In Memoriam: Prof. dr. Marcel Storme
Jos Hoevenaars was interviewed for the Dutch magazine for the legal profession ‘Het Advocatenblad’ about his insight into the experiences of lawyers who find themselves litigating before the European Court of Justice after their case is referred though a reference for a preliminary ruling. In the interview (freely translated: ‘Court of Justice? Experience Needed!’) he discusses his empirical research among Dutch lawyers and paints a picture of generally overwhelmed professionals scrambling for assistance among EU law scholars, while making the best of their opportunity to plead before the ECJ, often in opposition to a group of well-trained EU law experts appearing on behalf of intervening Member States. His work on the reference procedure highlight the inequality in representation before the ECJ and its potential negative impact on the Court’s caselaw and its national consequences.
Published: April 5, 2018
On 30 March 2018, at the age of 87, Prof. Marcel Storme passed away in his beloved home city of Ghent. Over and above his many other professional capacities, he was primarily professor emeritus of civil procedure at the University of Ghent, and honorary president of the International Association of Procedural Law. His visionary work in the field of civil procedure and his passion for the harmonisation of procedural laws in Europe remain of immeasurable value.
Professor Storme, in my 2012 inaugural lecture, I called you one of the founding fathers of European civil procedure, and referred to your ‘cathedral builder’s dream’ (Riksumeikan Law Review, 2005). In the same lecture, I also thanked you for being a tremendous source of inspiration. And that is precisely what you have been, and will continue to be. From the beginning, you supported me every step of the way along the path of my career − sometimes visibly and other times behind the scenes. You were present at my inaugural lectures in Rotterdam and Leuven, and at the procedural law conferences I organised in Rotterdam; and you were never more than an email away whenever I needed to call upon you. You were so proud when the endowed chair on European civil procedure − now merged with a permanent chair within the private law department − was established in Rotterdam. I cherish the collection of mostly handwritten letters, the kind notes in the books and paper extracts you gave to me, and every occasion of your personal encouragement over the years. You wrote that not only do I fuel the flame of European civil procedure but academically I also keep it burning.
Dear Professor Storme, dear Marcel, together with my ERC team and our wonderful group of international colleagues and friends (your 'biotope'), I will keep alive your dream of building upon civil justice in Europe. Thank you so much for all you have done for me and for so many others. I can end this tribute in no other way than in the four languages you used so easily and interchangeably in your talks: rest in peace – repose en paix – rust in vrede – ruhe in frieden.