The first steps to found an international union of Rechtspfleger was a result out of the contacts between German and Austrian Rechtspfleger. The fact, that in these two states the institute of the Rechtspfleger was developed quite far, the same language and the good contacts, that had lasted for years already helped the development.
First a Union of two members
The basis for the founding of the EUR were the professional associations of German and Austrian Rechtspfleger. They founded as first step a union consisting of two members, but from the very beginning they wanted to build a European union. As soon as possible they wanted to have contacts with colleges of comparable professions of other European states. That was why the Union was called EUROPÄISCHE UNION DER RECHTSPFLEGER (EUROPEAN UNION OF RECHTSPFLEGER) from the beginning.
The main persons of these activities where Karl Weber, the chairman of the Bund Deutscher Rechtspfleger (Union of
German Rechtspfleger) and Raimund Friedrich, the chairman of the Bundessektion Justiz (section of Justice) in the Gewerkschaft Öffentlicher Dienst (Union of Public Service) and a group of courageous fellow combatants. Their vision was to make the Rechtspfleger and comparable professions international, they wanted to harmonize law in Europe and they wanted to keep good contacts with the colleagues in foreign countries.
From the very beginning their aim was to collaborate with the Council of Europe and the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The initiators were enthusiastic Europeans who knew, that making acquaintance with foreigners helps a lot to keep peace in Europe.
These representatives of a rather young profession group also knew quite well, that the new status only could be safe and extended by entrusting new tasks and by making friends without any respects for boarders. The foundation of the first bilateral union was on June 25th, 1965 at the castle Liebenzell in the Schwarzwald (black forest) in Germany.
Foundation of the EUR on 6th of October, 1967
After the union between the professional associations of Germany and Austria at the 25th of June 1965, contacts were made with comparable judicial officials in Europe. A central issue for these contacts was Strasbourg (as the relations with the Alsatian colleagues were always very close).
The official foundation of the EUR was during the Deutschen Rechtspflegertag on 6th of October, 1967 in Karlsruhe.
The professional associations
Gewerkschaft der öffentlich Bediensteten, Bundessektion Justiz
(Arbeitsgemeinschaft der B-Beamten), Wien, Österreich
Nationale Confederatie der Griffiers van de Hoven
Rechtsbanken van Het Rijk, Brüssel, Belgien
Syndicat autonome des Fonctionaires des Cours
Tribunaux, Paris, Frankreich
Bund Deutscher Rechtspfleger e.V.,
Düsseldorf , Deutschland
Justice’ Clerks’ Society,London, Großbritannien.
These associations founded the Union, keeping their complete national independence.
The name was still “Europäische Union der Rechtspfleger” and according to the new status the French version “Union Européenne des Greffiers de Justice” was added. As short version of the name they chose EUR (these are the first three letters of the continent of EURope)
The following person took part in the inauguration ceremony in the great conference hall of the Federal Court in Karlsruhe:
For Austria: Regierungsrat Friedrich, Vienna; wirklicher Amtsrat Meindl, Linz; wirklicher Amtsrat Bruschek, Linz.
for Belgium: Griffier in het Hof van Beroep Straetmans, Embourg (Liège); Griffier R.I.A.Aernout, Antwerpen; Greffier du tribunal des Commerces Penen,
Merelbeke; Greffier en Chef Herbosch, Asse.
for France: Reviseur du livre foncier Froehlich, Strasbourg; Greffier en Chef Foessel, Strasbourg.
for Great Britain: Clerk to the Justices Cooper, LL.B.Southend-on Sea
for the Federal Republic of Germany: Justizoberamtsmann Weber, Mannheim; Oberamtsanwalt Reiss, Schwetzingen.
Karl Weber was chairman and Günther Reiss wrote the minutes of this meeting. Interpreters were the colleagues Rudolf Maier, Kehl (french), and M.Laux, Mannheim . Karl Weber examined the statute, which was drawn up in Germany (and had been already sent to the participants of the meeting before) point by point. By discussing about it, the statute got its final form. It was accepted by the present persons unanimously. The decision to join the union was to be ratified by the concerned 5 professional associations (and this happened in time).
Election of the first board
After accepting the statute and after the official decision to found the union, the election of the first board was the next step. The Bund Deutscher Rechtspfleger agreed to be candidate for the first board. Following Raimund Friedrich’s suggestion the first board was elected as follows:
- Karl Weber, President
- Günter Reiss, secretary general
- Hans Otto Helpertz, treasurer
(they were all members of the Bund Deutscher Rechtspfleger).
The statute did (and does) not allow to have a board built of members from different member states, they must be from one member-association. Each of the member states are represented by one vice-president in the presidency of the EUR.
The organs of the EUR are:
- the board
- the presidency
- the general assembly (the congress)
In article 2 of the statute you can find the object of the union:
“The object of the union is especially
to keep good relations with the neighbours in social and loyal aspects, not caring for boarders
the representation of ideal and material interests of the members the cooperation in the development of law in the European area concerning judicial fields, that interest the member-associations.
By and by professional associations from 16 European and several non-European countries joined the Union as members and associated members.
Members of the EUR (professional associations from the following countries):
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden.
(It is a principle that only one professional association from one country can become ordinary member)
Associates members: Japan, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia
Similar professional associations from non-European States are allowed to join the Union as associated members.
The associated members have a consultative status in the EUR. They must be heard, if their national interests are concerned or if questions, that are interesting for all members, are discussed and that are completely not concerning European affairs. In these cases the associated members have the complete right to vote.
Membership fees are only to be paid by the regular members.
The association of the Clerks to the Justice, Great Britain, finished after some time the collaboration with the EUR because of the different law systems, but it is not long ago, that the English professional association showed its interest in the EUR again.
Integration in the NGOs, consultative status at the Council of Europe
From the very beginning it was the wish of the Union to have a very close collaboration with the Council of Europe. A very fertile cooperation developed, especially with the Director of Legal Affairs. The collaboration was concentrated upon the main field IX (this is the legal collaboration). To have the best possibilities for the cooperation, a permanent representative of the EUR at the Council of Europe (and also for the NGOs) was named (Arthur Kastner, Strasbourg, later on Rudolf Maier, Kehl, and now it is Jean-Jacques Kuster, Strasbourg).
In the commission of experts for the activities of justice and for informatics at the courts, the EUR is admitted with the status of an observer (the Union is heard before a decision and is able to make propositions and set impulses).
It was already in 1969 that the EUR decided to request for granting the consultative status.
Chronology of this important decision
After several letters that were written to the Council of Europe to investigate all possibilities, it was on October 13th, 1969, that the Union requested to become member of the NGOs (Union of Non-Governmental Organisations) and to obtain the consultative status.
February 4th, 1971: The committee of legal affairs at the Council of Europe recommended the grant of the consultative status.
March 9th, 1971: The permanent deputation at the Council of Europe agrees.
Mai 5th, 1971: The Committee of the Ministers of the Council of Europe grants the consultative status to the EUR (with resolution (71) 10 from Mai 5th, 1971)
With a letter by the Council of Europe, dated Mai 12th, 1971 (see the following copy) the EUR was informed about the decision of the committee of the ministers.