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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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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurAfricaSéparateurCongoSéparateurSéminaire Ufohja à Brazzaville - 6 et 7 octobre 2005
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2nd Meeting of African and European Judicial Officers in Cameroon

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On 27-29 October 2010 the UIHJ organized with the National chamber of the judicial officers of Cameroon the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers, under the high patronage of Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon.

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During the opening ceremony, from L; to R.: Polycarpe Diméné Yomba, president of the Steering Committee of the seminar, Jean-Michel Rouzaud, president of the ENEP of Paris, Alain Ngongang Simé, president of the NCJO of Cameroon, Amadou Ali, vice-prime minister, minister for justice of Cameroon, Leo Netten, president of the UIHJ, Jean Poumane Akan, Minister, technical adviser at the Presidency of the Republic, Françoise Andrieux, general secretary of the UIHJ
Nearly six hundred participants

After Gabon where had been inaugurated in Libreville in October 2008 the First meeting of African and European judicial officers, it was time for Cameroon to accommodate the many fellow-members coming from the two continents to exchange and inform themselves during the two days of a conference placed under the topic of “The Judicial officer at the era of the economy of knowledge”.

Fourteen countries and nearly six hundred participants convened at the Congress Palace of Yaoundé: Algeria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, France, Gabon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Niger, Togo and Senegal. The board of the UIHJ was represented at its highest level, by its president, Leo Netten, its 1st vice-president, Bernard Menut, its vice-president, Honoré Aggrey, and its treasurer, Dominique Aribaut-Abadie, and also by its general secretary, Françoise Andrieux, and its 1st secretary, Mathieu Chardon. Invited by the UIHJ, Christophe Bernasconi, 1st secretary of The Hague Conference on private international law, had traveled in order to represent this major international organization near the authorities and the judicial officers. Jean-Michel Rouzaud, president of the National school of procedure of Paris (ENP), partner of the UIHJ within the framework of the Training Unit of African Judicial officers (Ufohja), would have missed this event for nothing in the world as it was also set to celebrate the training of judicial officers.

One must initially notice that the welcome of our Cameroonian friends very certainly met up with everyone's expectations considering the reputation of this splendid country. Thanks to the pugnacity of Alain Ngongang, president of the National chamber of judicial officers Cameroon, and his Steering Committee, chaired by Polycarpe Diméné Yomba, himself a former president of the National Chamber of the Judicial officers, with a logistic and scientific relay by the UIHJ, in particular Françoise Andrieux and Luisa Lozano, secretary, all had been done to make sure that these Second meeting of African and European judicial officers would be an event which would be remembered for a very long time.

A meeting at the head office of Ohada

On October 26th as an introduction to the works of the conference a delegation consisting in Bernard Menut, Honoré Aggrey, Françoise Andrieux, Mathieu Chardon, Alain Ngongang and Christophe Bernasconi, paid a courtesy visit to the Secretariat of the Organization for the harmonization in Africa of Business Law (Ohada), whose head office is in Yaoundé. The delegation met Idrissa Kéré, director of Legal affairs and relationships to the institutions. The object of this meeting was double. On one hand, it was about renewing the contacts made with this organization of which the UIHJ is one of the ambassadors not only in Africa but also in the rest of the world. It was on the other hand about making it possible for The Hague Conference to meet the representatives of Ohada to make the Member States aware of the interest to join this organization and its various conventions, in particular the convention of 15 November 1965 on the service of documents abroad of judicial and extra-judicial documents in civil and commercial matters, or the “apostil” convention. Mr. Kéré showed himself very receptive to the presentation made by the first secretary of The Hague Conference. Bernard Menut, as for him, recalled that the installation of a statute of African Judicial officer always appeared among the priorities of the UIHJ and that this project would find an ideal framework within a uniform act of Ohada, as that had been already proposed. During the conversation, the idea of a technical meeting between Ohada and its international experts was advanced to evoke the possibility of collaboration with the UIHJ and The Hague Conference in order to integrate the harmonization of the African Judicial officer and various Hague conventions.

