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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurEuropeSéparateurFranceSéparateurUIHJ at the National Congress of French Judicial officers
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UIHJ at the National Congress of French Judicial officers

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On 16 and 17 June 2005, the 27th National Congress of French Judicial Officers was held, with a major theme: the reform

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Judicial Officers concerned with international matters
 
Every two years, the French National chamber of Judicial Officers organizes a Congress that is the major event for the profession. For its 27th issue, the prestigious location of La Rochelle was chosen. The theme of the congress, “the reform”, corresponded with the 60th birthday of the present status of French Judicial Officers. It was an occasion to assess the profession and to formulate several points of reform to help the French Judicial Officers stepping successfully into the 3rd millennium.
Traditionally, our French colleagues are concerned with international matters. In the congress team, which consisted of 9 Judicial Officers, there was, in addition to its General manager, Françoise Andrieux - who happens to be at the initiative of the first UIHJ Euromed meeting when she was president of her Departmental Chamber -, Mathieu Chardon, member of the Committee of UIHJ, and Stéphane Gensollen, our colleague from Marseilles who is also very much involved in the activities of our organisation. After the traditional and long awaited welcome and introductory speeches from Yves Martin, president of the French national chamber, who pointed out the importance of the issues of the congress, Guy Bricard, president of the Regional Chamber of the Judicial Officers of the Court of appeal of Poitiers, and Jean-Marc Guillou, president of the Departmental chamber of Charentes Maritime, that was hosting the congress, the light was made on the work of the congress team.

Three commissions for one reform
 
The congress was set around three commissions. The first commission made a detailed inventory and an analysis of the current situation in order to foresee the points that needed reform. The second commission, turned to the international side, viewed the current tendencies and best practices in Europe and around the world as far as the profession is concerned. Lastly, the third commission, in the light of the first two commissions, made a commented presentation of axis of reform on subjects as varied as training, access to the profession, status, discipline and ethics, tariff, debt collecting, competence and networks.

A major congress in the history of the profession
 
More than 500 participants, amongst whom many young Judicial Officers, followed during two days the ultra dynamic presentation of the congress team from a brilliantly lit stage with multiple info-sets that were projected on a giant screen in the background. If everyone was impressed with the professionalism of the scenery, the themes that were developed were the real stars of a show that, with no doubt, will be remembered as one of the greatest congresses of the French profession.
Every aspect of the profession, including the most sensitive ones - like tariffs and ethics - were approached without complacency and with lucidity, with in mind the will to work for the future of a profession that needs to evolve in order to continue to play its leading role in the Judicial system.

A remarkable duet
 
Mentioning a reform without getting a grasp at the international aspect is but an illusion. Such was the purpose of the second commission lead by Mathieu Chardon, heavily helped in that by Stéphane Gensollen.
After a presentation, as a remarkable duet - like a television news presentation - of the European institutions (specially the European Commission and the Council of Europe) and the legal instruments in use by the Judicial Officers (European regulations of the Council and the European Parliament and the Rec(2003)17 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to the Members States on enforcement of court decisions), three prestigious speakers were soon to follow.

Goldmines for the profession
 
Linda Benraïs, Managing Director of Acojuris (Agency for legal international co-operation) insisted on the importance of investing in legal co-operation in international matters and the benefit it can bring to the involved States.
Bruno Dupont, president of Euralia, which is established in Brussels, reminded our French colleagues the necessity to have a permanent representation at the European institutions.
Finally, Jacques Isnard, president of UIHJ, started a passionate speech that virtually ended up with a standing ovation. The president Isnard, taking from his interventions in Brussels (April 2004) and Paris (November 2004 - See the article in this issue) at the two debt collections symposiums, once again pulled the alarm signal and insisted on the fact that the profession needs to evolve if it wants to preserve its interests and to continue to fulfil its service to the public and Justice. The president Isnard ended up his intervention by a truly act of faith in his profession, specially towards the younger Judicial Officers: “you must take your destiny into your own hands. There are so many things to do. Our profession has a bright future, as long as you are prepared to invest yourself in it. The European legislation - current or in preparation - truly are goldmines that need to be exploited in order to guarantee our future!” he said, under a blast of applause.

Growth in Poland
 
It was then the turn of the foreign contributors from Poland, England and the Netherlands to make a presentation of their professions and of the reforms they achieved.
A film report was made for the occasion in each of these three countries by René Duperray, General secretary of UIHJ, assisted in this task by the members of the team congress.
Poland was represented by Dariusz Potkanski, Judicial Officer in Szczecin, also treasurer of UIHJ, helped with the translation by the incomparable interpreter Stanislaw Szafranski. The presence in the conference room of Mrs Iwona Karpiuk Suchecka, president of the National chamber of Judicial Officers of Poland, and who specially came for the occasion, was also noticed and very appreciated. Mr Potkanski explained to the audience how, after having adopted a status for the Polish Judicial officers based on a French model, with the help of UIHJ and the French National chamber, his office grew from 900 cases a year with just 2 employees to 900 cases a month with 20 employees.
The film report also showed the head office of Currenda, a company owned by the Polish National chamber. The head office of Currenda is located in Sopot, next to Gdansk (North of Poland), in a brand new building. The premises also include a brand new ultra modern printing machine (where the magazine you hold in your hands is printed), a 100 seats conference room, the IT sector in charge with the development of the computer program created by Currenda for Judicial Officers, which equips more than half of the 580 offices, as well as two apartments for the use of visitors.

