other “UIHJ-Euros” are more autonomous both in the field of organization and in the field of implementation, and aim at identifying regional interests and promote them. It would be perhaps desirable to better coordinate the funcitoning of the different Euros. Dialog between the various secretaries improves. This is a step in the right direction.

In Article 2, paragraph a. of our statutes, the objectives are clearly defined: “the representation of the Union and of its members with other international organizations and co-operation to their activities”.
The UIHJ operates worldwide, and is respected on the international scene. We should get a maximum benefit from this position with international organizations.
The UIHJ is a memer of the Economic and Social Council of the The United Nations (UN) as a Non-Governemental Organisation. This statute should be adequately promoted.

Within the UN there is the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNICITRAL). The General Assembly gave UNICTRAL the general mandate to further the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade, inter alia by co-ordinating the work of organizations activez in this field and encouraging co-operation among them.This organization becomes more influencial. It seems that it is worth to try to be intergrated into it.

Contacts were made with the World Bank. There is not any doubt that it is important for the UIHJ to take part in certain projects, in particular where modifications and reinforcemet of legal systems are at stakes.

The UIHJ has collaborated with The Hague Conference of Private international Law for several decades. We are strongly invested in important topics for the UIHJ, until now, primarily in a reactive way. It is in the interest of the Union to also adopt, whenever it is possible, a pro-active attitude. Our objective with The Hague Conference is to form a working group with experts of our respective organisations to establish a cooperation programme for the three next years.

We will have to also grant more attention to international continental organizations such ALI (American Law Institute) and Mercosur (Regional organization of the treaty of South America) in particular within the framework of IDJPEX. For South America, we will focus on the following items: an effective legal apparatus and the implementation of the judicial officer as a liberal professional.

In Africa, the UIHJ will have to try to integrate organizations like the Organization for the harmonization in Africa of business law (Ohada) and all our efforts will have to unfold so that the Uniform Act project concerning the statute of the African judicial officer succeeds. This Uniform Act is the result of a long collaboration between the various judicial officers of the Ohada zone. This is also important for the Cadat program and the future developments in Southern Africa (SADEC countries). The training program should start as soon as possible.

Moreover, it would be necessary to widen our influence within the Arab Ligue in order to start there a program aiming at harmonizing enforcement laws and the statute of the judicial officer.

Lastly, the UIHJ should integrate the African Union. The AU was created with the aim, inter alia, to accelerate the process of integration on the continent in order to make it possible for Africa to play its part in the worldwide economy while making efforts to help resolve multiform social, economic, political and legal problems with which it is confronted, theses problems being accentuated by certain negative effects of globalization.
As regards Asia, all is still open.

In Europe, the UIHJ is already well integrated within the Council of Europe and the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) as well as within the European Union and the European Commission. But we will have to collaborate in more structured way, especially on the level of the European Union.

It is important to note that within the European organizations, the UIHJ is regarded as the archetypal organization which represents the “agent in charge of the service of documents” and the “enforcement agent”, i.e.: the judicial officer. The fact that the UIHJ is actually a worldwide organization always have generated positive effects until now. The fact in particular that judicial officers are represented by a one and single organization, contrary to judges and lawyers, is perceived in an extremely positive way.

Since 2004, the UIHJ, as an NGO, is an observer member at the CEPEJ and participates in the plenary meetings which take place twice a year. Since 2009, the UIHJ takes part in a working group (CEPEJ-GT-EXE) of which the goal is to make specific proposals in order to lead to a better implementation of recommendation Rec(2003)17 of the Council of Europe relating to enforcement, including harmonization of enforcement law and the statute of the enforcement agent, in the forty seven Member States of the Council of Europe. Here is a good example of the influence which can be exerted within this organization with decisional capacity. There too, the UIHJ should try to form a working group with the keyplayers of the CEPEJ, to establish a cooperation program for the folowing years.

In the European Union, the UIHJ intervened rather in an ad hoc way, especially within the European Judicial Network (EJN). In 30 May 2008 was created the “Discussion Forum on policies and practices of the European Union as regards justice”, a new structure considered as a key place where European authorities can act jointly with the “law professionals”. Contrary to the EJN, the European Forum is regarded as the place where all European political matters as regards justice are discussed with the drafting of a green book. According to the European Commission, this dialog is “essential at all level of the conception and the implementation of policies relating to justice in order to examine the means to improve legal cooperation and the promoting the European area of justice... In a more general way, we must know if the European area of justice functions well and if the users and those who work there are satisfied”. The UIHJ is a member of this Forum but, here also, it is a question for the UIHJ of trying to form a working group to propose a cooperation program for the years to come. That will have to be done in various fields and surely in the field of E-justice and in that of training.