Meeting with the Minister for justice of Cameroon

Also as a prelude to the meeting, four formal visits took place on 27 October. First of all, the delegation of the UIHJ went to the ministry for justice of Cameroon to meet Mr. Amadou Ali, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for justice, keeper of the seals. The delegation was accompanied by the president of the National chamber of the judicial officers of Cameroon, Christophe Bernasconi, Jean-Michel Rouzaud, and Patrick Safar, representing the President of the National chamber of the judicial officers of France. Were also present Mr. Ngafessong, delegate minister in charge of the prison authorities, Justice Ngawamessia, general secretary of the ministry for justice, Mrs. Essomba, general inspector in charge of legal services, Daniel Mekobé Soné, director of Liquidation, Emile Nsoga, director of the criminal matters, Mr. Ahouvé, director of Human Rights, Mr. Awongo, director of legal professions and Mr. Fongang, head department of the Judicial officers. Leo Netten cordially thanked Mr. Ali for his invitation. He kindly requested him to address his thanks to Paul Biya, president of the Republic, to have agreed to place the meeting under his high patronage. He indicated how much the UIHJ was receptive to this important mark of interest shown by the Cameroonian State as regards the occupation of judicial officer. The president of the UIHJ presented his organization. He indicated the importance to work for the harmonization of the profession in Africa and in the world. Christophe Bernasconi stressed that this was the first visit of The Hague Conference in Cameroon. He thanked in his turn Mr. Ali for this hospitality and kindly asked him to transmit to Mr. Biya the acknowledgements of his organization. Mr. Bernasconi indicated that around a hundred States signed the “Apostil” convention and that 62 States apply the 1965 convention on the service of documents, while raising that Cameroon, as nearly all African States, were not adherent to these conventions. As regards the service convention, the first secretary pointed out that, at world level, the majority of requests are treated within two months and that the adhesion to this convention would constitute for Cameroon and the other African countries a major improvement on the matter. Honoré Aggrey evoked Ufohja and the spectacular results obtained in ten years. The vice-president of the UIHJ then pointed out the project of a uniform act of an African harmonized judicial officer. He finally announced that the next international congress of the judicial officers would take place on African ground, in Cape Town, in May 2012. On behalf of the ENP, Jean-Michel Rouzaud did not fail to recall that the UIHJ had always considered that the occupation of judicial officer would develop through training and that in thirty years the profession in France had risen on the same level as that of the other legal professions. Bernard Menut then evoked the recent Guide lines of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) adopted by the Council of Europe on 17 December 2009 on the execution of legal decisions and other enforceable titles and on enforcement agents. The first vice-president mentioned how much this text contributed to improve and reinforce the statute of the judicial officers in Europe and constituted itself as a model for the world. The Minister for justice, on his behalf and on that of the president of the Republic, thanked the delegations for travelling to Cameroon. He indicated how much Mr. Biya was receptive to the organization of such a wide event in his country. Mr. Ali indicated that Cameroon was a true cultural laboratory following the German, French and English colonization. He recalled that many legal provisions reflect this mixed-nature, but that as regards justice, the process of harmonization was always in hand. “Cameroon is a pioneer on the matter”, estimated Mr. Ali.

Meeting at the Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon

After this long, very cordial and opened meeting, the delegations went to the Presidency of the Republic where they met its General Secretary, State Minister, Laurent Esso. The president of the UIHJ very warmly thanked him. “By meeting the delegation of the UIHJ, you show your support to the Cameroonian judicial officers but also to the judicial officers of the other Ohada countries and of other African countries” he declared. Leo Netten added that, without a good enforcement and a certified service of documents, procedures cannot last and enforcement remains dead letter. After having in his turn thanked Mr. Esso for the honor which was made to The Hague Conference, Christophe Bernasconi estimated that “there is no reason for a country which has a system of liberal judicial officer not to use the Hague Convention on the service of documents which allows the direct transmission of documents between judicial officers”. Bernard Menut pointed out that the occupation of judicial officer makes it possible to fluidize legal flows and to secure exchanges and that the UIHJ had a real expertise in this field. The first vice-president noted that the UIHJ intervened at the request of countries willing to renovate and install judicial officers, to facilitate commercial exchanges and to ensure that court decisions are carried out. Honoré Aggrey judged that the cause of the occupation of judicial officer in Africa needs the support of the States. “The UIHJ helped the judicial officers to turn into liberal professionals in the Ohada zone. We want to unify what was achieved” he announced. The minister indicated that after fifty years of independence in Cameroon, things are still perfectible. He pointed out the multicultural specificity of Cameroon coming from the successive waves of colonization and the legal traditions of Common Law and Civil law. Laurent Esso recognized that it was important that the judicial officers are well trained. “You can provide us with the human resources of training” he specified, adding that “the independence of the judge and the judicial officer can attenuate the mighty power of the State”.

The delegations then very cordially visited his Excellency, Bruno Gain, ambassador of France in Cameroon, at his residence of Yaoundé. Lastly, the delegations went to the representation of the European Union in Cameroon to meet its ambassador, his Excellency Raul Mateus Paula. The meeting, at the same time cordial and technical, and thus very instructive, mainly related to the financing projects of the European Union within the framework of the agreements of Cotonou of 2000 for the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) and the European Development Funds, of which the goal is to improve the effectiveness of the assistance and a better concentration.

The effervescence of the great days

On Thursday, October 28, in the Congress Palace of Yaoundé, it is the effervescence of the great days. Nearly 600 participants as well as all the media are expecting the official opening ceremony of this long awaited Second meeting of African and European judicial officers. Many personalities also honored the meeting with their presence: members of the Government, chiefs of diplomatic missions and international organizations, the president of the Bar association, the president of the National chamber of notaries, as well as the presidents of the inter-professional and inter-employers' organizations.

It is now past 9.30 am when the actors of this ceremony appear under the applause and the cracklings of the flashes of the photographers. Then settled down at the tribune Amadou Ali, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for justice, keeper of the seals, Leo Netten, president of the UIHJ, Alain Ngongang, president of the National chamber of the judicial officers of Cameroon, Jean Poumane Akan, minister, technical adviser at the Presidency of the Republic, Jean-Michel Rouzaud, president of the ENP of Paris, Françoise Andrieux, general secretary of the UIHJ and Polycarpe Diméné Yomba, former president of the National chamber of the judicial officers of Cameroon, chair of the Steering Committee of the meeting.

In his short speech, Polycarpe Diméné first of all thanked Paul Biya, president of the Republic of Cameroon, for his moral and material sponsorship of this Second meeting of African and European judicial officers. Then addressing to Leo Netten, he indicated how much the Cameroonian Judicial officers were happy to accommodate in Yaoundé “the plenipotentiary one from now on in charge to promote the world influence of the occupation of judicial officer”. He welcomed the representatives of the ENP, the Ufohja as well as The Hague Conference on private international law. He also greeted the presence of Jacques Isnard, former president of the UIHJ and today its honorary president. He addressed to all the judicial officers of the foreign delegations of the words a particularly cordial welcome. Then, commenting on the work to come and the topic of the conference, our fellow-member estimated that “not only one such step prevents the proximity lawyers that are the judicial officers from sinking into an intellectual sclerosis, generating inertia or even decline for the professional practice, but it especially makes it possible for these experts to optimize by improving them their performances in the manner of accomplishing the mission of public service which falls to them”.

