Best judicial practices: France and Quebec inspire each other

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Best judicial practices: France and Quebec inspire each other

French Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti at the Élysée Palace on May 7, 2022.

Whether in France or in Quebec, the judicial system faces many challenges, whether it be waiting times that may seem unreasonable before hearing a case, certain procedures that are particularly cumbersome, others that do not reflect our time or work tools that age badly.

A working group made up of French and Quebecers is at its third meeting since June in order to to share their best practices in the field and, who knows, to inspire their counterparts. At the invitation of the Minister of Justice of Quebec, Simon Jolin-Barrette, his French counterpart Éric Dupond-Moretti was in Montreal this week. Geneviève Asselin received it on the show 24-60 on Friday.

Among the issues that hold the attention of the two ministers, the fight against violence against women and children occupies an important place.

Quebec has already officially launched its pilot project for specialized courts for sexual and domestic violence. France is considering it for the moment. Minister Dupond-Moretti recognizes the importance of improving the situation and better protecting children, stressing that a parliamentary mission is looking into the issue.

He wants to improve training police officers who receive testimonies from victims, but also from magistrates, and improve the support offered to victims.

Already, the use of the grave danger phone – a tool developed in France – by people threatened by their former companion has been giving good results for many years. The device, which is handed over by a judge, makes it possible to join the forces of order by pressing a simple button. Last year alone, 1,200 interventions prevented crimes, sometimes serious violence, according to the French minister.

During his visit to Montreal, Minister Dupond-Moretti was particularly impressed by the Child Witness Program in Quebec, thanks to which children called to testify in court can go to the courtroom a week before, walk around it, sit in the various armchairs, a question of familiarizing themselves with the places and being more comfortable during their testimony.

He also expressed his interest in the conference Amicable Settlement (CRA), which allows parties to settle a case before it goes to court.

Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti recognizes that I have come to copy a number of things that work well, but the exercise is not a one-way street and Quebec is monitoring close to good practices in France.

France is much more advanced than Quebec in terms of digitizing court records. Its program called digital criminal procedure has already completely dematerialized all files. No more wheelbarrows filled with documents pushed by clerks and administrative officers of the court, he illustrated. The digitization of files makes it possible to go faster and to make justice more fluid and closer.

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