24-25 October 2018, Vienna, Austria: European Judicial Training Network Directors’ Conference

On October 24 and 25, a conference of the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) took place in the Federal Ministry of Constitution, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice.

The EJTN is an association founded in 2000 for the common educational activity of the European judiciary. Continue reading 24-25 October 2018, Vienna, Austria: European Judicial Training Network Directors’ Conference

22 October 2018, Cracow, Poland: President Whyte meets Polish Member Organisation OSRS

In Cracow, President Whyte met with Mr Maciej Neusser, President, and three other colleagues from the EUR Member Organisation Ogólnopolskiego Stowarzyszenia Referendarzy
Sądowych (OSRS).

The Polish Referendaries have extensive competence in the fields of legal aid, family law, payment orders, registries, Continue reading 22 October 2018, Cracow, Poland: President Whyte meets Polish Member Organisation OSRS

17 – 18 October 2018, Tirana, Albania: Strengthening the Quality & Efficiency of Justice

Continuing the SEJ II project, President Vivien Whyte and Dr Marco Fabri led a seminar with Court Presidents, Chancellors, Legal Secretaries and Legal Advisors to present the findings and recommendations of the report they drafted after their visit to Tirana in November 2017.

The Albanian judicial system resulting from the 2016 reforms has entrusted court management to Chancellors and legal support to Legal Advisors (High Court) and Judicial Assistants (courts of appeal). Continue reading 17 – 18 October 2018, Tirana, Albania: Strengthening the Quality & Efficiency of Justice

9 – 11 October 2018, Strasbourg, France: Meeting of the SATURN Centre Steering Committee

President Vivien Whyte and Honorary President Jean-
Jacques Kuster attended the October meeting of the
CEPEJ Saturn Centre Steering Committee in Strasbourg.
They presented observations on the role of non-judge staff in several areas, including case weighting (citing the Romanian system presented at the General Assembly in Bucharest). They suggested that court management dashboards include data on the number of cases handled by Rechtspfleger.

Vivien Whyte also presented the results of the survey conducted with EUR Member Organisations on the implementation of Recommendation (86) 12. Continue reading 9 – 11 October 2018, Strasbourg, France: Meeting of the SATURN Centre Steering Committee

19 September 2018, Strasbourg: International Day of Democracy

On the occasion of the International Day of Democracy, the Council of Europe’s Directorate General for Democracy and the President of the INGO Conference organised a conference and a debate on Democracy & “the People”. This event aimed at expressing the value of our democratic institutions based on the individual human rights, civil participation to public decision-making and the rule of law.

Discussions started with a speech by Yascha Mounk, author of The People vs. Democracy. Faced with the rise of populism in numerous European States, citizens and civil society organisations must organise themselves to defend the values of democracy.
Several speakers presented examples of initiatives such as “assemblies of citizens” that allowed for a more active participation of citizens. Representatives from the Council of Europe spoke about the tools that the Council provides to make democracy more participative (Lignes directrices pour une participation de la société civile aux décisions politiques ; Compétences pour une culture de la démocratie ; Les 12 principes de bonne gouvernance).

Finally, the President of the INGO Conference stressed the necessity for INGOs to think on how to better communicate with citizens.

Jean-Jacques Kuster represented the EUR at that conference.

EUR meets President Arno Metzler, Brussels, 12 July 2018

Following the conference organised by the EUR and the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels on 10 March 2018, Vivien Whyte met with President Arno Metzler in Brussels on 12 July 2018.

Mr Metzler, from Germany, is the new President of the « Diversity Europe » Group of the EESC. The Group comprises representatives and stakeholdes of civil society, particularly in the economic, civic, professional and cultural field. Its goal is to achieve « real participatory democracy in the European Union, through civil dialogue ». A lawyer by trade, President Metzler has first-hand knowledge of the Rechtspfleger.

The two Presidents discussed the current role of the Rechtspfleger and similar professions in the strengthening of justice systems across Europe. They also talked about possible EUR involvement in several EESC projects relating to the rule of law. Indeed, EUR proposals for a Rechtspfleger for Europe are in the straight line of current EESC activity in this area.

Plenary Meeting and 15th Birthday of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 27-29 June 2018

President Vivien Whyte represented the EUR at the Summer Session of the Conference of International Non Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe on 29 June 2018.

The opening session addressed two very important issues for the EUR and NGOs in Europe: restoring the people’s confidence in public institutions and preventing inappropriate restrictions on NGO activities in Europe.

