THE INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF TRIAL JUDGES
Annual Busines Meeting
Poland, Prague & Danube River Cruise
President John Einhorn & Jaci
Hon. David H. Brickner & Leah
Hon. Derek W. Hunt & Amy
Hon. James Jackman & Karen
Hon. Kevin Midlam & Cynthia
Hon. Wendell Mortimer, Jr. & Ceil
Hon. Tully Seymour & Jan
Diane Bowen, Chief Administrative Officer
TUESDAY - Warsaw: The group flight arrived from LAX and some judges arrived on alternate flights and/or dates. The group was transferred to the Mercure GrandHotel for two nights, and met by the Polish tour guide, Adam Pieniąźkiewicz. In the evening the group enjoyed cocktails at the Winestone Bar in the hotel, and then walked to the Ale Gloria Restaurant, known for traditional Polish manor cuisine for the Welcome Dinner.
WEDNESDAY- Warsaw: The group visited the Supreme Court of Poland and met with the President of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, Prof. Dr Lech Paprzycki. He has been working as a judge for 50 years, and has been a judge in the Supreme Court for the last 25 years; he started in a Provincial Court.
President Paprzycki discussed the fact that after WWII, Poland was under communist rule. At that time it was not rare that membership of the communist party was forced by the circumstances, but the Supreme Court as a rule kept away from politics and concentrated on the administration of justice. “It is the judge that demands the quality of justice that goes beyond any political system. And even though at that time of what we sometimes did say was our beloved communist mother, the administration of justice in those times was not bad. Example: Those judges who were appointed to the Supreme Court in 1990, they were the ones who had been judges for the preceding decades and they also acted as judges during martial law in Poland, and me too!”
The Supreme Court was dissolved on June 30, 1990 and a new Supreme Court Bench was appointed by the President of the Republic of Poland. “Squaring accounts of the past time, none of those Supreme Court judges had any dirty consciences after the martial law. Of course, all were vetted for integrity,” and 38.6 % of all members of the new Bench were members from the former Bench. “There was a legal act which established the vetting process in Poland, this institution is still active, but hasn’t much work to do now because the people who would be vetted are retired and [the rest] have already been cleared in one way or another.” President Paprzycki called this the Lusjracja [looking through] period and explained it is an “interesting aspect, but very difficult to evaluate because you are naturally not familiar with the history of Poland in the last 50 years.” President Paprzycki went on to give a brief overview of his childhood, being born in Vladisvostok, Russia on the eastern border of Poland, and being raised during martial law, occupation and war.
After 1990 the Constitution was changed, and in 1997 an entirely new Constitution was adopted, and is now “filled with the most advanced European standards and substantive criminal law” which was not particularly revolutionary, but did help clear the way for Poland to join the European Union in 2004.
The Supreme Court is divided into four Chambers: Civil Law Chamber, Criminal Law Chamber, Labour Law, Social Security and Public Affairs Chamber, and Military Chamber. Judges are appointed for life by the President of Poland, until they “are transferred to retirement” at what used to be 70 years of age, but has been increased to 72 years of age by a recent political decision of Parliament. Retired judges continue to receive 75% of the salary of an active judge.
Following the meeting with President Paprzycki, the Academy group toured the Supreme Court Building, located in Krasiński Square, with the Court Administrator, Joanna Dyndul. The state of the art building was inaugurated in November 1999, and the architects designed it to “illustrate the role of the Law in the life of man.” The court is surrounded by a chain of “Law Pillars” inscribed with quotations from Roman law. The building is occupied by the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Institute of National Remembrance. Three sculptures of tall young women represent Faith, Hope and Love. Most of the courtrooms are lit by natural daylight which flows through a glass ceiling, and the staircase in the main hall is almost fully transparent and constructed of semi-transparent greenish glass.
After the Supreme Court the group took a walking tour of Old Town Warsaw, completely renovated and authentically restored to pre-WWII architecture and visited the Historical Museum of Warsaw where they watched a film showing pre-WWII life in the vibrant city, and the history of the Jews of Warsaw and their fate during WWII. The group enjoyed lunch in the Old Town, followed by an afternoon bus tour of Warsaw city, the former Jewish Ghetto area, city center and Łazienki Royal Park.
THURSDAY - Krakow: In the morning the group took the train to Krakow, enjoyed lunch at the Kogel Mogel Restaurant and walked to the Jagiellonian University, Faculty of Law & Administration for a meeting with Michał Bobrźynski, Dean of the School of American Law. They were joined initially by Professor Krzysztof Opustil who teaches corporate law classes at the University.
