January 26, 2022

The demonstration of the magistrates imposes the question of the means for the future of justice

In Rennes, Lyon, Nîmes, Angers or Douai, lawyers joined the rallies organized in front of the courts at the call of seventeen organizations of magistrates, clerks, judicial officials and lawyers. The unifying slogan for this day was as simple as it was effective: “More means for justice! “ The mobilization was up to the basic movement triggered on November 23 by the cry of alarm launched by young magistrates in a column published by The world.

Suffering at work, dehumanized justice, chain decisions, loss of sense of the mission, the evils evoked by this text have provoked an unprecedented awareness. More than 60% of the country’s magistrates recognized themselves in these words and signed the text. They were joined by more than 1,500 clerks, with less protective status.

While magistrates do not have the right to strike, the Ministry of Justice has asked the heads of jurisdiction to identify those who have declared themselves on strike. According to a few first presidents of appeal courts contacted, the rate of strikers among the magistrates (those who judge) would have been around a quarter. Never seen. This is the first time that the Union Syndicale de Magistrates (USM), the majority union, called a strike alongside the Syndicat de la magistrature. Most of the criminal cases scheduled to go to court on Wednesday would have been postponed to several weeks or months, except in cases with incarcerated people.

The Minister’s “self-righteous response”

The press conference organized on Monday by the Minister of Justice and his remarks made Wednesday morning on the antenna of France Inter did not in any way calm the spirits. While Eric Dupond-Moretti pleaded the cause of the current majority, highlighting the increase in the justice budget during the five-year term of Emmanuel Macron than during the ten years covered by the two previous majorities, it is is the lack of means which made the magistrates leave the courts.

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Céline Parisot, president of the USM, sees in the words of the minister “A technocratic response of self-righteousness far removed from the realities”. If governments since 2017 “Have done more” that the precedents, she recognizes, “We start from so far that there is really nothing to be satisfied”.

In the demonstration organized in Paris near the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, young magistrates at the start of their careers and senior officials of the courts of appeal and even of the Court of Cassation mingled with the staff of the registry.

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