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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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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurEuropeSéparateurSloveniaSéparateurTowards a harmonization of the occupation of judicial officer in the EU
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Towards a harmonization of the occupation of judicial officer in the EU

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At the time of the international conference which was held in Ljubljana on April 12, 2007, the UIHJ recalled the importance of the harmonization of the occupation of judicial officer and the procedures of execution in the European Union

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From L. to R.: Rajko Kotnic, State Secretary for Justice of Slovenia, Jacques Isnard, President of the UIHJ and Tatjana Krivec, President of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of Slovenia
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A difficult context

Alerted on the alarming situation of the occupation of judicial officer in Slovenia by Tatjana Krivec, president of the National Chamber of the judicial officers of Slovenia, the UIHJ had on gone to Ljubljana on August 30 to September 1, 2006 in order to meet the authorities (see article on our website: Hopes and fear of the Judicial officers of Slovenia- 2006).

After these meetings it was decided to organize an international conference in Ljubljana having for topic: “Harmonization of the occupation of judicial officer and the procedures of execution in the European Union”. This conference made it possible to hear representatives of the profession from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Romania, Portugal and Slovenia and to discuss with them.

The near total of the 41 judicial officers were present, as well as Mr. Rajko Kotnik, State Secretary for Justice of Slovenia and some representatives of the authorities.

After some words of introduction pronounced by Tatjana Krivec, who welcomed all the participants and the delegation of the UIHJ lead by its president, Jacques Isnard, and the speakers from seven countries, Rajko Kotnik, State Secretary for Justice has, in his turn welcomed all in the name of the ministry of Justice and on its personal behalf. Mr. Kotnik pointed out that “the procedure of enforcement is of great importance in the organization of justice” and that “one of the integral parts of this procedure of enforcement is the judicial officer”. He briefly evoked the history of the occupation of judicial officer in Slovenia leading to the reform of 1998 and the creation of a liberal body of judicial officers in 2002 characterized by the fact that the members of this profession exert only part of the enforcement procedures, primarily the attachment of tangible movable property. One of the problems, deplores Mr. Kotnik, is the delay in the treatment of the cases in front of the courts, the execution of the decisions of court belonging to the jurisdictional process. According to Mr. Kotnik, a bill, known as the Lukenda bill, would have effects by 2010, by simplifying the work of the judge and by exonerating him from part of it, notably with automation of certain procedures, following the example of Austria and Germany.

Three professions

Speaking in his turn, Jacques Isnard launched out in a plebiscite for the harmonization of the occupation of judicial officer in the European Union. Addressing to the Slovenian fellow-members and to the representatives of the authorities, “The European Union is a reality. You are members of the EU. There are rules which are essential. The EU must be based on the principles of freedom, security and justice. All the countries will have to respect these standards. All the European systems are articulated around three pillars, of three law professions: lawyer, judge, judicial officer. The judge should only judge litigations. We want to allow and facilitate the installation of a harmonized occupation of judicial officer. The countries which want to transgress this elementary rule of triple pillar are in the wrong. This pillar exists and is irreversible. The three professions must share the same basic knowledge. It is a mistake to imagine that Slovenia will be able to set up a system based on an imbalance. The creation of the area of freedom, security and justice had the consequence to install a fair system of enforcement in the countries and a fair trust between the countries. If the countries do not have the same professions, the chain is broken. It is essential to establish common standards so that the professions are based on the same model, which is that of a profession with a liberal and independent status with a high level of legal training”.
 
A single dispenser

Then it was the turn of Anton Lojowski, Gerichtsvollzieher in Austria, to evoke the enforcement system in his country. Our fellow-member proved particularly critical with respect to the system in force in Austria, estimating that the occupation of judicial officer, which is not the subject of the same development as in the majority of the other European Union countries, suffers from an important lack of effectiveness.

Mathieu Chardon, judicial officer in Versailles and first secretary of the UIHJ, presented the system in force in France. The key of the effectiveness, summarized our fellow-member, resides in the fact that it is the judicial officer, who is an independent professional exerting in a liberal but strictly controlled form, who intervenes in the whole of the enforcement procedures envisaged by the law. He acts, to some extent, as a single dispenser. To allow this the French judicial officer must have high legal competences, as the judge, the notary or the lawyer, and follow a thorough training. In addition, the mission of the French judicial officer is not limited to the sole enforcement, which represents only part of its activities. He serves the procedural documents, which is an essential element of security of the exchanges in legal matter. He draws up reports, which is essential to the material finding of evidence. He carries out voluntary or legal public auction sales. He carries out the amicable or legal debt collecting. He gives legal advice and can also carries out other activities.

Adrian Stoïca, judicial officer in Constanza (Romania) and member of the board of the UIHJ, pointed out the changes operated in his country and the reform of the statute of the profession, carried out before the entry of Romania in the European Union. The judicial officers indeed adopted successfully a model based on the French system. Thanks to that, the problems with which were confronted Romania relating to the civil servant system (lack of means, low qualification level, delay and inefficiency in the execution) are now solved.

