Dear Members and Friends,
It’s hard to explain how it's possible to have such conflicting feelings: on one hand gratitude for your vote of confidence in appointing me President and on the other hand anxiety about deserving it and being able to fulfil all the tasks that this honour requires.
I am relieved if I think that I will carry out the President’s functions as a “dispatch rider” with Peter Gottwald and that I can count on the support of Ada Pellegrini Grinover, Oscar Chase, Masahisa Deguchi, Loïc Cadiet, Michele Taruffo, as well as yours.
My thoughts go to the masters that came before me: Enrico Redenti, Niceto Alcalà Zamora y Castillo, Mauro Cappelletti as well as, of course, Marcel Storme. And to all the members that did so much for our association, including organising the world congresses and the colloquiums that were so important for the development of comparison in civil procedural law
I am thinking of José Carlos Barbosa Moreira and Yashuei Taniguchi, for many years vice – presidents of our association, always present at our meetings notwithstanding the long trips they had to face in order to bring precious advice on the choice of subject and speakers of the congresses; I am thinking of Walter Habsheid, Pessoa Vaz, Ulla Jacobsson and Sir Jack Jacob, Wedekind, Pelaya Yessiou-Faltsi, Walter Rechberger, Kostantinos Kerameus, Italo Andolina, Mieczyslaw Sawczuk and many others amongst whom I can’t forget professor Sherman and Professor Yannopulos who hosted us in New Orleans, nor can I forget Tony Jolowicz, Vittorio Denti, Augusto Morello, Jacques Normand and Roger Perrot and above all dear Cipriano Gomez Lara who left us after all his great efforts in organising the XII word congress in Mexico. And then also our Japanese colleagues and the congress they organised: first Takeshi Kojima in Tokyo and then Masahisa Deguchi in Kyoto in 2006.
In these years the difficult work of secretary was shared with Peter Gottwald and Keith Uff and it is also thanks to them that the association has grown stronger and bigger, with more or less 350 members worldwide. The membership booklet you will be provided with is evidence of this.
The Executive Secretary, Prof. Loïc Cadiet has arranged this booklet: let me express our gratitude to him for his magnificent work.
But it is especially thanks to the great commitment, work and enthusiasm of Marcel Storme, who is now the Honorary President, that the association has developed throughout the whole world, as the last world-wide congress held in Salvador de Bahia has demonstrated. That congress was due to the impeccable organisation of Ada Pellegrini Grinover, of Petronio Calmon Filho and their collaborators, whom we once again thank.
I am certain that the future will bring a further development of co-operation both in the professional field and in friendly relations among us all.
The colloquium on “Oral and written proceedings: efficiency in procedure” that will be held in Valencia from 6th to 8th November 2008 is now ready, thanks to Prof. Manuel Ortells Ramos.
Then we will have the colloquium scheduled for June 3-6 2009 in Toronto, on which I am already working with Oscar Chase, Janet Walker and Collem Hanycz, with the constant presence, I imagine, of Garry Watson; the general topic will be “Neither Common nor Civil: Procedural Reform and the need for New Categories”.
Furthermore: in 2010 there is a proposal for a colloquium in Pecs, Hungary; in 2011 the XIV world congress will be in Berlin and Neil Andrews has proposed a colloquium in Cambridge.
It is because of the organisation of these events that we should express our great satisfaction with all achievements that facilitate the exchange of research and knowledge amongst experts from all over the world.
This can add significantly to the future of one of the noblest human activities, the development of justice, to meet the demands of the modern State and to guarantee effective protection, at constitutional and sovranational level, of human fundamental rights.
Maintaining mutual knowledge, the observance of the law, the sense of affiliation to a great family – as our Association has been well defined – may contribute to the attempt to defeat extremism and all abuses. In the last analysis, it could lead to preserving that supreme good, stamped on too often, that is peace, the respect of rights and their jurisdictional protection.
Concluding his report to the Lund Colloquium, with regard to the spirit of our Association Mauro Cappelletti noted that: “It is an open association of scholars; open, that is, to procedural law scholars of all countries, of all races, of all creeds, with no bars or discrimination.
Being a scholarly association does not mean insulation from all actual life.
We are scholars who deal with the law, and the law is, of course, itself a political phenomenon, indeed a very crucial reality of societal life.”
These are words that I think are the best ones still today.
As we can see the foundations of the International Association of Procedural Law are strong: vivat, floreat, crescat!