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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurEuropeSéparateurGreeceSéparateurThe Multi-field judicial officers at the heart of the 3rd UIHJ-Euromed meeting
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The Multi-field judicial officers at the heart of the 3rd UIHJ-Euromed meeting

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Seven countries took part in the 3rd UIHJ-Euromed meeting which proceeded in Athens (Greece) from 13 to 16 September, 2006

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Preketes Efthimios, President of the Chamber of Judicial officers of Athens
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Judicial officers as business partners

Under the initiative of Francoise Andrieux, former president of the departmental chamber of the judicial officers of the Bouches du Rhone (France), and the impulse of the UIHJ, UIHJ-Euromed was created in April 2004 in Marseilles between the countries of the Mediterranean area (Algeria, Spain, France, Greece, Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia). Its objective is inspired by the Process of Barcelona aiming at extending the economic relations between the European Union and the States of the African continent bordered by the Mediterranean, Its contents aim at promoting:

- the bringing together between the judicial officers of the States concerned in order to bring an effective increase in the management of their means
- an occupation of homogeneous judicial officer designed on common normative criteria which will privilege the conventional economic axes such as those attached to the activities of service of documents, enforcement, debt collecting, auctions, statements of facts, etc

Lastly, UIHJ-Euromed gathers synergies intended to support the implementation of all networks between the judicial officers, in particular in the search of a better communication, fast information and the relay as regards debt collection.

After Tunisia in 2005, it was with the turn of Greece, in its prestigious capital Athens, to greet the delegations from the countries of the Mediterranean area. All the countries convened except for Morocco, which was excused. One will also note the presence of the representatives of Cyprus and Croatia, both as guests, invited by Greece.

One must acknowledge the president of the Association of the judicial officers of Athens, Efthimios Preketes, and his board, for the excellence of the organisation of the seminar and for the warmth of their welcome. But after all, aren't they Greek? One could not forget that the meetings were coordinated with the invaluable and effective assistance of Mourad Skander, permanent secretary of UIHJ-Euromed, president of the National Order of the judicial officers of Tunisia.

The general topic of the meetings was “the judicial officer as a business partner”.

About sixty Greek judicial officers attended the conference during three days of an exceptional intensity.

It had been decided, as an experiment, to develop the various topics under the angle of comparative law. The exercise proved to be extremely interesting. It was indeed the first time that is was made possible to disclose - very often in details - the systems of enforcement and the specificities of the occupation of judicial officer in ten countries. Undoubtedly, this experiment will be renewed soon.

Finding ways to harmonise the actions of the judicial officers

In his opening speech, president Efthimios Preketes indicated his attachment to the professional training and recognised that it was necessary that the European judicial officers tend together to harmonise their activities for the installation of a European code of enforcement which seems inescapable.

Jacques Isnard, president of the UIHJ, greeting the modern thinking of the Greek president, indicated in his speech that UIHJ-Euromed had inspired the fellow-members of Central Europe and North, which had just created UIHJ-Eurodanube. President Isnard pointed out that UIHJ-Euromed has as a will to try to find ways to harmonise the actions of the judicial officers. This in order to manage to create a web around the Mediterranean and to reinforce the effectiveness of justice, with the profit of the citizens and companies, with a very definite aim also, that of a better exchange in the field of information, of information on the legal situation in a country, to intensify the gathering of the judicial officers in a world which, because of the rise of globalization, is in perpetual movement. Within this framework, continued the president, the modern judicial officer will have to consider that it is imperative to widen the field of his activities. It is necessary that the judicial officer is multi-field. It is necessary that he has a better capacity of legal knowledge. One needs common criteria on the European level, namely:

- To be a lawyer, to have made law studies
- To have carried out a training course and to have undergone a professional  examination
- to be liable for his activities
- to be subjected to a strict code of ethics
- to have to undergo an ongoing training

Vertiginous gaps

The whole of the first day was devoted to the topic of the ddebt collection.