It is desirable that the UIHJ sets up a working group which would react to the various green books as those which appeared lately: the green book on European attachment of banking assets, the green book on patrimonial transparency and the green book on the Brussels I Regulation. Since the national chambers of judicial officers can also react to these documents, the UIHJ could coordinate the various reactions, the ideal being to give a common reaction. The UIHJ could bring its expertise at the time of a suitable invitation to tender and thus, possibly, generate incomes.

According to the statutes, one of the objectives of the UIHJ consists of “the creation and the organization of any service or network aiming at ensuring the connection between judicial officers of the various States, in particular with regard to crossborder debt collecting and the international transmission of judicial and extra-legal documents”.
The UIHJ must thus support the creation of a European network of judicial officers within the framework of a cooperative project in the field of service of documents and debt collecting, which implies the development of an electronic tool that the judicial officers of the countries of the European Union could use in cases of crossborder covering. It is also important to inform also the general public of the activities of the judicial officer. This project is driven by the French National Chamber of judicial officers. It is necessary to really set up the worldwide network of the Committee of the UIHJ in order to collect accurate statistical data.

During the following years, the UIHJ will have to focus on the E-justice policy. In Europe, one rely on a wide E-justice portal on which each citizen, professional or not, will all be able to find everything information in the legal field. It is only in June 2007 that discussions were engaged to the Council of Justice and Interior Affairs about the creation of this portal. From May 2008 was published the report of the Communication Commission of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee, a report entitled “Towards a European strategy of E-justice”. In November 2008, was adopted a European action plan on E-justice and in December 2008, the European Parliament adopted a resolution including recommendations for the Commission as regards E-justice. The Member States of the European Union are more and more convinced that, to create a European legal area, it is necessary to use and to fully benefit from the possibilities offered by ICT (Information and Communicaiton Technologies).

Within Europe, E-justice policy developed at institutional level but it appears such a top-down strategy is limited. The European Commission, within the Justice Forum, thus asked their opinion to the professionals and particularly the organizations representing these professionals, and therefore to the UIHJ.
The UIHJ should thus form a commission which would consider the whereabouts of E-justice and which would come before the E-justice European Commission with specific proposals. The UIHJ should indicate which data are essential for the judicial officer in the case of international debt collecting so that it can go to seek them on this E-justice portal.

The UIHJ therefore will have to engage more actively in the developments of legal matter. Currently, there are many threats but also many opportunities in particular as regards E-justice and training. The UIHJ as worked in details on a project known as “Draft Directive of the European Council and the European Parliamen on the creation of a harmonized document initiating proceedings in civil and commercial matters”. It should be presented to the European instiutions. Our other proposals should have to be presented in the same way.

Also enter in the framework of the financing of the Commission the activities of the International Training Counsel (CIF) of the UIHJ and, in particular, the objective to give to the judicial officers a common education level through transverse subjects (in particular European instruments but also training of trainers, communication, etc). Meanwhile, a first contact is already established with the Directorate of Justice Freedom and Security (JFS) in particular for training. We were told by the Directorate that the UIHJ meet all the decisive criteria to obtain the financing for its projects.

Moreover, the UIHJ will have to endeavor to train more experts in order to be an essential partner in all kinds of markets such as it is currently the case with the Balkans Enforcement Reform Project (BERP). It is a way of achieving another important goal of the UIHJ, i.e. the spreading of ideas, studies, projects and initiatives tending to improve, rise and promote the most adequate independent statute to answer the requirements of good performance of justice and the respect of the rights of all parties.
Even if a great number of activities are aimed towards Europe, it goes without saying that, in the end, these activities will have their repercussion and will be also implemented in America, Africa and Asia. For Africa and Asia, there also are many (financed) legal programs from Europe and America, where the UIHJ could play a part.

A major tool to conclude these projects is initially a thorough communication, within the UIHJ and with outside authorities. We will have to adapt and regulate consequently our internal communication so that the various networks can really start to operate. Of course, its is always possible to install a communication system by e-mail and Internet network but that will never replace human contacts and of people will thus remain necessary to both ends of the chain.

All this strategy requires from everyone an intensive participation in the various projects and it would be expected that the national chamber are committed with us in this way, for example through personal assistance.
Inevitably, the UIHJ will have to be equipped with a professional secretariat, which will have to be included in the available budget.
The challenges that await the UIHJ are enormous and the next years will be decisive for the future of the judicial officer.
We should all be conscious of the risks our profession is faced. We shoud also all be conscious of the importance of the opportunities and prospects which are offered to us. Actions and stakes exceed more and more national levels being in Europe in Africa, in Asia or in America.

It is thus only together that we will be able to face these issues and to move on.

Our Union will be our strength.

Leo Netten

President of the UIHJ

Our Union is our Strength
September 2009
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