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Global Judges Forum 2004 - Washington DC


Global Partnership to Strengthen Judiciary

"Prosperity is a result of investment, which in turn is secured by commercial rights. A strong and independent judiciary is the best guardian of those rights." - Stephen G. Breyer, US Supreme Court Justice

Justice Stephen G. Breyer

The future of commercial law lies in the hands of the judges responsible for deciding cases in this area, which includes insolvency and creditor rights cases, according to US Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer who spoke at a two-day legal conference at the Bank on November 15-16.

Justice Breyer's speech was a highlight of the third Global Judges Forum hosted by the Bank's Legal Vice Presidency. As part of the Bank's broader effort to strengthen law and justice systems, the forum discussed guidelines that are being developed to support judges handling commercial insolvency cases. Participants also engaged in a broader discussion around the critical role of an independent judiciary in building strong economies that are capable of sustaining growth and social equity. Forty six judges from 42 countries participated in this forum, one of several over the past two years in which more than 135 judges from 70 nations have contributed.

oberto Dañino

"These issues are fundamental to the Bank's goal of fighting poverty," said Roberto Dañino, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the World Bank in his opening remarks. "They are central to the new Legal Modernization Initiative (LMI) the Legal VPU has undertaken. Social, economic and political rights cannot be fully established if there is no access to justice for all, as well as effective law enforcement."

The first Global Judges Forum was held in May 2003 as a result of Bank/Fund findings of country system reviews. "These reviews revealed considerable weaknesses and gaps in the institutional and regulatory framework of commercial insolvency systems in a wide range of countries that are economically and culturally diverse," explained Gordon Johnson, Lead Counsel who leads the Bank's insolvency initiative. "The Forum was therefore launched with the goal of addressing these weaknesses through global partnership and dialogue." The second round of discussions on the further draft developed by Bank staff in collaboration with international experts was held in June 2004 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In this third forum in Washington DC, the judges discussed a comprehensive set of recommendations of institutional considerations for commercial insolvency proceedings. These included: (1) the role of courts; (2) judicial selection, qualification, training and performance; (3) court organization and efficiency; (4) transparency and accountability; (5) judicial decision-making, enforcement of orders, and creating a body of jurisprudence; and (6) the system integrity.

dolfo Rouillon

Adolfo Rouillon, Senior Counsel and former President of the Court of Appeals in Rosario, Argentina, highlighted the importance of the global dialogue in addressing the needs of the judiciary. "We do not intend to establish a rigid set of rules that should be followed by each and every country," he said. "We fully respect the unique legal culture and heritage of all countries around the world. Our goal is to develop a tool that will assist courts in finding their own solutions, appropriate to their own circumstances. To do that, we draw upon international best practices, supplemented by knowledge of local rules and customs."

Global Judges Forum 2003

Updated as of: October 16, 2006

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