The bet of a successful globalization

In echo on these very positive words, Alain Ngongang also thanked the president of the Republic Paul Biya to have sponsored these meetings. He thanked all the participants, in particular the foreign delegations. Initially addressing to the representatives of inter-professional and inter-employers organizations whose presence testifies to the interest to reinforce their ties with the occupation of judicial officer, he said that this professional contributes to the improvement of the climate of Business in the world and in particular in Cameroon. “He contributes to “boost” the economic growth and of course to consolidate the Rule of law” he estimated. And to add: “training and the reinforcement of our professional capacities are a fundamental requirement to harmonize our role in the defense of the civil rights and to take up the need of effectiveness, efficiency and celerity which challenge us so sharply”. He confirmed the wish of his profession to reinforce its capacities through training both in domestic and international law. Addressing to Jacques “the African” Isnard, Alain Ngongang expressed to him the messages of gratitude of his fellow-members and Cameroonian colleagues for his past actions in Africa. Then he indicated that beside the international congresses, the African and European meeting held every two years constitute a date of the highest importance, “a very strategic instrument in the initial and especially on-going training policy implemented by the UIHJ to lead to world standards of the profession”. Then he ardently thanked Mr. Ali for having agreed to chair this ceremony, despite of a very busy agenda. He solemnly expressed the recognition of the board of the National chamber of the judicial officers of Cameroon for his constant solicitude and his benevolence with regard to the occupation of judicial officer. President Ngongang underlined all the justice reforms carried out under the impulse of Mr. Ali since his appointment in his capacity as Minister for justice in 2001. As regards judicial officers, he reminded that a platform of permanent consultation is in place with the ministry for justice, “allowing a real taking into account of the views expressed by the judicial officers”. “The judicial officers are full members of the wide legal family” indicated Alain Ngongang, voluntarily paraphrasing the Minister for justice. Then he stressed that the National chamber of the judicial officers of Cameroon had benefited from the multiform contribution of the Government. Alain Ngongang solemnly kindly requested the minister of justice to transmit his most sincere thanks to the Head of the State to have spontaneously and generously accepted to sponsor the meetings and to thus mark his trust and his solicitude for the occupation of judicial officer. “The judicial officer is the only and true proximity lawyer ensuring daily the implementation of the rights of citizens” he continued. This mission requires a thorough basic training but more especially a quality permanent education which forces him to constantly challenge his knowledge. Since the end of the last century, the world engulfed in a new era of the history of economy, which could be described as an era of the economy of knowledge, and which expands under the combined effect of an exponential growth of the tertiary sector, technological advancements and globalization. If there is a legal knowledge, there is an economic knowledge, a social knowledge, a cultural knowledge, etc. This coming of the economy of knowledge challenges the occupation of judicial officer in his daily routine. This results in many challenges for the profession: need for an increased versatility, to have his knowledge recognized, to find new sources as regards competence, to build a respectable and respected image in society through ethics and professional deontology. “We will win the bet of a successful globalization only if we put mankind in the center of the economy of knowledge but especially if we put him as the finality of any knowledge” judged President Ngongang. Then he endorsed the formula of the famous French humanistic writer François Rabelais: “science without conscience is only the ruin of the heart”. He ended his much applauded speech by these very inspired words: “At the time of the economy of knowledge, it is imperative for us judicial officers to make sure that our competences, our know-how and our expertise are put forward and that, beyond our respective national borders, we build a scientific legitimacy to cross time and all time related contingencies”.

Legal integration, an engine for economic integration

Leo Netten expressed his pleasure of being in Cameroon to celebrate this Second meeting of African and European judicial officers. He addressed his sincere thanks to Mr. Ali for his presence at the time of this ceremony and to the president of the Republic to have given a very particular dimension to this event. For Leo Netten, Africa and Europe maintain today the relations of partnership which do reinforce their historical and cultural relations. For as much the influences of other continents (Americas, Asia) make of Africa an important theater of operations in their strategic positioning. And economy plays a central role there. “It was imperative, for all the countries concerned, to adopt the same modern Business Law, truly adapted to economic needs, in a word clear, simple, securing relations and economic operations” considered the president of the UIHJ. African States could not remain in margin of this process. This is why organizations such as the Union of the Arab Maghreb for Northern Africa, the UEMOA for West Africa, the CEMAC for Central Africa and the SADC for Southern Africa, were created, with for objectives the realization of economic and legal integration at regional level and then the advent of the African Economic Community and the African Union. “Legal integration should be used as an engine for economic integration. It is in this context that the experience of standardization of business law of the African States was launched through Ohada”, added Leo Netten. For him, Ohada is mainly an idea - even a requirement - of the African economic operators. Taking up the remarks made by Jacqueline Lohoues-Oble, professor at law (Ivory Coast) and member of the Scientific council of the UIHJ, he reported that “the harmonization of laws and legal harmonization become a requirement because a harmonization - or rather a well carried out unification - allows exchanges, open competition, restores trust and prepares economic integration”. The judicial officers are fully concerned with this harmonization of laws. It is essential that they are concerned in this process by the harmonization of the profession. Evoking the project of a uniform statute of judicial officers initiated by his predecessor, Jacques Isnard, to this day rejected by Ohada, he measured that “this project deserves to be re-examined and reconsidered because it incontestably contributes to promote the treaty of Ohada and to consolidate the uniform act of July 1st, 1998 relating to the simplified procedures of covering and of enforcement proceedings”. Speed, effectiveness, high efficiency in the recovery of debts, such are the expectancies of any holder of an enforceable title, being an ordinary citizen, a consumer, a tradesman or a contractor, even a banking institution. President Netten then pointed out that, to meet these requirements, with time rose the profession of judicial officer, specialized in enforcement and covering, a true economic actor and pledge of security and guarantee. A private and autonomous professional, this is what the states offer in the process of modernization of their legal system. The judicial officer is a major actor of the rule of law and the economic life. The judicial officer is a central element in the functioning of the State and economy.

