“Social culture saves time and pleasure”
This Friday, the Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti went to the judicial court of Saint-Quentin, in the Aisne, to present, in front of an audience of magistrates and elected officials, the new measures that are more inspired of the Estates General of Justice, of which the Sauvé report is the synthesis. The opportunity for the former lawyer to congratulate himself on ” an unprecedented citizen consultation “, while insisting on the need for reform to remedy a ” organization of justice “WHO” is not optimale “. Putting an increase in the budgets of Justice ” historical “, Eric Dupond-Moretti also did not fail to remember that this was accompanied by the sixty steps he defended in the JDD.
Read also – Justice: here is the content of Éric Dupond-Moretti’s action plan
You presented on Thursday the sixty steps of the next justice reform. How would you summarize this action plan?
In other words, this action plan is operational and concrete. The idea of this action plan is to divide the time spent for judgments, by strengthening the means given to justice as never before and by simplifying the procedures. We must respond quickly to the expectations of our citizens, but also of justice professionals. The first believes, correctly, that Justice is too slow and too complicated, the latter points out, also correctly, the lack of resources and organizational problems that hinder them. To solve these problems, we need additional resources, which we will do by investing 7.5 billion euros over a five-year term, but we must also simplify our system.
Faced with the alarming findings of the Sauvé report about the state of the judicial institution, will the increase in the budget be enough to turn the tide?
Budget is a key lever. We will recruit, in five years, 10,000 staff, including 1,500 magistrates and 1,500 clerks, that is, as many magistrates as there were twenty years ago. This is a historic recruiting plan. At the same time, in 2027, we will complete the construction of the 15,000 additional prisons promised by the President of the Republic. All this is accompanied by the desire to be imprisoned better and to do it in dignified conditions. We must not forget the prison staff, for whom this will concretely improve the daily working conditions. Moreover, when prison conditions are better, the effectiveness of reintegration is much greater.
It takes a long time and the French can’t stand it
One of your big announcements was the launch of a ” peaceful policy “, favor” participatory justice “. Concretely, what does this mean?
It’s simple, it’s about putting litigants at the heart of their litigation, while preserving the primary role of judges and lawyers. As a citizen, the decision of the court in which you participate is a decision that you understand better and, therefore, you accept more. Take the example of a liability lawsuit. There are two questions to be decided: who is liable, and if liability is found, how to ensure that the person who suffered the injury is compensated. Now, what happens is that both sides have to tell the judge everything, in writing. Then there may be referrals, often requested by lawyers and, sometimes, by the judge himself. It takes a long time and the French can’t stand it. When a case is above them, like a sword of Damocles, they want it gone quickly. In our current system, judges are solely responsible for ending all exchanges.
How to change this system?
We were inspired by the Netherlands model, which knows twice as many procedures as we do, but processes them in half the time. On average, the civil procedure in France is two years. My goal is to cut that time in half. To minimize this delay, the judge must refocus on his core business: deciding the law and allowing litigants to participate in legal action. And all this while saving time. The parties should be encouraged to go to mediation and entrust it to a magistrate. A friendly culture saves time and pleasure. It represents 80% of the proceedings in the Netherlands and 1% in France, and it is without a judge in the middle, when he can bring his aura and his technicality. We must encourage society as a whole to move forward with it. For example, insurers may encourage their policyholders to opt for a settlement. Lawyers will also be encouraged to use this reform and we will also provide a way by increasing legal aid for this type of procedure.
These steps are the result of great democratic work and represent hundreds of hours of work
We have been talking for years about speeding up procedures, without actually shortening the delays litigants face. Why could the measures presented on Thursday remedy this observation?
This is not the first time that some number of reforms have been announced in this direction, but this time we are providing a strong and necessary way. I remind you that these steps are the result of great democratic work and they represent hundreds of hours of work, after listening carefully to all the players in the judicial system. Faced with a problem, we can take steps. The President of the Republic, he decided to unite the State General to put everything flat. They are all the more important because I am not part of the committee, to give him all the freedom he needs. These steps were not decided by me alone, they are the result of eight months of consultation. The concentration of goodwill must bear fruit, I will put all my determination and all my enthusiasm into it.
Zero paper, mobile application to make justice more accessible to citizens… Isn’t the digitization of justice that you are promoting in this project likely to sideline some less connected litigants?
I remember my first visit to Jean Castex at the Bobigny court. I’m used to it, but he was surprised when he saw the height of the paper stacks. We are changing that. We will accelerate our efforts so that digital is no longer the Achilles heel of justice, but its strong point. Regarding the mobile application that I want to put up for our countrymen, if some find it difficult to access smartphones, we should not deny millions of our countrymen this fluidity. Especially because to be more accessible, we have opened more than 2,000 justice points, which are as close as possible to the litigants. These places dedicated to the poorest allow to get first information and, for free.