French lawyer Jean-Yves Moyart attracted tens of thousands of regular readers to a blog he ran, beginning in 2008, in which he detailed his experiences of the everyday functioning and failings of the justice system in France, the often severe treatment meted out to the socially modest, and the difficulties of his job. The runaway success of his blog led to the publication of extracts in a book released in 2011. Now, following his death from cancer earlier this year, a new selection of his writings appear in a book published this month, reviewed here by Mediapart’s legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan.
Victims of domestic violence in France, the vast majority of who are women, are being failed by the justice system and police, notably by not offering effective responses to formal complaints, concludes a French justice ministry report published at the weekend. The report examined 88 cases of domestic violence that ended in murder during the period 2015-2016, and of these 83 percent of the victims were women, many of whom had previously lodged complaints. Associations monitoring media-reported cases of women murdered by their partners or ex-partners estimate they number 135 so far this year. Meanwhile, justice minister Nicole Belloubet has said that the justice system “very clearly" is malfunctioning, and that new legislation must be drafted to address the failings. Dan Israel reports.
Earlier this month it was revealed that a French justice minister, Jean-Jacques Urvoas, passed on to a Member of Parliament confidential information about a police investigation targeting the MP for suspected tax fraud, money laundering and influence peddling. Mediapart investigative journalist Fabrice Arfi sets out here why the case is just the latest demonstration of the intolerable lack of independence of France’s prosecution services.
The French justice system is cracking apart from the effects of a dire shortage of personnel and resources, with one of the smallest budgets, in comparison to national GDP, in Europe. Magistrates complain they are crushed by their workload, unable to fulfil their tasks. The chronic logjam of cases has often tragic humain consequences, as Michaël Hajdenberg discovered when he asked six magistrates from different jurisdictions across France to give their own accounts of the problems they face.
The controversial introduction last year in France of citizen jurors to assist magistrates in trials of crimes which carry a punishment of between five and ten years is to be abandoned after an official report found the scheme, launched under former president Nicolas Sarkozy, to be ill-conceived, unmanageable and too costly, Mediapart can reveal. Michel Deléan reports.
French justice minister Michel Mercier this week presented before government his bill for a reform of the justice system that will see juries introduced to sentencing in lower criminal courts. Mercier defends the controversial bill, due to begin its passage through the Senate in May, as a means to "better associate the French public with the workings of justice". But it has been sharply attacked by magistrates and the opposition as a populist electoral ploy, and even by members of President Sarkozy's ruling UMP party as a retrograde move that will cripple the functioning of courts. Michel Deléan presents the evidence for the prosecution.