Council of Europe Conferences of Ministers of Justice

24th Conference of European Ministers of Justice

4-5 October 2001, Moscow (Russian Federation)

Resolution No 3 on "General approach and means of achieving effective enforcement of judicial decisions"

The Ministers participating in the 24th Conference of European Ministers of Justice (Moscow, October 2001),
Having regard to the Report of the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation on the enforcement of judicial decisions in conformity with European standards;
Having discussed the topic of the implementation of judicial decisions in conformity with European standards and, in particular, the general approach and the means of achieving effective enforcement of judicial decisions;
Acknowledging the need to improve the enforcement of judicial decisions;
Recognising the importance of ensuring the effectiveness not only of criminal sanctions but also of judicial decisions in civil, commercial, administrative and social matters;
Bearing in mind the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights and, in particular, the recognition by the European Court of Human Rights that the enforcement of court decisions, in particular within a reasonable time, has to be regarded as an integral part of the right to a fair trial for the purposes of Article 6;
Recalling Resolution No. 1 on "Delivering justice in the 21st century", adopted at their 23rd Conference in London in June 2000 and welcoming the decision of the Committee of Ministers to prepare an appropriate legal instrument or legal instruments aimed at promoting efficiency of justice throughout Europe and encouraging their rapid completion;
Recalling also the results achieved during the intergovernmental co-operation, as well as the multilateral and bilateral legal co-operation activities carried out by the Council of Europe and its member States and convinced of the need for these results to be properly followed up by means of legislative or other practical measures aiming at improving the enforcement of court decisions;
Having regard to the decisions of the Committee of Ministers concerning the monitoring procedure on questions relating to the functioning of the judicial system;
Noting the importance of promoting international co-operation to ensure the effectiveness of foreign judicial decisions;
Recognising that without an appropriate enforcement procedure, court decisions will be rendered inoperative and illusory both for the State and individuals;
Aware that economic activity, in particular trade and industry, is likewise dependent on confidence in an effective enforcement system;
Underlining the essential role played by bailiffs (or any other enforcement agent) and the need for their work to be carried out, according to the law, fairly, impartially, efficiently and transparently;
Bearing in mind the principles of cost-effectiveness and proportionality when carrying out the enforcement process;
AGREE that the proper, effective and efficient enforcement of court decisions is of capital importance for States in order to create, reinforce and develop a strong and respected judicial system;
RECOGNISE that enforcement procedures have to comply with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights;
DECIDE to promote efficiency of justice through greater mutual co-operation amongst States, with a view to improving the functioning of their judicial system by means of appropriate mechanisms;
INVITE THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS to instruct the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) to identify common standards and principles at a European level for the enforcement of court decisions. To this end, particular attention has to be paid to:
I. enforcement procedures, in particular
a) role of the parties (eg. creditors, debtors, third parties);
b) assets (eg. sales of assets, distribution, attachment, exempted assets) and other types of safeguards and guarantees;
c) procedures (eg. settlements, access to court and review, the role of judges, proportionality);
d) costs (eg. interests, court fees, costs of enforcement, fees of bailiffs);
e) special cases (eg. family cases, labour disputes, landlord and tenant, enforcement of injunctions, transfrontier cases); and
II. bailiffs (or any other enforcement agents), in particular
a) recruitment and education;
b) role, competence and powers;
c) co-operation with the parties and other legal professionals (including settlements);
d) use of new information technology and means to reduce costs;
e) control by judges of the acts of bailiffs;
f) professional codes of conduct (including duties, liability and disciplinary measures).