The Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal constitutes the second level of the judiciary in civil, criminal, commercial and administrative matters.
Organisation and operation
The Court is composed of a First President, a Vice-President, and a maximum of two advisers.
It rules on all matters in a composition of no less than three members. If it is not possible for it to be composed of its own members, it may be supplemented by a court judge who has not heard the case in first instance, by the Justice of the Peace or, in their absence, by an avocat-défenseur or the most senior barrister, or by a public notary.
Appeals in civil, commercial or administrative matters
The Court of Appeal adjudicates on appeals of judgments delivered by the Court of First Instance.
The time period for appeals is 30 days from the date the judgment was delivered, unless specific provisions of the law apply. It is lodged by a writ, specifically by an order drawn up by a court bailiff. The appeal suspends the judgment from being enforced, unless provisional enforcement has already been issued. However, the enforcement may be revoked by prior decision by the Court at the time it was issued by the court, except in cases where it is permitted.
The appellants and respondents can only be represented by avocats-défenseurs belonging to the Principality of Monaco bar. However, this does not preclude them from entrusting the provision of advice and the pleadings to foreign lawyers.
The Court sitting in the court chamber can adjudicate on decisions made by the Court of First Instance in accordance with the same procedure, as well as on appeals against orders by the President of the Court of First Instance delivered on request, and those of the Guardianship Judge. The court chamber is a collegial formation of the Court of First Instance. Its hearings are held in private. Article 849 of the Code of Civil Procedure establishes the cases which the court chamber is competent for. These mainly concern family, property or civil status matters, and other cases where uncodified laws confer jurisdiction upon the court chamber. Article 850 determines the procedure for the court chamber, which varies depending on whether or not the proceedings are litigation proceedings
It also adjudicates on appeals of decisions delivered by the Arbitration Commission and the Arbitration Commission of Commercial Leases.
Appeals in criminal matters
Persons sentenced, those found civilly liable, the Public Prosecutor or plaintiffs may lodge an appeal against judgments made by the Correctional Court within 10 days following the date it was delivered, or if appropriate, the date the judgment was notified. However, preparatory judgments, namely those for investigating a case and not pre-judging the merits cannot be subject to appeal.
The appeal is lodged, on penalty of nullity, by a notification received by the general court registrar on the appeals registry.
The appeal is judged based on a report from the adviser and the forms provided by the Correctional Court, both with regard to the instruction delivered at the hearing, the taking of evidence, and the preparation of the judgment (Article 413 of the Code of Criminal Procedure).
The Court of Appeal only rules on the findings which are referred to it. At the request of the Public Prosecution Department, it can confirm a judgment or overturn it in part or in full, as it wishes. However, it cannot increase the sentence of the person making the appeal, if they are the accused or the person found civilly liable. Similarly, if it is the plaintiff claiming for damages making the appeal, the Court cannot amend the judgment so that it is less favourable to them.
In criminal matters, the role of the court chamber of the Court of Appeal is to rule on the indictments brought before it. If the case brought before it qualifies as a crime by law, and if it deems the charges to be sufficient to justify indictment, it orders the referral of the accused before the Criminal Court.
It is also referred appeals against orders delivered by the examining judge, the Guardianship Judge, as well as extradition proceedings.
Hearings in the court chamber are not held in public, only the attendance of the Public Prosecutor is required. The counsel for the plaintiff and the avocat-défenseur for the accused are called to attend the hearing, and the parties involved may also attend upon request.
After having deliberated without the presence of the Public Prosecutor, the court chamber rules as quickly as possible on the demands contained in the submissions, which the counsels for the accused and the plaintiff claiming for damages are allowed to produce the day before the hearing, at the latest.
The specific powers of the First President
The First President of the Court of Appeal plays a specific role in the Principality’s judicial system due to the specific powers and prerogatives conferred upon him by law.
In matters of protocol, he is responsible for the annual ceremony to mark the opening of the courts and tribunals which takes place on 1 October every year. In the judicial structure, he comes immediately under the First President of the Court of Revision.
However, the First President of the Court of Appeal is above all a supervisory role, which monitors the activities of the different actors and bodies in the judicial system.
This includes the chambers of the examining judges and court registrars.
In addition to the powers specific to his role, the First President also has jurisdiction, pursuant to Article 434 of the Code of Civil Procedure, to rule using a summary procedure on difficulties in enforcing decisions made by the Court of Appeal.
He also holds powers as part of his presidency of the court chamber of the Court of Appeal, where he holds disciplinary jurisdiction. When referred to by the Public Prosecutor, the First President can, in effect and without prejudice to the outcome of any criminal proceedings brought, decide on different disciplinary sanctions against court registrars, judicial police officers, avocats-défenseurs, lawyers and junior lawyers, and bailiffs. In contrast, the Ordinance of 04 March 1886 concerning notary publics confers powers of this nature to the Court of First Instance.
Within the Monegasque justice system, the Court of Appeal has a remarkable position in many respects due to its regulatory function, which is both legal and judicial.
Firstly, on the strictly legal side, it is worth noting that many of the Court’s judgments now constitute case law references, thus establishing the Monegasque State of Law. An example of this is the Judgment of 25 June 1974, the Minister of State, the Director of the State Property Authority and the Treasurer-General vs/ Mathyssens and Mrs. Bureau Sénac, which established the principle that public authority liability is distinct from civil liability. This characteristic distinguishes the Principality from its neighbouring countries where legislative standardization is principally carried out by the High Courts of Cassation.
Secondly, on the judicial side, it must be noted that the Court of Appeal, through its supervisory and disciplinary powers, contributes significantly, alongside the Secretary of Justice and the Public Prosecutor, to guaranteeing to those persons subject to be tried that the institution of justice will comply not only with the law, but also with the professional ethics and conduct which are essential to it.
- Constitution of the Principality
- Sovereign powers
- Executive powers
- The foundations of Monegasque justice and Monegasque Law
- The Supreme court
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- The High Council of Judges and Prosecutors
- The Public Prosecution Department
- The Justice of the Peace
- The Court of First Instance
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- The Court of Appeal
- The Court of Revision
- The Criminal Court
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