The Modero Charter groups a number of basic principles, which each judicial officer in the Modero Network needs to uphold. These arrangements are also quality standards and are classified into three categories.
Each partner undertakes to do the following:
- Not to exacerbate the downward financial spiral which customers may find themselves in. To the contrary, the judicial officer will take account of the customer’s financial situation to prevent their situation from structurally deteriorating.
- Not to charge any costs other than those provided by the underlying agreement or by law. We have always been in favour of judicial officers not charging excessive coststo the customer in case of debt recovery. This Charter repeats this principle.
- To respect and protect the customer’s privacy. Being contacted by a judicial officer because of unpaid debts may be a sensitive matter. That is why all judicial officers ensure that the specifics of the case are only discussed with the customer (or their representative). Also when exchanging data regarding the customer’s identity and/or solvency, all measures will be taken to prevent this information from falling into the hands of third parties.
- Preference is given to an amicable resolution, if this serves the interests of the client. For this reason, all judicial officers will attempt to contact the customer and propose an amicable settlement for their case. Only if the customer is unwilling to arrive at an amicable settlement, will legal proceedings be initiated with a view to a forced execution.
As we want to set a new standard for how judicial officers collect debts, it is all the more important for us to protect and reinforce the image and integrity of the profession. All judicial officers therefore undertake to take a number of measures:
- Judicial officers, in line with our vision statement, are aware of the current problems regarding debt collection and will look for solutions for a better tomorrow. That is why all judicial officers must, at all times, be aware of and actively inform themselves about the latest legal and ethical topics.
- When there is controversy or uncertainty about how to put legal or ethical provisions into practice, judicial officers who are working together on an assignment will, after consulting with each other, apply the approach that least affects the customer’s rights and best serves the interests of the client. When we are forced to take such a position, we will also actively take steps to put an end to this controversy or uncertainty. This may be done by putting the issue before the National Board of Judicial officers of Belgium or before the legislator or the courts.
- Judicial officers are aware of the responsibilities inherent to their office. Also outside of their jobs, judicial officers will have to be aware of the exemplary role inherent to their office. For example, they will refrain from, either in person or via a company, taking steps that may cast doubt on their observing the standards of professional secrecy, ethics or integrity, for example by conducting commercial activities that are incompatible with or do not further their duties as a judicial officer.
- Judicial officers will also ensure that their objectivity, independence and impartiality are preserved at all times. If they consider that they cannot handle a certain case, as it would conflict with these norms, they will refrain from handling said case and entrust it to another judicial officer.
- The Charter naturally not only applies to judicial officers, but also to all subcontractors and contractors who help them carry out their duties. Judicial officers are also liable vis-à-vis clients to ensure that service providers or subcontractors abide by the principles of the Charter.
Lastly, the third section of the Charter contains a number of commitments that allow for transparency and openness vis-à-vis the customer, the client and all other stakeholders. Since we, as judicial officers, manage considerable amounts of third party funds coming from customers but belonging to our clients, we need to provide full transparency. That is why we apply the following standards:
- Judicial officers must be able to demonstrate the financial stability and continuity of their business at all times. If and as long as there is a risk that the judicial officer’s agency may encounter financial problems, the partners will ensure that the third party funds and cases entrusted to this agency are handled properly.
- Customers must be able to get a detailed statement about each case at all times. Moreover, customers must be able to access the records that are part of their case file, unless this would violate other provisions of the Charter regarding social responsibility, professional integrity and transparent services. Clients must also be able to obtain, upon simple request and at least every quarter, a detailed overview of the amounts recovered.
- Judicial officers will handle any third-party funds separately, both in an accounting and banking sense. Judicial officers will record payments, beneficiaries and amounts to be charged on via a separate accounting system. Funds will also always be kept in a separate third-party account, to prevent third-party funds from getting mixed up with the agency’s own funds.
- All judicial officers accept that external reviews of how third-party funds are managed can and will be performed. Their preparation for a possible review is submitted annually. When an external review has taken place, the results of this review will also be shared with the other partners.