The Public Prosecution Department
The Public Prosecution Department of the Principality of Monaco has the particularity of being the single Public Prosecution Department for all of the Monegasque courts, before which the Public Prosecution Department is represented, which is where its French name ‘Parquet Général’ (meaning General Public Prosecution Department) comes from.
The Public Prosecution Department is represented at hearings held before the majority of the courts:
- In criminal matters, the Public Prosecutor gives the prosecution address before the Criminal Court, the Correctional Court, the Court of Appeal ruling on both correctional matters and in the Court Chambers as the examining court, as well as before the Court of Revision. The Public Prosecution Department is represented before the Police Court by a Police Superintendent chosen by the Public Prosecutor
- In civil and commercial matters, the Public Prosecutor acts either as the principal party or as an added party before the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal and the Court of Revision
- In administrative matters, both before the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal ruling on administrative matters, and before the Supreme Court where his role could be compared to that of the ‘rapporteur public’ (reporting judge) before the French Council of State
- In constitutional matters before the Supreme Court
The responsibilities of the Public Prosecution Department are, therefore, very diverse.
In civil matters, the Public Prosecutor is entrusted with protecting certain categories of vulnerable persons: minors in danger, incapacitated adults (for example, trusteeship or guardianship), as well as defending the interests of absentees and the poor.
It also plays an important role in maintaining the civil register and monitoring its legality.
The Public Prosecutor also has powers in matters of international judicial cooperation. As such, he is the recipient of, and provides notification of, legal processes from or to foreign destinations, requiring the execution of letters rogatory issued by foreign judges on civil, commercial or criminal matters. The Public Prosecution Department also receives and initiates extradition procedures from and to foreign destinations.
In criminal matters, the Public Prosecutor receives all complaints and allegations addressed directly to him, as well as those filed with the Monegasque police services, whose investigating police officers come under his authority and who must send him their written statements and reports.
Upon receipt of the complaints and allegations, the Public Prosecutor determines the response they will receive.
Before making a decision, he may require the police services to undertake further investigations as part of a preliminary enquiry.
If the offence is deemed to be punishable by law, four procedures for prosecuting the perpetrators are available to him if the acts are likely to be criminal offences and the perpetrator is presumed to be an adult:
- The direct summons to appear before the Correctional Court procedure in which the alleged perpetrator is released after his hearing by the police services until he receives his judgment. He will then be judged after full argument on both sides or by default after having been summonsed by a writ
- The appearance on notification procedure during which the alleged perpetrator is referred before the Public Prosecutor who notifies him of the charges against him, and the date he is to appear before the Correctional Court, before releasing him. The person concerned will then be judged after full argument on both sides even if he does not present himself to the court
- The flagrante delicto procedure where the alleged perpetrator is also presented to the Public Prosecutor, and is notified of the charges against him and the date of the hearing he is to attend, which will be in the Correctional Court closest to where he will be detained, based on the arrest warrant issued by the Public Prosecutor. However, the time between the arrest warrant being issued and his appearance before the Tribunal cannot exceed three working days
- Opening a preliminary judicial investigation for referral to an examining judge for cases needing detailed investigations which cannot be carried out under the inquiry procedure
In criminal matters or when the alleged perpetrator is a minor, opening a preliminary judicial investigation is mandatory.
The Public Prosecutor is consulted by the Secretary of Justice on requests for conditional release and also for the graces and amnesties granted by H.S.H. the Prince. He implements these measures, where appropriate. The Public Prosecutor is responsible for implementing decisions on criminal convictions.
The Public Prosecutor also has the power to inspect and monitor the Remand Prison and to monitor the judicial professionals (bailiffs, public notaries, avocats-défenseurs and lawyers).
He also contributes to the implementation of the naturalisation procedures and the declaration of Monegasque nationality.
The Public Prosecutor presides or sits in several commissions, in particular the Special Commission charged with ruling on driving licence suspensions, and the Commission for the Control of Financial Activities.
Organisation and operation
The Public Prosecution Department is currently composed of the Public Prosecutor, a first substitute and two other substitutes. The Public Prosecutor is also assisted by a General Secretary, a Chief Secretary, and a Secretariat who carry out the administrative tasks. The principle of indivisibility of the Public Prosecution Department enables each substitute to represent the Department in the place of the Public Prosecutor. He is therefore represented at all pleadings and hearings. Although they are under the authority of the Public Prosecutor, who is himself under the authority of the Secretary of Justice, every judge in the Public Prosecution Department has complete freedom of speech within hearings, pursuant to the adage that “The pen is subservient, the spoken word is free” (“la plume est serve mais la parole est libre”). This statute and freedom of speech is maintained today by Article 8 of Act no. 1.364 of 16 November 2009 on the status of the Judiciary
Pursuant to Articles 26 and 27 of the Act No. 1.398 of 24 June 2013 pertaining to judicial administration and organisation , the Secretary of Justice has the power to direct public prosecutions, however he cannot exercise this power on his own, nor can he stop or suspend prosecutions already underway. However, he can give written instructions to the magistrates of the Public Prosecution Department who are obliged to comply with them in their written processes.
- Constitution of the Principality
- Sovereign powers
- Executive powers
- The foundations of Monegasque justice and Monegasque Law
- The Supreme court
- The Department of Justice
- The Remand Prison of Monaco
- The High Council of Judges and Prosecutors
- The Public Prosecution Department
- The Justice of the Peace
- The Court of First Instance
- Specialised Courts and Judges
- The Court of Appeal
- The Court of Revision
- The Criminal Court
- The General Court Registry
- The Officers of the Law
- Legal aid
- Assemblies and constitutional bodies