The round table was made up of Jacques Isnard (chairman), Mohammed Chérif, president of the national Chamber of the judicial officers of Algeria, Roland Demeerleer, member of the board of the UIHJ (Belgium), Francoise Andrieux, judicial officer (France), Dragutin Sapirov, chief of the judicial officers of Zagreb (Croatia), Preketes Efthimios, president of the Association of the judicial officers of Athens, Antonio Gomes Da Cunha, president of the national Chamber of Solicitadores (Portugal) and Faycel Ben Mahfoudh, vice-president of the national Order of the judicial officers of Tunisia.

Through this topic one could see the existing vertiginous gaps between the countries. In certain countries (France, Belgium, Greece, Portugal) debt collection is a normal activity and is in full expansion. In other countries it does not exist or it is prohibited to the judicial officers (Cyprus, Croatia, Tunisia). As for Algeria, only the judicial officer can proceed to it.

The speakers were literally flooded by the questions from the room, showing all the interest of this activity for the profession and proving that the UIHJ had proved visionary when it had initiated in April the 2004 the first world bases of debt collection in Brussels (Belgium).

The second topic related to information on the debtor.
The round table joined together Kotsas Hagikotseas (Cyprus), Mohammed Bousmaha, member of the regional chamber of the judicial officers of the centre of Algeria (Algeria), Andreas Androutsopoulos (Greece), Preketes Efthimios (Greece), Roland Demeerleer (Belgium), Christian Lorenzo Ruiz Martinez (Spain), Stephan Gensollen, member of the UIHJ (France), Jose Vieira, president of the national chamber of Solicitadores of enforcement (Portugal) and Faycel Ben Mahfoudh (Tunisia).

There, the report is rather disappointing. Very often, the judicial officer does not have means of investigations other than that of any citizen. For this reason, one can only note that the countries are far from filling the wishes of the recommendation Rec (2003) 17 from September 9, 2003 of the Committee of the ministers of the Council of Europe to the Member States as regards enforcement. The recommendation specifies indeed that the research and the seizure of the goods of the debtors should be made as effective as possible, and than the collection of information necessary concerning the debtor should be fast and effective via relevant information contained in the registers or other sources. That is far from being the case in the majority of the countries. Stephan Gensollen made a brilliant presentation to show all the interest of information within the framework of a good administration of justice. If in France, the judicial officer can question directly the National registry of the bank accounts, he must address to the public prosecutor to obtain the information concerning the address of the debtor and the references of his employer. The system of inscription of real estates not being centralised, it is practically impossible to know if a debtor has immovable goods without indicating a precise address. To Portugal, the access to the information passes through the judge.

In particular, the one line access of the information is not yet widespread. And yet, it constitutes the simplest, fastest, and least expensive means. For his part, Mohammed Bousmaha stressed that the selected topic is revealing the maturity of the vision of the UIHJ and also of the relevance of its action throughout the world which aims to accompany with an expert hand the movements of judicial reforms carried out by the States and the various international institutions. Each one finally agreed for saying that the judicial officers, carrying an enforceable title, must have a direct and fast access to information in order to allow an effective enforcement, in the respect of the rights of the defendant.

Reinforcing the financial structures of the offices

The subject of the third round table was the search of evidence. The participants were Mourad Skander, permanent secretary of UIHJ-Euromed (Tunisia), chairman, Kotsas Hagikotseas (Cyprus), Mohammed Bousmaha, (Algeria), Dionysis Kriaris, treasurer of the Association of the judicial officers of Athens (Greece), Helias Zachacos, secretary of the Association of the judicial officers of Athens (Greece), Preketes Efthimios (Greece), Roland Demeerleer (Belgium), Christian Lorenzo Ruiz Martinez (Spain), Francoise Andrieux (France), Antonio Gomes Da Cunha (Portugal) and Hatem Mechalah, member of the council of the national Order of the judicial officers of Tunisia, in charge of training (Tunisia).