To contribute to the harmonization of the statute of the judicial officer

Amadou Ali declared that he considered as a great honor and a great pleasure of being able to address to the participants of the conference placed under the high patronage of Paul Biya. He presented his country as “Africa in miniature, feet in the Ocean”. “I will be your most faithful messenger of all the good things you mentioned about the President of the Republic” he promised. The Deputy Prime Minister considered that the massive presence of the participants shows the strong mobilization of the judicial officers of the world to improve their professionalism towards a justice of quality at world level. He indicated that the relations between the Chancery and the National chamber of the judicial officers “are marked with a serene climate of dialog and collaboration”. “It is the first time in nine years that I personally chair a ceremony which relates to one of the bodies of the legal professions” he continued, starting a wave of applause. He underlined his attachment to “a renovated and modernized profession made up of well trained judicial officers, intellectually and morally, and qualified professionally for a simple, efficient and complete implementation of the enforcement of legal decisions”. Within the framework of the reform undertaken, the Minister for justice announced his ambition to establish a model of judicial officer which takes account of the tradition of the Cameroonian Romano-Germanic and Anglo-Saxon legal system, and forged on legal culture. Cameroon was colonized by Germany. It was then placed under French and English supervisions recalled Mr. Ali when evoking the specificity of his country. He promised that at the conclusion of the reforms the delicate problem of the offices of judicial officers will be solved, in particular with the creation of partnerships within offices of judicial officers. “A multicultural Cameroonian law will be an example of integration of several different systems”. Mr. Ali pointed out that Cameroon takes part in the activities of Ohada, also a legal model of integration. Mentioning the meeting he granted to the delegation of the UIHJ the day before, he was delighted to share the same views on the role Ohada can play within the framework of the legal and judicial integration in Africa. “The statute of the harmonized judicial officer can only proceed from a dialog. Cameroon, under the impulse of the Head of the State, ensures you of its availability to contribute to the harmonization of the statute of the judicial officer so important to your organization” he said. Concerning training, the Minister for justice announced that his department undertakes a study for the creation of a National institute of legal studies which could be in charge of the training as well as the improvement of the legal body. This department would concern judicial officers, lawyers and notaries. Then he congratulated Leo Netten and Alain Ngongang for the choice on the topic of the meeting. This choice “shows the ability of your organization to stick to the coming of an occupation of judicial officer of quality and modern: a globalized world. That means a permanent training and an effective framing as regards ethics to make of this elite corps a body impossible to circumvent”. Amadou Ali completed a much appreciated speech in these terms: “The occupation of judicial officer requires an exemplary behavior of every moment. It is in this hope that I wish you a profitable work and declare open the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers”.

A bridge between Africa and Europe

Work of the conference began after a short interruption.
To prepare the participants to the promises of debates of a scientific quality which was going to prove of very high level, Guillaume Payan, university lecturer at the University of Maine (France), consultant UIHJ, established a bridge between Africa and Europe by means of an brilliant presentation which had as a subject: “Enforcement of legal decisions, Judicial officer and the Rule of law: the emergence of common principles in Africa and Europe”. This extremely documented work will be the published soon.

The meetings were articulated around three topics declined in three workshops: rationalization of knowledge, mutuality of knowledge and the optimization of knowledge.

The first workshop (rationalization of knowledge) begun with a first under-topic relating to the various degrees of independence between the decision and its enforcement. Leo Netten was the chair. Four speakers followed one another at the floor: Alain Ngongang, Marc Schmitz, Judicial officer in Saint-Vith (Belgium), quaestor of the Committee of the UIHJ, Rose-Marie Bruno, Judicial officer in Arles (France), ENP and Ufohja expert, and Dominique Aribaut-Abadie. Then Christophe Bernasconi very lively presented The Hague Conference on private international law of which he is the first secretary. He wondered whether it would not be possible to consider an adhesion of the 16 Member States of Ohada to The Hague Conference or the 1965 Hague Convention on the service of documents. He recognized that the UIHJ contributed to the promotion of the work of The Hague Conference on the African continent. He recalled that in fact the UIHJ was at the origin of what was going to become this 1965 convention. Sixty two States signed and use this convention. But Mr. Bernasconi pointed out that in Africa, only Botswana, Egypt, Malawi and the Seychelles signed it. “In all the States where there are liberal judicial officers, there is no reason why this convention is not used” he asserted again. In answer to these remarks Alain Ngongang promised that the National chamber of the judicial officers of Cameroon was going to be the ambassador of the 1965 Hague Convention near the authorities of Cameroon.