The University was first established by King Casimir in 1346 and is the second oldest University in Central Europe. The law school encourages students to learn foreign law systems, UK, Ukraine, Austrian and also American and French law. There is an exchange program with Universities in the U.S. and abroad. European and Polish law classes are also offered for foreign students. Students come directly to law school from high school, and receive general education plus are prepared for the professional world. Law students are selected based on the results of exit exams in high school and their GPA. Tuition is free in Poland at public universities, and supported by the “central budget.” Students have to pay for their living expenses and text books. Each year 800 students are admitted to the five-year law program, there are approximately 3,000-4,000 students in the program at the present time.
Classes include legal theory, history, political philosophy, torts, contracts, real estate, private law and criminal law. There are more than 100 law faculty members, and many Fulbright scholars come and teach. After taking five years of law school, which include apprenticeship courses, they must pass a Bar examination to receive a Master of Law Degree. Graduates of Jagiellonian University “over perform” those of other universities. Academy President Judge John Einhorn presented the Professor with a $1,000 USD donation. Michał later wrote to the Academy:
Please accept our sincere thanks for your donation. I have spoken with our
Dean and we will most likely use those proceeds to fund a scholarship for one
JU student for the participation in the American Law Program commencing in
the fall of 2015. I am the director of this program that JU organizes in
collaboration with The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.,
and starting next year we will need to introduce tuition to back-charge the costs
to the students. We will inform the recipient of the scholarship about the
identity of the grantor (IATJ) and will ask the recipient to consent to a
disclosure to the Academy of his name and a short-form CV so that you can
inform your members of the identity of the recipient and his/her respective
academic achievements......my best wishes from Krakow.
Following the meeting, the Academy members checked into the Andel’s Hotel for three nights.
FRIDAY - Krakow: The group meet with the President of the Krakow Court of Appeal, Krzysztof Sobierajski, Vice-President of the Court, Andrzej Solarz, and former President of the Court, Andrzej Struzik, and Judge Sędzia Andrzej Seremet (former Prosecutor General of Poland). The Court of Appeal has three Divisions, Civil, Criminal and Labour and Social Security.
In Poland, District Courts are the first instance courts, handling minor civil and criminal cases; there are 315 District Courts throughout Poland. Their decisions are reviewed by the Regional Courts, who handle serious cases with high claim values in civil cases and serious crimes; there are 45 Regional Courts. There are 11 Courts of Appeal which function as the Court of second instance trying decisions of the Regional Courts. There are also Administrative and Military Courts. In the Krakow Court of Appeal they have 45 judges who hear approximately 12,000 cases annually. The Court of Appeal still works with paper files, cases are heard by panels of three judges, the President sits in one session per month, and other appellate judges sit three to four times per month and hear three to four cases each time. “All lower trials are electronically recorded and this recording is the main record and the court has to extract the important issues.” The term of the President of the Court is six years then he returns to “ordinary work.” Judges are chosen by the National Board of Judges, and there are usually 50-60 candidates for one position. The President of the Court appoints the judges, but that is a formality, he has no influence on the nomination. Poland relies on the Codes which are created by Parliament and it is different than the American system.
The Court works with and tries to help its neighboring countries such as Lithuania and the Ukraine, to help them implement new standards in the judicial area “because they are just coming out of the communist time, and they are very open to contacts.” The EU adopted new ordinances which take effect in January which will promote reciprocity between countries, and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments between EU countries.
The Court of Appeal gave the Academy judges a commemorative book prepared for the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Court of Appeal in Krakow (October 2010) entitled, Ląd Apelacyjny w Krakowie. Following the meeting the group went to the Old Town Square, and were fortunate enough to hear the city’s famous bugle call, played every hour, to commemorate a mythical trumpeter who was shot in the neck while belatedly warning the city of Mongol invaders. And saw St. Mary’s Basilica, built in the 14th century, toured Wawel Royal Castle, which was used by the Governors of Krakow in the Renaissance period and the Castle grounds with panoramic views overlooking Krakow.
In the evening the group enjoyed dinner at the Grand Sal Hotel Restaurant, built next door to the Wielczka Salt Mine for people who come to the mine to “partake of the microclimate of the saline chambers which is believed to have a beneficial effect on improving breathing quality and health in general.” The group enjoyed a private tour of the Mine, a cavern of underground lakes and sculptures carved from the crystalline salt. Today it is a nonworking mine, but it was a source of the country’s great wealth in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is a work product of generations of miners and artists, with a history of several hundred years and visited yearly by millions of tourists from all over the world. It has been a UNESCO site since 1978.
