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The European Union of Rechtspfleger (EUR) is an association of currently 14 professional organisations from 13 states of the European Union. In addition, the EUR has started to build an international network of interested associations from all over the world. Currently, associations from North Africa and Asia are involved, which meet regularly for informal exchange of experience.

The primary objective is to improve the effectiveness and proximity of justice and to harmonise legal systems, starting with Europe. For this purpose, the EUR has developed a model of a European profession, which is based on the professions of Rechtspfleger that were originally created in Germany and Austria.

In terms of content, this European profession of a Rechtspfleger should cover all the judicial and public prosecutor’s duties of the judiciary which do not fall within the judicial remit of deciding disputes.

The most important of these would be decisions and measures in voluntary jurisdiction, enforcement law and dispute resolution.

Since this profession is gender neutral, both terms are used in the following. He or she should be the citizen’s first contact person in court and advise him on the application and finding alternative solutions by mediation.

Within the framework of voluntary jurisdiction, he or she supervises caretakers and asset managers. He or she also regulates and controls the legality of transactions under register law, thus ensuring legal certainty in economic transactions within the EU.

In addition to these direct tasks of the judiciary, however, e or she should also take over the tasks of court management, which is part of the self-administration of the Third Power in relation to the other state powers. The Rechtspfleger can be deployed as the organisational head of the courts and public prosecutor’s offices, thus relieving the judges of these administrative tasks. As the administrative head of the authorities, he leads the staff of the supporting service area and the security staff.

A further current focus of activity is the organisation and supervision of the information technology structures of the justice system. This area is becoming increasingly important and raises many legal questions. Here it is necessary to develop and operate judicial structures that are run by specially trained jurists. Rechtspfleger are particularly suitable for this.

On the basis of this model, the EUR first carried out a comparative study of the judicial professions currently existing in Europe and beyond and set out its findings in a Green Paper. This study was then extended and developed into a model for a profession called Rechtspfleger/Greffier for Europe (RgfE). This is set out in detail in a White Paper published in 2016.

It turned out that there are already many partial aspects of the previously described areas of responsibility in the individual occupational fields, but by no means a uniform picture. This also prevents the possibility of practising the profession in all Member States.

An important aspect of this project is education and training. Minimum standards must be set here so that the competence of the future RGfE is at a uniform level. From the point of view of the EUR, the requirements for this profession can only be met by studying law, which provides the necessary specialist knowledge. It differs in essential parts from general legal studies and can therefore only be linked to it in the basics.

This is where the EUR now comes in and aims to promote harmonisation for the benefit of citizens, the social fabric and economic development of the Memberstates of the EU.

Wolfgang Laemmer

President of the EUR