Mutuality and optimization of knowledge

The second workshop (mutuality of knowledge) consisted in three sub-topics. The first sub-topic, the statute, was chaired by Bernard Menut. The four speakers were Alobwede Ngolle, law professor (Cameroon), Dominique Aribaut-Abadie, Fahima Khaldi, Judicial officer (Algeria), and Carlos Calvo, president of the Chamber of the judicial officers of Luxemburg. The second sub-topic dealt with ethics. It was chaired by Honoré Aggrey. The floor was given to Jean-Claude Olombi, judicial officer in Brazzaville (Congo), former president of the national Chamber of the judicial officers of Congo, and Thierry Guinot, judicial officer (France), author of an acclaimed book on the question. The third sub-topic, also chaired by Honoré Aggrey, was centered on training. Mohamed Bousmaha, judicial officer (Algeria), Jean-Michel Rouzaud, Anne Kérisit, Judicial officer in Douarnenez (France), ENP and Ufohja expert, as well as Honoré Aggrey, successively evoked the broad outlines of the actions carried out by the ENP of Paris, Ufohja, the International Training Council created by the UIHJ, and the CADAT (for Dakar Tunis Cape-Town) project, also created at the initiative of the UIHJ.
The third workshop (optimization of knowledge), was chaired by Marc Schmitz. It focused in the core and peripheral activities of the judicial officer. The speakers, Aloyse Ndong, president of the National chamber of the judicial officers of Senegal and Elise Kogla, judicial officer (Cameroon), evoked the importance of the service of documents and enforcement in their respective countries. Then Mathieu Chardon presented the CEPEJ Guide Lines adopted by the Committee of the Ministers of the Council of Europe on 17 December 2009, estimating that this document, in the development of which the UIHJ had played a key role, constituted the base of the harmonization of the occupation of judicial officer in Europe but also in the rest of the world.

The Judicial officer in Africa of 2030


Then, a conclusive roundtable wondered about the future of the judicial officer in Africa of 2030. The roundtable attempted to emphasize the qualities of this professional as an element of guarantee, proof, and trust amidst contract law. The roundtable was chaired by Alain Ngongang and Françoise Andrieux. It included Edouard Ndock, prosecuting attorney at the Court of Appeal of the Center (Cameroon), Marie-Andre Mgwe, lawyer at the bar of Cameroon in Douala, Olivier Behle, president of the inter-employers' Group of Cameroon in Douala, and Rose-Marie Bruno.

Two major episodes ended the works. Initially was the luminous summary report of Françoise Andrieux the text of which is reproduced below. Then the recommendations of the Second Meeting of African and European judicial officers were read by Jérôme Okemba, judicial officer in Brazzaville (Congo).The text of these recommendations is also reproduced below.

The closing ceremony and the traditional handing-over of gifts proceeded in an environment at the same time solemn, serene, yet exhilarating. This ceremony accommodated at the floor Leo Netten, Mr. Ngafessong, Jacques Isnard, Honoré Aggrey, Alain Ngongang, Françoise Andrieux and Jérôme Okemba. Leo Netten greeted the exceptional work accomplished by the National chamber of the judicial officers of Cameroon, its president, Alain Ngongang, and its Steering Committee, all lengthily applauded, and the perfect organization of these meetings as well as their very high academic level. After having greeted the excellence of the work, which proceeded “in a formidable environment”, Mr. Ngafessong declared, in the name of the Minister for justice, the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers of Yaoundé closed.

Summary report of Françoise Andrieux, general secretary of the UIHJ


As president Leo Netten pointed out, the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers is only one of the expressions of the historical and traditional relations binding these two continents. Today new economic, social and political forces rise in Africa, at the favor of economic transfers and cultural dynamics. It is impossible in Africa to escape the process of globalization of the economy. However, it endeavors not to suffer from it. Its wealth in resources, men and competences, must on the contrary enable it to use it to its profit. This continent fascinates. Obviously it fascinates by its wealth (culture, traditions), its faculty to resist combined to its art in mixing progress and ancient customs... But it also fascinates by its natural wealth, an object of desire, with as a result the fact that today it is no longer Europe which turns to Africa but all the other continents, Americas and Asia, coming to lay strategic and economic bases. Then, globalization necessarily touched the structural evolution of the African economy. The African continent sees the whole world wanting to meet on its ground: the United States, Japan, China, Brazil or India.
Obviously an upheaval of the relations is established and Europe must consider that these newcomers will involve relations placed under the sign of new requirements and new priorities. A double question can be raised. Which are the prospects opened by all these dynamic for our profession? Which is the place of our profession in the economy of knowledge? The answer to these questions requires anticipating. It is necessary to see the horizon of future years, and we arbitrarily chose the horizon 2035 because it is precisely this one which Cameroon considered when it drew up a development plan called “Vision 2035” and in which is specified that one of its objectives is “an independent justice accessible to all”. From now it is also necessary to know or to agree to integrate the economy into law and justice. Indeed, the economy cannot evolve without a solid base formed by the institutions and the operating rules of these institutions. The judicial officer is precisely one of the links of the legal institutional chain. And the results of the bonds between Africa and Europe are this professional like a hyphen between the two continents. We must then precisely determine the concept of economy of knowledge which corresponds in fact to an economy based on new forms of knowledge placing competences among the highest economic goods.
The production of tangible properties is of course far from being anecdotic, but the part of what is immaterial, informational, the professional work and research in the creative processes of the whole of the wealth created does not cease growing, tending to become the principal productive force. The consensus means that we entered the economy of knowledge. That applies to all economic sectors, whether they produce traditional industrial goods, services, or knowledge like ours. Knowledge invests economy with its specific operating process. Its meets intrinsic needs for freedoms of access, diffusion, validation by the peers, opening, transparency, joint work. It is abundant, inexhaustible. Its use and its consumption generate other knowledge. Knowledge flees the closure. In a consubstantial way, it needs the sharing to develop. Consequently, co-operation and opening are self-affirmed in the economy through the sharing of knowledge.
For precisely ten years Europe has entered a phase of reflection on this new economic situation. The European Union defined in 2000 a strategy aiming at inserting the European economy in the “society of information”: it is the strategy of Lisbon. However, to inform is precisely to share the knowledge. The Lisbon Strategy aims at “making the European Union the most competitive economy of knowledge in the world and achieving full employment by 2010”. Consequently, when the judicial officers wonder about their position in the economy of knowledge, they are perfectly in tune and once again certainly the first professionals to be not only positioned on such objectives but also to consider it outside European borders to engage an international reflection on this topic.
Of course we are no philanthropists. We focus on our development including our adaptation, but having always in mind the service given to the citizen or - this is more precisely our topic today - to a commercial entity. The change of the economy will develop at commercial level competences or knowledge and in particular those produced by the professional of knowledge, or by the experts such as the judicial officers. We must thus turn our knowledge into a competitive advantage. Our raw material is our know-how, our core activities and our training, the whole being pulled by well-known dynamics: the more you train, the more activities you can encompass, and the more activities, the more you need training... Knowledge as a value will shape our profession. Adding on that, the accumulation of this raw material will benefit both to the State, which will be able to rely on a qualified professional to enforce court decisions, and to the citizens who will be find highly qualified professional to meet their needs.
To place this Second meeting of African and European judicial officers under the topic of the economy of knowledge leads us to question ourselves at various levels. We spoke about the rationalization of knowledge, about mutuality of knowledge and the optimization of knowledge, but in truth one can still consider the works of these two days under two different angles, on the one hand the sharing of knowledge and on the other hand the management of knowledge.