SATURDAY - Krakow: In the morning the group left for a visit to Auschwitz for a private guided tour of the Nazi death camp. Between 1941 and 1945 more than one million men, women and children perished in the three Auschwitz concentration camps, Auschwitz, Birkenau and Monowitz. At its peak this complex was a deadly prison to over 150,000 inmates that were murdered outright, starved or worked to death. The Museum was created in 1947 at the site of the camps and receives one million visitors yearly. It was declared a UNESCO site in 1979.
On the way back to Krakow the group had lunch at the Stara Poczta Restaurant. The evening was at leisure.
SUNDAY - Prague: The group transferred by bus to Prague and stopped in Brno for lunch and arrived at the Clarion Old Town Prague for two nights.
IATJ Annual Business Meeting
The annual business meeting was held at the Clarion Hotel, commencing at 7:30 p.m. with all Fellows in attendance. President John Einhorn thanked everyone for coming and hoped they were enjoying the trip. He thanked Diane for all her work planning the trip.
The minutes of the 2013 Vietnam and Cambodia trip were approved as written by motion of Judge Kevin Midlam; second by Judge James Jackman, although it was noted there were no judges on the trip this year who had attended the 2013 trip.
The Treasurer’s Report submitted by Treasurer Tully Seymour and prepared by Diane Bowen, reported a balance on hand as of October 1, 2014 of $4,804.29 (encumbered by $1,209.77 trip expenses to be paid, and the recent $1,000 scholarship donation). The report was approved as submitted upon motion of Judge Kevin Midlam; second by Judge Wendell Mortimer.
The membership report was reviewed. It was noted the Academy needed to look to the future and come up with some younger members that will come on the trips. One member was dropped for non-payment of dues for 2013 and 2014.
Judge Tully Seymour, Chair of the nominating committee consisting of past-president Judge Kevin Midlam and current President John Einhorn reported that President-elect Maren Nelson had advised that she was unable to take the Presidency in 2015. The nominations were: Judge Tully Seymour, President (2015), Judge Tom Murphy, President-elect (2016) and Judge Wendell Mortimer, Chancellor (2017). The nominations were moved closed by Judge Midlam, second by Judge Einhorn, and unanimously approved.
There was discussion regarding how much longer Diane Bowen would continue to do the business of the Academy.
The 2015 meeting was discussed. Judge Seymour indicated he would like to plan a cruise on the Rhone through the Bordeaux and Provence regions of southern France, or in the alternative a coastal New England fall foliage cruise. The judges indicated they would be interested in southern France.
Judges were reminded to attach the AmaWaterway’s cruise tags on their luggage with their cabin numbers visible. Gratuities for the bus driver and the tour guide, Adam were discussed. The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
MONDAY - Prague: In the morning the judges went to the Czech Arbitration Court, which is attached to the Economic Chamber and Agricultural Chamber of the Czech Republic, to meet with Vice-President Miloš Pohůnek, Dr. Jur., who has been in the Arbitration Court for 20 years.
The Arbitration Court was established in 1949 and is recognized in Europe for keeping up with modern arbitration trends and delivering transparent and competent arbitration of disputes. Arbitration proceedings are governed by Parliamentary Acts. Up until 1994 the arbitration proceedings were restricted to international commercial disputes. In 1995 the Arbitration Act introduced proceedings in both international and domestic disputes, and the most recent Act passed in 2012, pays special attention to consumer disputes influenced by legislation of the EU.
Cases accepted in the Arbitration Court must have included a arbitration clause in writing in their agreement or contract, or have been amended to agree to the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court. Should arbitration begin and jurisdiction is decided to be invalid, the Arbitration Court will stop the proceedings, and both parties can take the claim within 30days to the ordinary court of law and the court is obliged to decide on the issue. Proceedings can be conducted in Czech, English, German, French and Russian languages, and can be conducted on-line. Proceedings can also be conducted using other rules if the parties agree. In 2005 the Arbitration Court acquired the possibility to decide domain disputes.
Fees for the Court are established by the Acts and at the present time fees for domestic dispute arbitrations with a value of up to CZK 50,000,000 ($2,261,870) is 4% of the dispute value or a minimum fee of CZK 10,000 ($452.37). The percentages go down for cases with a value higher than CZK 50,000,000. International disputes have a different “tariff of costs.” The fees must be paid by the claimant upon filing of the Statement of Claim and by the defendant upon filing a counterclaim. If the fee is not paid the proceedings shall be discontinued. Fees can be reduced by using a sole arbitrator, if the arbitration award is rendered “without reasoning,” or if the matter is withdrawn within seven days before the date of the hearing. Fees are also increased if the parties ask for an expedited proceeding.
Disputes are resolved by a tribunal of three arbitrators, or if agreed by the parties, a sole
arbitrator. Arbitrators are agreed upon and named by the parties when they file their
Statement of Claim. If they do not name an arbitrator(s) the President of the Arbitration
Court will appoint the arbitrator(s). There are more than 300 arbitrators on the panel and
about 10% are foreign arbitrators from the US and Europe.