Change in England
 
John Marston, High court enforcement officer in Walsall, near Birmingham, president of the High court enforcement officers association, talked about the changes in the profession since the reform that was that came into force on 1st April 2004. Our colleague explained the genesis of this reform that notably included a national competence for all High court enforcement officers. The then called Sheriffs were judged not efficient enough and had experienced big losses in their activities, to the profit of debt collecting companies. Since the reform, several High court enforcement officers had to stop their activities or to propose their services to big structures. Thus, John Marston organised a national coverage of High court enforcement officers with a central office, that now employs 20 persons, and a series of 15 micro-offices settled in various part of England and Wales. Our colleague thinks that, on the 70 High court enforcement offices that existed before the reform, there might only be a fistful in a few years.

Expansion in the Netherlands
 
The Netherlands were well represented and were long awaited by the audience. Leo Netten, Judicial Officer in Tilburg and 1st Vice-president of UIHJ, let us visit, in the film, his “modest” office of 50 persons, currently on the rise. The presentation of Maas Delta, a huge office of 150 persons working in 4500 square meters at the centre of Rotterdam created the event. Finally, the film displayed to the subdued spectators the GGN network of Judicial Officers: a central office and 18 local offices to cover the whole of the Netherlands. On stage, Leo Netten was surrounded by Peter Taks, Director of GGN and Jolanda Colastica, team leader of CZ, a major Dutch insurance company, client of the office of Leo Netten and of GGN. The contributors fully explained the necessity to create networks to satisfy customers who are always more demanding.

Ideas of reforms for the French Judicial Officers
 
It would take too long a time to report all the gripping debates that took place in the conference room. Several distinguished colleagues from France participated in the debates: Bernard Menut, secretary of UIHJ, Marcel Dymant, former president of the French National chamber, Guy Duvelleroy, former Vice-president of the French National chamber, Thierry Guinot, president of the Departmental chamber of Paris and author of a remarkable book on ethics and deontology of Judicial Officers, Pierre-Jean Sibran, president of the Departmental chamber of Hauts-de-Seine (near Paris) and Christophe Chaillou, president of the Departmental chamber of Vendée. But there were also great interventions from our colleague Mourad Skander, president of the Tunisian National order of Judicial officers, and Jean-Jacques Daigre, an illustrious professor at the University of Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne. As a conclusion, Françoise Andrieux solemnly unveiled the proposals of the congress team.
  • Access to the profession:
    creation of a unique system of inside training
    mandatory on going training
  • Discipline: Creation of an independent disciplinary commission internal to the profession
  • Professional organisation: make the elected representatives responsible towards Judicial Officers
  • Territorial competence: creation of a system of fusion of offices geo-progressive inter-competence
  • Merging of offices: creation of legal instruments
  • Prospecting and advertisement: controlled by the profession
  • Tariff: proposition of a contract on debt collecting allowing an adaptation
  • Management tool: results guaranteed by performance: the performance compass
Lets guess that French Judicial Officers, who always knew how to evolve, will start the necessary reforms that will lead them to the path to expansion that everyone expects. In the meantime, and as usual, a book bringing together all the work of the congress is in preparation and will be published at the end of 2005.
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Jacques Isnard
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Leo Netten
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Yves Martin, president of the National chamber of French judicial officers
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Françoise Andrieux, general manager of the congress
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The congress team
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Guy Bricard, president of the Regional chamber of the Court of Appeal of Poitiers
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Guy Bricard, president of the Regional chamber of the Court of Appeal of Poitiers
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Dariusz Potkanski (Poland)
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Bernard Menut
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Peter Taks, director of GGN
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John Marston, president of the High court enforcement officers association
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Linda Benraïs, director of Acojuris
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Mourad Skander, president of the National order of Tunisian enforcement agents
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Marcel Dymant, former president of the French national chamber of judicial officers
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Mathieu Chardon, member of the congress team
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Stéphane Gensollen, member of the congress team
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Jean-Jacques Daigre, Law professor
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Jolanda Colastica, Team leader, Debt collecting department of CZ insurance company (Netherlands)
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Odile Dunaud, member of the congress team & Thierry Guinot, president of the Chamber of judicial officers of Paris
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Bruno Dupont, président d'Euralia
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