I - The sharing of knowledge


The economy of knowledge which emerges, and in which the rules resulting from the industrial society are called into question, will change the balance of power. In this new economy, it seems that one of the key words is co-operation, a co-operation which will allow for the sharing of our knowledge. It is then a question of determining which our exclusive privileged knowledge is, in order to share it around processes approved by all. Europe was not mistaken there when it established through jurisprudence and legal provisions the right to enforcement with the Hornsby v. Greece case and recommendation 17 together with its Guide Lines as initially pointed out Guillaume Payan, followed by the instructive developments of Mathieu Chardon. Here the optimization of knowledge consists in exploiting our core activities which constitute most of the time the center of our monopoly like the service of documents, for example, which shares the same forms in Cameroon and in Senegal, as indicated Mrs. Kogla and Mr. Ndong. For instance, we have understood the immense interest which results in the facilitation of the circulation of our documents, which is the purpose of the Hague Convention on the service of documents, as shown by the first secretary of the Hague Conference, Christophe Bernasconi. The optimization of knowledge is also about making our knowledge profitable to offer a full service to citizens, ranging from legal advice to the representation of parties before courts, while including the securing of documents in immovable matters, as wished for by Mr. Ndong, according to the principle of the multi-field judicial officer of the UIHJ, as well as - a parameter not to be neglected - according to the economic need for our offices, as mentioned by Mrs. Kogla.
But the benefit of our knowledge and their sharing can only happen if we all have the same rights and obligations. It is through these two elements which all the pillars supporting our profession that a new approach can be made, that on the mutuality of our knowledge, and a normative quality approach of our assets: statutes, deontology. This already mentioned idea of sharing announces the first steps of harmonization. How can we share our statutes and our ethical rules? First of all by communicating with others, as mentioned Dominique Abadie. “It is necessary that we advertize our know-how” she declared. Then maybe the Cameroon example can be inspiring, explained Mr. Alobwede Ngolle, as this country successfully harmonised the English and French-speaking statutes.
Justice is expected to bring solutions. When it has to be implemented, only one professional is concerned: the judicial officer, who is for Dominique Abadie, THE enforcement specialist. The judicial officer must be the one bringing security and guarantee while meeting selective and quality standards. He is the only professional of the judicial law and enforcement proceedings. He can, through his expertise, avoid lengthy and expensive trials, indicated Carlos Calvo. It is therefore important that his action is set both within a legal and formal statute and meet ethical rules which, by essence, are not all codified, not more in Europe than in Africa, as explained Jean-Claude Olombi, which, paradoxically, is not an exemption from them. Thierry Guinot installed the triptych independence-objectivity-probity which is the base of ethical standard when combined with loyalty, spirit of cohesion and reliability. These words, simple, and so beautiful by the sense they cover, are precisely values to be shared, common to all of us and our most treasured possession, as was appreciated by Jean-Claude Olombi. Thus the trust that this professional will develop, as his best practices will have been shared and applied everywhere, will allow considering a new harmonized order to participate to the proper development of economy. Indeed, economic partners, certain to find everywhere a legitimate and responsible professional, will not hesitate to ask for their assistance, as they know they will collect their debts, but also that the methodology used will be standardized and will preserve their economic relation. For that, as it exists in quality management, the sharing of best practice that will lead to the long awaited harmonization must be considered.
The management of quality includes techniques of organization contributing to offer a service in conformity with standards. It allows in principle for improving the quality of the services offered and thus to satisfy the needs - expressed or not - of customers or users. It is a managerial concept which appears to be adapted to our profession and our statute which can finally be regarded as an organizational mode of our profession. It is a question of defining statutory standards up to an international common base. Thus we started with the activities to include statute and deontology, which is its crutch, to evoke the sharing of knowledge. In the second part we will evoke the management of knowledge or very simply: how to make our competences profitable, how to fully exploit them for the effectiveness of justice.
But before, as a hyphen, there is a subject that I could place neither in the sharing, nor in management, because it precisely applies to both: you guessed that I want to speak about training. There are several complementary approaches to characterize “the economy of knowledge”. One of them obviously stresses on training. The capacity to train is a decisive criterion. It is necessary to underline the collectively distributed nature of knowledge, whose role increases unceasingly. Professionals cannot stop from learning any longer, through permanent education, such as in Algeria for example, as underlined Mr. Bousmaha, this in a kind of setting of a global area network of training of the profession. Hence the creation of the multinational training mentioned by Mr. Rouzaud!
The capacity of individuals and organizations to indeed share their knowledge reflected in operational and professional competences is decisive. The management and the development of knowledge become objectives. There always was training and development of methods. One now speaks about “knowledge management”. Knowledge should be capitalized. Initially, crucial knowledge, therefore core activities as we considered them, should be identified. They should then be protected, i.e. modeled, standardized and preserved. Then they should be increased to serve the development of the profession, by leaving them sufficiently flexible to adapt to the environment and in particular to technological advances, and I want to speak here about e-Justice which is in fact a container in which to put our contents...
Generally, in this economy of knowledge, the communities of practices - professional communities - play a key role. More or less informally, they facilitate the transmission of tacit knowledge, based on experience and explicit knowledge gained by training. The circulation of this information creates indeed a collective knowledge which reinforces our profession by means of harmonization.
On the basis of this, training exchanges are already set up to support the transfer of trade knowledge. Ufohja, as recalled Anne Kérisit, is a bursting example. Co-operation and sharing constitute the link of our training through these structures. The actors of professional training are aware of their key role in the process of insertion, adaptation and readjustment of knowledge.
But we must admit however that “more training” is not necessarily an adapted answer. Quality must be privileged. It is a question of measuring its “contribution to the added-value of the profession”. Mrs. Ndong showed that training gives its true significance to the service of document. The need for training is undeniable. Training gives birth, shapes and accompanies a profession, and the profession of the future will exist through training or will not exist, hammered Mr. Rouzaud. It was vigorously confirmed as a pillar of our profession by Marc Schmitz and Alain Ngongang. And precisely once this knowledge is acquired and shared by all they should be managed, and we must learn how to use them.
And now some words about the management of knowledge

