mobilization of magistrates, lawyers and clerks (IMAGES) – RT in French

A day of joint action associating several legal professions was organized on November 22 to denounce very degraded working conditions and the lack of means. They received the support of left-wing politicians.

Rallies took place in several cities and hearing strikes were organized on November 22, the magistrates, lawyers and clerks having called for mobilization against “a justice on the cheap”, a year after a platform which had spread in broad daylight their “suffering” at work.

“The reality on the ground is always overloaded audiences […]delays beyond reasonable, unexplained judgments”, write 19 unions and organizations of magistrates, lawyers or integration advisers in a joint statement calling for “dismissing all hearings” from the day.

Gatherings took place in Orléans, Nice or Poitiers. In the capital, a demonstration took place at midday in front of the judicial court located in the 17th arrondissement, in order to express the fed up of a profession which remains, according to the magistrates’ unions, confronted with a “titanic workload”. “Justice at a discount, justice in danger”, “Justice angry, we will not let it go”, chanted the demonstrators, some of whom had put on their black or red dresses.

Several deputies from La France insoumise came to support them, including Antoine Léaument, Thomas Portes and Ugo Bernalicis, the latter often being on the front line on issues of security and justice.

Europe Ecologie-Les Verts also published a press release in support of the movement, denouncing the “decoy” and the “com coup” of the Estates General of Justice, launched in October 2021 in Poitiers by the President of the Republic in order to remedy to the deep crisis of the institution.

The rallies come a year after the forum signed by 3,000 magistrates and published in The world, who had alerted to the working conditions of an institution plagued by a “serious loss of meaning”. Written after the suicide of a young colleague, the text has today been initialed by nearly 8,000 magistrates, court auditors and court clerks.

Despite a rising budget, a “dilapidated” institution

The Estates General of Justice confirmed this diagnosis by denouncing in July “the state of advanced disrepair” of the institution, a finding to which the ministry tried to respond by winning for 2023 a third consecutive increase of 8% of its annual budget. .

“With this budget of almost 10 billion euros, the Ministry of Justice is continuing its change of dimension with resources commensurate with its missions”, estimated at the end of September the Keeper of the Seals Eric Dupond-Moretti, who will soon reveal a new action plan.

The executive has also undertaken to recruit 8,500 additional magistrates and judicial personnel by the end of Macron’s second five-year term and announced a salary increase of 1,000 euros per month on average for judicial judges.

However, the account is not there, according to professional organizations. “While recruitment of magistrates and registry officials are planned for 2023, they are largely insufficient and no clear action plan has been defined as the urgency of the situation would require”, they write in their joint statement.

According to a report by the Council of Europe dating from the beginning of October, France continues to allocate less credit to justice than its European partners with a comparable GDP: it devoted 72.50 euros per inhabitant to it in 2020, against 82.20 euros in Italy, 88 in Spain and 140.70 in Germany. According to the unions, justice professionals remain “beset by a loss of meaning” while litigants are “reduced to the state of ‘files’ and ‘stocks'”.

In December 2021, magistrates and clerks had already taken to the streets to express the “desperation” of those who dispense justice on a daily basis, a feeling relayed to the top of the judicial hierarchy, some of its representatives having then mobilized.

More recently, in mid-October, the death of a 44-year-old magistrate, in the middle of an immediate appearance hearing in Nanterre, caused a new wave of shock. A minute of silence was observed in several jurisdictions and the Union of the Judiciary pointed to the “particularly difficult” working conditions in Nanterre.

On November 17, this court received the extremely rare visit and support of the two highest French magistrates, the first president of the Court of Cassation Christophe Soulard and the public prosecutor at the Court of Cassation François Molins. “Acknowledging the suffering of the judicial world is no longer taboo,” he told AFP. “We talk about it at all judicial levels. But beyond this observation, are there things that are moving forward?” he asked.

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