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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurInstitutionsSéparateurCouncil of EuropeSéparateurThe Service of Document at the Heart of Judicial Reform in Morocco
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The Service of Document at the Heart of Judicial Reform in Morocco

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The UIHJ participated From 29 October to 1 November 2012 in a CEPEJ Mission in Morocco, in the Framework of the South Programme Funded by the European Union and Carried out by the Council of Europe

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The CEPEJ delegation and the representatives of the National Order of the Judicial Officers of Morocco, in Agadir
 
Strengthening Democratic Reform in the Southern Neighbourhood
 
As part of this mission, for the first time, the National Order of the Judicial Officers of Morocco received a delegation of the Council of Europe.
The programme "Strengthening democratic reform in the Southern Neighbourhood," also called "South Programme" aims to support the process of political and democratic reform in the countries of the South of the Mediterranean in accordance with European and international standards. Programme activities are targeted today in Morocco and Tunisia, but are forced to expand to other countries.
Launched in January 2012, this 3-year programme aims to accompany democratic and political reforms in the Southern Mediterranean countries, following a demand driven and targeted approach. The Programme focuses on four specific objectives:
    1. To enhance efficiency and independence of the judiciary by improving Courts' performance and by facilitating judicial reform, using as a reference relevant Council of Europe standards.
    2. To promote good governance through increased prevention of corruption and money laundering on the basis of the relevant Council of Europe standards, mechanisms and instruments, and to improve the basic framework for regional co-operation.
    3. To strengthen and protect human rights, in particular through the prevention and control of trafficking in human beings in line with the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings and other international standards.
    4. To promote democratic values in the region, building on Council of Europe existing networks such as those developed by the North-South Centre, the Youth Department, the Pompidou Group, the Venice Commission, the Schools of Political Studies and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The areas of co-operation with the countries in the Southern neighbourhood are decided in accordance with the specific needs expressed by each country, with reference to shared values of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. Some activities will be implemented over the period 2012- 2014 throughout the region
With regard to the reform of the justice generally, the Programme South to strengthen the independence and effectiveness of justice through the development of the regulatory framework, improving the performance of courts and facilitate the process of justice reform in light of the standards of the Council of Europe. The work of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) is part of the component 1 of the project: Reform of the Judiciary.
On the basis of a detailed analysis of the efficiency of justice, this component seeks to support the countries of the region in their judicial reform efforts and, more precisely, to enhance independence and efficiency of the judiciary by improving Courts' performance. It is expected that legislation is further adapted and implemented, that the legislation pertinent to the judicial system is improved, in conformity with Council of Europe, European Union and international standards.
The initial activities to be carried out will include notably:
-    the evaluation of the efficiency of a sample of courts of first instance of the civil jurisdiction
-    the enlargement of the evaluation of the efficiency of courts to civil and penal jurisdictions
-    the design of a working plan for the reform of the judiciary
-    the submission to the authorities of legal expertise on the legal framework of the judiciary
-    the evaluation of the curricula of the magistrate's schools
-    the organisation of specialised training courses on European and international standards
-    the participation of the beneficiaries in the activities of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)
-    The delivery of recommendations related to the regional organisation of the judiciary.
 (Source: Council of Europe).
For more information:
http://south-programme-eu.coe.int/default_EN.asp?

Meeting the Actors of the Moroccan Judiciary
 
Thus, the CEPEJ mission is to establish a detailed diagnosis of the Moroccan judicial system using the methodology employed in the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe. To date, a visit made in June 2012, allowed the CEPEJ to collect key information and qualitative and quantitative indicators on the Moroccan judicial system. In the light of the information gathered, the CEPEJ experts have produced a first report and recommendations relating to this work (CEPEJ (2012) 7).
A second visit of CEPEJ experts went to Morocco from 29 October to 1 November 2012, in Rabat, Casablanca and Agadir. The mission was to meet other key actors of the Moroccan judiciary and gather additional information on the judicial system.
The CEPEJ delegation was composed of:
• Joao Arsenio de Oliveira, director of services at the Directorate General of Justice Policy, Ministry of Justice of Portugal, Member of the CEPEJ for Portugal and member of the working group of the CEPEJ Quality;
• Clementina Barbaro, Head of Unit at the Secretariat of the CEPEJ;
• Luc Briand, Judge, deputy to the head of the Bureau of expertise and institutional issues, Department of European and International Affairs, Ministry of Justice, National Correspondent for France at the CEPEJ;
• Jacques Bühler, PhD, Deputy Secretary General, representative of Switzerland at the CEPEJ, President of the SATURN-judicial delays group of the CEPEJ;
• and Mathieu Chardon, judicial officer (France), First secretary of the International Union of Judicial officers.
Under a five-day visit perfectly organized, the experts were able to meet most of the players of the Moroccan judiciary. No less than sixteen meetings closely followed, in Rabat, Casablanca and Agadir. The delegation thus met:
- The Ministry of Justice and Freedoms
- The Moroccan Organization for Human Rights
- The Delegation of the European Union
- The Higher Institute of the Judiciary
- The Higher National Dialogue for Justice Reform
- The World Bank
- The Club of Judges
- The Association of Officials of the Ministry of Justice
- The American Bar Association
- The Moroccan Association of Women Judges
- The Democratic Union of Justice
- The Court of First Instance in Casablanca
- The Hassanian Judges
- The National Order of Judicial Officers of Morocco
- The Bar of Agadir
- The Administrative Court of Agadir
The delegation received a warm welcome everywhere. The meetings were extremely open.
A profound reform of the judiciary is underway in Morocco. This reform makes the headlines. Its initiative, a premiere, is unanimously recognized by all. It is described as historical and unprecedented, though some criticize its implementation.

