The European Commission has correctly stated that only a high-quality, independent and efficient judiciary can guarantee both, the social cohesion of Europe and its economic strength.
The European Union of Rechtspfleger – E. U. R. has also committed itself to this principle. For years now, we have been participating in CEPEJ’s efforts to compare the judicial systems of the member states.
The realisation, that there are still such different judicial systems in Europe that cross-border cooperation between courts and public prosecutors is difficult and thus endangers the European judicial area, has led us to make our contribution to improving this situation. We have initiated a project together with the 14 European member organisations so far and published it in 2016 in a White Book.
The title of this book and the project is “White Paper for a Rechtspfleger/Greffier for Europe (RGfE)”.
In it, we make it clear that, in addition to the already well-known protagonists of judicial work, the judges, the successful model of the Rechtspfleger has existed for over 100 years in Austria and Germany, which deals with specialised areas of the judiciary in largely independent fashion. Due to their targeted and practice-oriented studies, these specialists can be deployed in their areas of expertise right from the start. As specialist areas, tasks of voluntary jurisdiction including register law, enforcement law in civil and criminal law and court management have developed.
With this range of tasks, Rechtspfleger are direct contact persons and decision-makers in the field of civil rights (guardianship proceedings, inheritance proceedings, family law, but also real estate enforcement and criminal enforcement) and commercial law (land register proceedings, commercial register law, insolvency law).
It has been shown that specialisation is the more effective alternative to general judicial competence or even the outsourcing of these specialist areas from the judiciary. In the meantime, other EU Member States have also recognised this and have begun attempts to emulate these successful systems. Some of these are already very effective (Spain, Portugal, Estonia), but often still suffer from the prejudice that a partial transfer of competences to professional groups other than judges is harmful to the system. However, the successes in Germany and Austria make the opposite clear.
This insight is now the motivation to extend this gain in effectiveness to all member states of the EU. The aim cannot, of course, be to impose systems on these countries. Rather, a pan-European approach must be created, bringing together existing best practices and leading to a new institute of judicial systems, the Rechtspfleger/Greffier for Europe (RGfE). The E. U. R. is willing and able to participate in the development of such a concept in order to realize it in the foreseeable future.
W. Lämmer, Präsident der E.U.R.