 Solutions in Germany and in Portugal

Carsten Beischall, Gerichtsvollzieher in Germany, informed the participants of the conference and the representatives of the ministry of justice of Slovenia of the evolution of the profession in his country. He explained the reasons which pushed the authorities to reconsider the profession and to consider the adoption of a status based on the model now in force in the European Union: lack of budget from the State, inefficiency, maladjustment and slowness of the system in place.

Antonio Gomes da Cunha, president of the Chamber of Solicitadores of Portugal, and Jose Vieira da Silva, president of the Chamber of Solicitadores of execution of Portugal, explained in turn the particular example of Portugal. Faced with the inefficiency of the system relating to the execution of court decisions, the Solicitadores, independent and liberals lawyers in charge amongst other things of the instruction of the cases in front of the jurisdictions, obtained the creation of a special branch of Solicitadores in charge of the procedures of execution. Created a few years ago, the Solicitadores da Execuçao made it possible to regulate the problems which corroded the public service of justice relating to the execution of court decisions. The backlog was quickly solved and the enforcement of court decisions is carried out today in an effective and satisfactory way.

Effectiveness in the Netherlands and in Belgium

Jos Uitdehaag, judicial officer (Netherlands) and member quaestor of the Committee of the UIHJ, described in detail the profession of Gerechtsdeurwaarder in Holland and its model based on the free competition, in particular allowing control over the market of the amicable and judicial debt collection. The Dutch system of the execution is characterized today by a well developed organization and a recognized effectiveness of the offices of judicial officers who are often grouped in the form of networks including several offices and several hundreds of employees. The Dutch judicial officers are very competitive and offer services to which the big clients are very sensitive. They are at the same time high level lawyers and businessmen often working under ISO standards.

Marc Schmitz, judicial officer in Saint-Vith (Belgium) and member quaestor of the Committee of the UIHJ, evoked, with Carsten Beischall and Jose Gomes da Cunha, the role of the judge and the judicial officer in their countries. They thus indicated that, within the framework of a procedure of execution, it is the judicial officer who is responsible with all enforcement procedures. The judge should only intervene to deliver certain authorizations or to regulate the problems being able to occur within the framework of the procedure.

The inescapable installation of a harmonized profession in the European Union

Lastly, Mathieu Chardon developed the process of standardization in Europe of the procedures of execution and the statute of the judicial officer. On the basis of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet block while considering the European Summit of Tampere in October 1999, the creation of the area of freedom, security and justice and the mutual recognition of the court decisions, our fellow-member showed the inescapable installation of a harmonized occupation of judicial officer in the European Union. He also drew the contours of this harmonized judicial officer by evoking the UIHJ project of a multi-field judicial officer revealed at the time of the permanent Council of the UIHJ in Paris in November 2006, in conformity with the wishes of the Recommendation Rec(2003)17 of the Committee of the ministers to the Member States of the Council of Europe on enforcement, adopted on September 9, 2003. And the first secretary of the UIHJ to close his presentation: “As for the fear that some could nourish on the legitimacy of the liberal  judicial officer, I will conclude my intervention by subjecting to your analysis the remarks from the rector Serge Guinchard, eminent French professor at law, specialist in the civil and enforcement procedures, who brilliantly showed at the time of the international conference which was held in Zagreb (March 8 and 9, 2007) that the liberal judicial officer is indeed guaranteeing the State of Law”.


At the end of this conference, president Isnard again recalled that legal Europe was moving and that the Member States of the European Union were to accept their responsibilities related to their adhesion, in particular in taking part in the harmonization of the occupation of judicial officer and the civil enforcement procedures, also supported and promoted by the UIHJ.
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Jacques Isnard, President of the UIHJ
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Tatjana Krivec, President of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of Slovenia
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Rajko Kotnik, State Secretary for Justice of Slovenia
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A part of the audience
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Adrian Stoïca, Jos Uitdehaag, Mathieu Chardon, Anton Lojowski, Tatjana Krivec
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Mathieu Chardon, first secretary of the UIHJ
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Zoran Kuret, Vice-President of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of Slovenia
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Anton Lojowski, Austrian Gerichstvollzieher
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Marc Schmitz, member of the Committee of the UIHJ
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Antonio Gomes da Cunha, President of the Solicitadores of Portugal
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Andonio Gomes da Cunha, Jos Uitdehaag, Carsten Beischall, Zoran Kuret
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Jos Uitdehaag, Member of the Committee of the UIhj
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José Vieira da Silva, President of the Chamber of Solicitadores of enforcement of Portugal
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A part of the public
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Carsten Beischall, Gerichstvollzieher (germany)
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Mathieu Chardon, Jos Uitdehaag, Marc Schmitz, Adrian Stoïca
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José Vieira da Silva, Marc Schmitz, Carsten Beischall, Jacques Isnard
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