Improving the Service of Documents

 
The service of documents is considered as one of the causes of the slowness and inefficiency of the current system. This is why the CEPEJ asked from the UIHJ the expertise of its First Secretary, Mathieu Chardon.
The interviewees expressed their grievances regarding the service of documents and in particular of the documents instituting proceedings.
According to the Code of Civil Procedure, the notice of hearing is made at the request of the Registrar, either by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt or by the care of a judicial officer. The letter is considered inefficient and returns most of the time without being able to contact its recipient.
One of the major problems mentioned is the difficulty of serving the document to the addressee. Often the recipient hides to avoid receiving the document. Sometimes, it is the applicant who gives a false address to obtain more easily a court judgment. When the recipient cannot be found, a curator is appointed to serve the document, but his action is globally considered as ineffective. Another problem is the cost of 30 dirhams (about 3 euros) allocated to the judicial officer for the service of document.
The meeting with the National Order of the Judicial Officers of Morocco (ONHJ) allowed focusing on all existing problems. The meeting was held on 1 November 2012 in Agadir, at the headquarters of its regional council. A dozen Moroccan colleagues, some wearing the official court costume for the occasion, reserved the best welcome to the CEPEJ delegation. The President of the ONHJ, Redouanne Benhammou, said it was a great honour for his organization to receive the visit of an institution as important as the Council of Europe and that this was a first visit. Abdelaziz Fouganni, former president of the ONHJ and its current first vice-president, in charge of international aspects, responded willingly to all the questions of the delegation. He confirmed that the main problem of notification was twofold. On the one hand, locating the addressees of the documents is problematic. On the other hand, the sum of 30 dirhams (about 3 euros) allocated to judicial officers is totally inadequate for serious work. It has been estimated by the ONHJ that, given the standard of living in Morocco, a sum of at least 100 dirhams (about 10 euros) was essential to ensure a quality service.
But the pecuniary claims of ONHJ are minor compared to the overall vision of the mission they claim in the context of the service of documents.
The spokesman of the ONHJ Abdelaziz Fouganni said to the - pleasant - surprise of the CEPEJ delegation that he considered that the CEPEJ Guidelines on enforcement and on the profession of enforcement agent adopted on 17 December 2009 by the Committee of Ministers of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe were a model for Morocco. "This document is extraordinary. It has everything and it is truly universal. It can be applied in Europe but it can also be applied in Morocco and around the world" he said. He continued by stating that he had translated this document into Arabic.
With regard to the service of documents, Mathieu Chardon recalled that for the symposium organized by the UIHJ in Sibiu (Romania) in 2009 to mark the 10th anniversary of the European Summit in Tampere, the UIHJ had prepared a draft EU directive of a harmonized document initiating proceedings. This project and a report on the service of documents in Europe were published by the UIHJ in its scientific journal "Juris-Union No. 3" (September 2009) under the title "The introduction of Trial: the Weak Link of the European Judicial Area ". Mr Fouganni considered that the UIHJ proposals could apply to Morocco.
A report is being drafted by the CEPEJ experts for the end of November 2012. It will contain recommendations to be taken into account in the framework of the South Programme.
The UIHJ will follow with great interest the development of the reform of the judiciary in Morocco.
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The CEPEJ delegation and the representatives of the National Order of the Judicial Officers of Morocco, in Agadir
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The CEPEJ Delegation with Abdallah Boujida, President of the First Instance Court of Casablanca
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At the Higher Institute of the Judiciary in Rabat, with its Director, Amine Ennabli
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The information system of the First Instance Court of Casablanca
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The First Instance Court of Casablanca
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