II - The management of knowledge


The management of the knowledge brought back to our profession should be understood as the body of known techniques allowing us to exert our competences in the most effective way, in all intellectual and financial independence. We want a total and non partial attribution and not only part of it. At many occasion, we recalled that law and economics are dependant. Economy is a science which observes facts, seeks the causes they generate and the laws which rule them. On the contrary, the science of law has for mission and object to formulate regulations, to draw principles and standards, and to issue regulations. Today, law and economy coordinate themselves.
This results from several factors. Initially, there is a preeminence of the economic sphere in our contemporary societies. Then, this economic sphere is regionalized or globalized, but legal provisions remain official and must then be competitive. In other words domestic provisions can be destined to inescapable changes taking into consideration their maladjustment at the development of cross-border exchanges. It is thus necessary to have domestic provisions able to cross borders within the framework of a harmonization around a common factor: of course ours concerns the judicial officer. Lastly, enforcement law rises. It secures economic exchanges on a worldwide scale and thus becomes a component of the evolution of the economic situation.
To bind law and economy, inevitably means to have in mind the principle of legal security guaranteeing any democratic government associated with the development of economic exchanges. For that, as mentioned by Guillaume Payan, the State organizes the enforcement of legal decisions in the most effective possible way: by the separation of the powers between the judge which says the law and the judicial officer which carries it out. This last must thus necessarily be an independent professional, with respect both to the creditor and the judge, according to Marc Schmitz, joined on this point by Rose-Marie Bruno who protested against the instrumentation undergone on behalf of certain creditors. He must have the choice of the enforcement measures to enforce in the most effective way: “the choice of the time and the appropriateness of enforcement belong to him” said Alain Ngongang.
This is most fortunately the case in the majority of the countries and in particular in Algeria, where the judicial officer is not only free of his actions but has a true monopoly reinforced with a field of multiple activities, as exposed by Fahima Khaldi. A jurisdictional interference in the enforcement of the decision cannot be accepted. It risks to destroy the impartial image of justice and to imprint on him the slowness of the movement described by Dominique Abadie when she evoked the example of Spain. The judge must be released from the vicissitudes of the enforcement he ordered. He entrusts it to a high level professional, responsible, impartial, effective and neutral, neither controlled, nor servile, said Rose-Marie Bruno, who will sublimate the legal thought of the judge.
On the same level, the close links existing between justice and economy can only be asserted, because an efficient decision lies on the trust of the economic operators. Beyond these considerations, the management of the knowledge can make it possible to consider the future and to anticipate.