In 2000 the court heard 192 disputes, 40 were international; in 2005, 869 disputes, 60
international; in 2010, 2,946 disputes, 160 international; in 2011 3,110 disputes, 150
international; and in 2013 2,406 disputes, 189 international. At any stage of the proceedings the arbitrator(s) can ask the parties to consider a settlement.
Following the meeting the group enjoyed a tour of Prague Castle, once the home of
Bohemian royalty and then a walking tour over the St. Charles Bridge into the Old Town. The Farewell Dinner was at the Plzenska Restaurant.
TUESDAY - Danube Cruise: Tully and Jan left the trip and the rest of the group were
transferred to Vilshofen, driving through the southern Bavarian Forest for embarkation on an AmaWaterways cruise ship, the AmaPrima, for their cruise down the Danube.
The Danube is Europe’s second longest river and flows from the Black Forest in Germany to its mouth in Romania before it empties into the Black Sea. The first night the cruisers were welcomed by an Oktoberfest with German wine and pretzels and Bavarian music and dancers, followed by a Welcome Dinner in the semi-private Chef’s Dining Room.
WEDNESDAY: In the morning cruisers could enjoy free time in Vilshofen and then the AmaPrima sailed at noon for Passau. A Bavarian lunch was served followed by a walking tour of Passau, known as the city of three rivers, the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz. The evening entertainment was a private concert of the Sounds of Austria by local singers.
THURSDAY: The AmaPrima docked in Linz and in the morning there was a walking tour of the city available, or cruisers could enjoy the city on their own. Available for afternoon excursions were a full or half day in Salzburg, where the Sound of Music movie was made, a scenic bus tour of the Austrian Lake district, or a visit to Český Krumlow in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO site and an example of a central European small town from the middle ages on the bend of the Vltava River. In the evening the cruisers were entertained by the La Strada string trio.
FRIDAY: The AmaPrima arrived in Melk in the morning and cruisers toured the Melk Monastery, one of the most famous cultural sights in Austria. Once the residence of the Babenberg family, it became a Benedictine monastery in 1089 founded by Leopold II. For over 900 years monks have continued to live and work in Melk Abbey, and there is also a school at the Abbey.
The AmaPrima sailed to Krems through the famous Wachau Valley. Cruisers enjoyed a
commentary pointing out the sights along the Danube, including castles (picture below) and villages. In the afternoon there was a walking tour of the 16th century village of Dürnstein. Above the town are the ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. In the evening, following a Halloween Dinner, cruisers could visit the Winzer Krems wine cellar in Krems. Rieslings and Gruner Veltliner wines in this region tend to have freshness, spiciness, finesse and complexity.
SATURDAY: Overnight the AmaPrima sailed to Vienna, the capital and largest city in Austria. Vienna is a UNESCO site. Various sightseeing tours were available and cruisers visited the historic city center, grand buildings and notable monuments, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and museums. Optional tours were available to Schönbrunn Palace, once the 1,441 room summer palace of the Habsburgs, and an example of Baroque architecture and opulence. In the evening many members of the IATJ group enjoyed a concert of Mozart and Strauss in one of the great former concert houses of Imperial Vienna, followed by an illuminated bus tour of the enchanting Ringstrasse by night.
SUNDAY: In the morning cruisers enjoyed the scenery as the AmaPrima sailed from Vienna to Bratislava, Slovakia, newly formed in 1993, arriving after lunch. Walking tours of Bratislava, culinary tours and a tour entitled Communism tour were offered. In the evening the AmaPrima held its Captain’s Farewell Cocktail party and dinner and the AmaPrima set sail for Budapest.
MONDAY: The AmaPrima sailed into Budapest in the morning, and cruisers were encouraged to watch from the sun deck as the ship entered. In the morning cruisers enjoyed a tour of Buda and Pest on both sides of the Danube. The cities merged in 1873 and officially became Budapest. Cruisers enjoyed seeing the City Park, the Opera House, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Hero’s Square, Buda Castle Hill and Fisherman’s Bastion and finishing at the Great Market Hall. From the Market cruisers could walk back to the AmaPrima docked a few blocks away. Evening entertainment prior to the Hungarian Dinner was by Hungarian folklore dancers. After dinner cruisers enjoyed a very special Illumination cruise on the Danube through Budapest.
TUESDAY: Academy members disembarked the AmaPrima and flew home via Paris.
Written By Diane Z. Bowen, Chief Administrative Officer
I certify that all Fellows of the Academy listed above attended all the meetings of the
President John Einhorn