Mourad Skander indicated that within the framework of the constitution of evidence, the judicial officer has to intervene in particular with the drawing up of statements of facts and summons at the request of the citizens. Through his statements, the judicial officer has to establish the proof of a de facto situation and to concentrate on the material elements of them. Nowadays, the statements of facts present, in the majority of the countries, a large volume of activities which does not cease to develop in the work of the judicial officers. The statement of fact is so present in Algeria in the system of the modes of evidence that the judicial officers have the monopoly of it. In France or Belgium, the statements of facts constitute a de facto monopoly, because of the quality and the professionalism of the judicial officers who carry them out daily. The statements of facts constitute a true benefit on the public service of justice pointed out Francoise Andrieux in her intervention, because they often determine the issue of the lawsuit and make it possible very often to avoid them, the faulty defendant preferring an arrangement with his creditor to the erring of a lawsuit of which he would be the losing one. In addition, the statements of facts are a significant deserved and salutary element for the timelessness of the offices of judicial officers. The countries present which do not practise the statement of facts or which did not know them were very curious towards this domain of future activities.

The fourth and last workshop approached the double subject of an extreme topicality: that of the networks and the future prospects for the judicial officers in comparison with the European legislation. To discuss it, the round table gathered Mourad Skander (Tunisia), regulator, Kotsas Hagikotseas, (Cyprus), Mohammed Chérif (Algeria), Preketes Efthimios (Greece), Christian Lorenzo Ruiz Martinez (Spain), Francoise Andrieux, (France), Mathieu Chardon, first secretary of the UIHJ (France) and Antonio Gomes Da Cunha (Portugal).

The topic of the networks was approached by Francoise Andrieux. Our colleague explained that the safeguard of the profession must be done by the trans-border standardisation and the financial perpetuation. Ultimately, she indicated, the network makes it possible to reinforce the financial structure of the offices, to meet the request of the customers, to consider a better geographical distribution and to use harmonised methods.
For Mathieu Chardon (France), it is vital that the UIHJ is in the heart of the European institutional debates. One cannot make the Europe of the law without consulting the law professionals. The judicial officers being in charge of the execution, they must take share with the legislative process. It seems, that this is the direction were we are heading for, indicated the first secretary of the UIHJ. We are now present in the institutions and regularly take part in the meetings which relate to the European legal Network, the European Commission for the efficiency of justice (CEPEJ), or the application of the European instruments like the 1348/2000 of May 29, 2000 regulation as regards service of documents.

47 new Greek colleagues

After three enthralling but harassing days - in particular for the translators of which it is necessary to greet the excellence of the work - everyone was invited to a memorable evening where traditional music and dance took over on the scientific conversations of the day. In particular the musical talents of Efthimios Preketes on Bouzouki made the admiration of all. And the judicial officers were once again honoured: no less than 47 young Greek judicial officers celebrated their appointment during the evening. President Isnard was required to handle the diplomas to the candidates. There is no doubt that our new fellow-members, whom we greet in the worldwide family of the judicial officers, will have been touched by this honour made by the president of all the judicial officers with enthusiasm and the warmth that we know from him.

As for the interest of UIHJ-Euromed, it does not need to be proven anymore. We impatiently await the next meetings whose place and date will be revealed soon.
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Christian Lorenzo Ruiz Martinez - Spain
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Roland Demeerleer - Member of the board of UIHJ
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Second "round table"
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Stéphane Gensollen - France
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Faycel Ben Mahfoudh - Tunisie
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Françoise Andrieux
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Jacques Isnard
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José Vieira - Portugal
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A part of the crowd
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Mohamed Bousmaha - Algeria
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Dragutin Sapirov - Croatia
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First "round table"
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kotsas Hagikotseas - Cyprus
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Dionysis Kriaris - Greece
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Mohamed Chérif - Algeria
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View of Athens
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Mourad Skander
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Helias Zachacos - Greece
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