A tool for new activities


The crisis undergone by ultraliberal globalization shows the compelling need for framing economic actors. Economy connects those who contract to formalize their relation. These relations need to be secured, controlled... Jean Ping, president of the Commission of the African Union, indicated that the African production had increased by 1.6% in 2009 and that it should reach 4.7% this year. “Thirteen African countries count on a growth between 6% and 11% for next year”, he added. The potential growth of Africa is thus quite real and the studies of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that there is a strong expectation of the world companies to invest on the continent. Any head of company needs security, guarantee, and will turn to justice with a traditional objective of effectiveness but also competitiveness.
Thanks to his statutory ambivalences the judicial officer will be able to meet these requirements. Indeed, he offers a service at the same time public and private and according to Dominique Abadie his statute participates in the establishment of the legal security. If the judicial officer supports the economic development thanks to the trust he makes possible to have in the justice system of a country, it is because he offers a guarantee within the Rule of law. He can help fighting against the organization of insolvency. It is necessary to allow the judicial officer in charge with the enforcement of a legal decision to have access to all information necessary to this enforcement, in whatever country, so that he can carry out his activities equally, without encountering the problems mentioned by Mrs. Kogla concerning the service of documents. It is not a question of having titles circulating through borders. It is important, in a second phase, to have the means to enable enforcement. For that, the judicial officer must occupy his place in information and have easy access to it. The concepts of Rule of law and legal security are dependant. On a purely economic level, what is the purpose of legal security? It aims at offering the economic actors, being managers, liberal professions or employees, a clear, simple, stable and respected legal framework.
Legal security is combined with the Rule of law, because we know that the establishment of the Rule of law and the respect of freedoms encourage development, quite simply because economy needs legal security and freedom of business. The increasing internationalization of financial markets and the speed of negotiation of operations and exchange of information call for securing financial and legal affairs. Europe took the lead on Africa in this field because this one had to take account of African law - or should we say African Laws - which crumbled under the weight of varied customs a long time considered to be responsible for the inertia and the legal insecurity of the private contractual relations because of their unpredictability and consequently, of their unreliability. The judicial officer, professional in the middle of economic relations, can become a factor of reliability and stability of these relations when given the proper means. If the State must ensure the legal security enabling to secure investments and to develop commercial exchanges it must rely on strong bodies to achieve this task and the judicial officer, as we already said and shown several times, is at the centre of economic relations.
But to define the function of the Judicial officer is a thing, it is also still necessary to define the context in which he could act in an optimized way since we considered the optimization of knowledge. We have an example under the eyes. The upheavals which our planet know and the globalization of economic exchanges led to multiple attempts at unifying the law, in particular civil and commercial, either at international level, or at regional level like in the European Union, the countries of the Gulf region and also the countries of Ohada. And it is precisely there that Africa shows its capacity, not only to adapt, but to do it in an exemplary way which thumbs one's nose at the European organization sometimes bogged down in its nationalisms. It creates Ohada, Organization for the Business law, an example for the world declared Mathieu Chardon, a legal tool imagined and produced by the African lawyers to simplify and harmonize Business Law. In mind is a question of instigating economic development and growth in French-speaking Africa by the installation of reliable tools and legal authorities. It fully proves that the sharing and the management of knowledge can only find an expression in a necessary harmonization.
The great profession of enforcement will then be able to emerge. It will find its way only through the increase, the sharing and the management of competences of the professionals who compose it. As the speakers showed with conviction, these professional judicial officers, are the essential element of the Rule of law and remain essential to any economic development.

Recommendations of Yaoundé

1 - Considering that the enforcement of legal decisions is a condition of the Rule of law where today the judicial officer is an essential element;
We, participants in the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers,

Recommend to the States to guarantee to the judicial officer freedom to choose the measurement which he estimates suitable when enforcing a legal decision without preliminary legal authorization


2 - Considering that the respect of the Rule of law and the good process of enforcement implies obligations on behalf of the States,
We, participants in the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers,

Recommend
A) - In the States, to abstain from adopting legal provisions aiming at avoiding enforcement in a temporary or final way.
B) - To the legal authorities, to avoid putting pressure or to interfere in enforcement.


3 - Considering that the preamble to the revised treaty of Ohada recognizes the need for reinforcing legal security and strengthening the Rule of Law,
Considering that, if by the uniform act organizing simplified recovery procedures and measures of execution, the harmonization of enforcement law took place, that of the actors of enforcement, which remains the essential complement to that uniform act, was rejected by the Council of Ministers of Ohada in spite of its songs of love of the standardization of the law,
We, participants in the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers,

Recommend to the International Union of Judicial Officers to again submit to the Council of Ministers of Ohada the project of a uniform of act on the harmonized statute of the African judicial officer for its adoption

4 - Considering that the good implementation by the judicial officer of his profession requires from him several qualities,
We, participants in the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers,

Recommend to the States, within the framework of the adoption or the revision of the provisions relating to the statutes of judicial officers, to include strict rules concerning discipline and deontology.

5 - Considering that training allows the judicial officer to face the requirements of multi-field activities and to be efficient in the achievement of his function,
We, participants in the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers,

Recommend to the States to set up the structures likely to ensure initial and on-going training for judicial officers.

6 - Considering that the 1965 Hague Convention on the service of documents aims at simplifying the mode of transmission of judicial and extra-judicial documents abroad,
Considering moreover that one of the transmission means instituted by the aforementioned convention is the direct communication between judicial officers,
We, participants in the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers,

Recommend to the African States and in particular those of Ohada area, to join all together or separately the 1965 Hague Convention.


7 - Considering that the opacity or the absence of information on debtors' assets favors organized insolvency,
Considering the need to have access to information relating to all parties of the proceedings in order to allow an equitable procedure,
We, participants in the Second meeting of African and European judicial officers,

Recommend to the African States to introduce to the benefit of the judicial officers effective mechanisms of information on debtors' assets.


Yaoundé, 29 October 2010
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Alphonse Kibakala, président de la CNHJC
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Mathieu Chardon
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Rita Tondo
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De charmantes hôtesses
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Séverin Somda
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Rose-Marie Bruno
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Honoré Aggrey, David Obami, Jacques Isnard, Alphonse Kibakala
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Jacques Isnard, président de l'UIHJ
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Joachim Mitolo
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Anne Kerisit
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Un panel international de consoeurs
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Une partie des participants
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