Matjaz Gruden, Director of Democratic Participation at the Council of Europe presented the Secretary General 2018 Report, which addresses the role of institutions and the threats they are facing in Europe.

Mr Yves Cruchten, rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights presented a draft resolution and draft recommendation on restrictions of NGO activities in COE Member States. He noted two trends: new obligations on NGOs to declare donations and assets as well as judicial and administrative harassment and smear campaigns. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has decided to propose the establishment of a Human Rights Rapporteur. This proposal still has to be approved by the Parliamentary Assembly in plenary. A similar proposal was rejected three years ago but chances are higher it will pass now.

In addition, the Committee calls on several Member States to follow the recommendations of the Venice Commission and asks for the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to create an alert and reaction mechanism concerning NGOs.

The Committee also recommends that guidelines on NGO foreign funding be elaborated. Mr Cruchten gave examples of NGOs who have tried to make donations to other NGOs abroad but such transfers have been denied by banking authorities because the recipient NGOs were mentioned on black lists established by private companies. He stressed that foreign funding is often vital for NGOs.

The Rapporteur finally mentioned that in some countries, governments put a lot of pressure on NGOs to register for control purposes. He insisted that NGOs should be free to decide on whether or not to register in their home country. This should be the focus of the Committee’s next report.

Ms Sorina Macrinici, Civil Society and Democracy Programme Director at the NGO Legal Resources Centre presented the current situation of NGOs in Moldova. She reminded the audience that the electoral system in Moldova was modified recently and that the Supreme Court cancelled the results of mayoral elections that took place in March 2018. In this context, a reform of the law on NGOs and foundations is currently before Parliament. According to Ms Macrinici, the amendments presented by the government are aimed at limiting international fundings for NGOs.

Like the Council of Europe, the European Union is kept together by the sheer rule of law. The recent evolutions discussed above are raising concern in Brussels too.

Land Registry Workshop, Tallinn, 1 June 2018

The European Land Registry Network (ELRN) was set up in by the European Land Registry Association (ELRA) in order to « develop and understand the role of land registration in real property and capital markets » (www.elra.eu). ELRA gathers Land Registry organisations from 22 European jurisdictions. Some of the ELRN Contact Points are also active within the EUR through their professional organisations (Estonia, Poland). They are currently working with the European Commission on providing an interoperability platform among Land Registers in Europe with a common vocabulary (IMOLA II project).

The Land Registry is one of the competences the EUR recommends be transferred to the Rechtspfleger for Europe in countries where it is within the remit of the courts. Indeed, in several European countries, the Land Registry is already managed by a Rechtspfleger or similar non-judge staff of the courts (Austria, Estonia, Germany, Poland). In other countries, the Land Registry is managed by a public institution that may (eg Portugal) or may not (eg Romania) be attached to the Ministry of Justice.

The EUR invited ELRA to attend its March 2018 conference at the European Economic and Social Committee where President Jean Moerkerke (Belgium) and Secretary General Nuria Raga (Spain) presented ELRA and their current projects.

Following this event, President Vivien Whyte was invited to participate in a workshop of the European Land Registry Network that took place at the Estonian Ministry of Justice in Tallinn on 1 June 2018. Vivien Whyte presented the EUR and our current projects to the ELRN Contact Points and the other authorities that attended the meeting, including a university lecturer and judges from several European countries.

Among the other issues discussed were the European Regulation on Matrimonial Property Regimes, the latest case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union and Blockchain technology.

CEPEJ Working Group on Mediation, 24-25 May 2018, Council of Europe, Strasbourg

The CEPEJ Working Group on Mediation was set up in 2006 to promote and support the implementation of the recommendations issued by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers relating to mediation. Its work has allowed the Council of Europe to publish in 2007 several Guidelines for a better implementation of existing recommendations.

The need for mediation has grown over the years and in 2017 it appeared necessary to complement these guidelines with practical tools allowing for States to implement and develop mediation. The EUR was admitted as an observer in this group when the decision was taken to reactivate it. Continue reading CEPEJ Working Group on Mediation, 24-25 May 2018, Council of Europe, Strasbourg

E.U.R. GENERAL ASSEMBLY – Bucharest – ROMANIA – 26-29 september, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to announce that registration for the EUR General Assembly 2018 is now open.

Please find attached:


Will be completed and transmitted by each participant (two pages) by June 15, 2018 at the latest, and payment of the contribution will be made no later than July 1, 2018; bank payment details can be found on page 2 of Form 1.
Continue reading E.U.R. GENERAL ASSEMBLY – Bucharest – ROMANIA – 26-29 september, 2018

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