Law of orientation and programming of justice – May 2023 – (1/2)
5 May 2023
Inspired by the Etats Généraux de la justice launched in October 2021, the bills of orientation and programming of justice as well as the one on the status of the judiciary were presented by the Minister of Justice, this Wednesday, May 3, in the Council of Ministers.
The stated ambition is to simplify the criminal procedure.
The reform affects in particular the use of contractual employees (1.) but also the criminal procedure (2.).
1. Judicial attachés called upon to reinforce the “jurisdictional team” around the magistrate
Article 11 of the bill intends to strengthen the judicial team around the magistrate by creating the position of judicial attaché.
The judicial attachés would be either civil servants or contractual and would perform functions “including decision support, case law research, drafting briefing notes, supporting public and partnership policies and even drawing up various requisitions in criminal matters” .
2. The considered amendments in criminal procedure
- Codification of the code of criminal procedure in accordance with the law
The law of orientation and programming for justice proposes to empower the Government to rewrite the code of criminal procedure by means of ordinances, following the example of the procedure for adopting the code of criminal justice for minors.
The purpose of this codification under constant law is thus to rewrite, regroup and reorganize the various provisions of the code of criminal procedure in order to modernize them.
- Reform of the status of assisted witness and procedural adjustments
In particular, the bill includes a reform of the status of assisted witness (Témoin assisté), for which new rights, including the right to appeal, are expected. He would also be able to request counter-expertise and would be notified of more acts by the investigating judge.
The Minister of Justice also wishes to allow a wider use of the Delayed Appearance procedure, which allows prosecutors to subject the accused to surveillance and control measures, by the liberty and custody judge, while continuing the investigation for a maximum period of four months.
It also provides for a change in the regime of night-time house searches, which could now be carried out for ordinary crimes, with the authorization of the liberty and custody judge if there is a “risk of harm to life or physical integrity or if there is an immediate risk of the disappearance of evidence and clues of the crime that has just been committed“.
The project also envisages the extension of special investigative techniques to allow remote activation of connected devices for the purposes of geolocation and sound and image capture.
Finally, in terms of community service, the orientation and programming law considers the generalization of the possibility of using social and solidarity economy companies.
- Provisions relating to the compensation of victims
The bill provides for a broadening of the scope of offences that can be referred to the Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Crime.
The bill intends to extend the CIVI compensation to offences such as blackmail and abuse of weakness and to extend the compensation to home invasions with a serious material situation requirement but without a resource treshold.
It is also planned to open a one-stop shop. The goal is to accompany the victims and their families in better conditions in their steps and procedures.
The Senate will soon consider this bill.
Another aspect concerns civil procedure with the promotion of amicable dispute resolution.
 Speech of 27/02/23 – M. DUPOND-MORETTI