The Court of Revision
The Court of Revision is the highest level of the Monegasque judicial system.
Except in cases where the law stipulates otherwise, the Court of Revision rules on all matters concerning breaches of the law, and on appeals lodged against any last resort decision or final judgment of the court.
The Court of Revision is not, in principle, a third level of jurisdiction. However, in view of the specific way that the Monegasque judiciary is organised, it becomes such when, after a decision is set aside by the trial judge at the court below, the Court (composed differently) refers the case before it so as to retry it definitively in fact and in law.
The majority of the decisions submitted to the Court by the appeals are judgments delivered by the Court of Appeal on civil, criminal, commercial and administrative matters. However, there is also a significant proportion of judgments from the Court of First Instance acting as an appeal court for the Employment Tribunal or the Judge of the Peace.
Organisation and operation
By statute, the Court of Revision comprises seven judges: a First President, a Vice-President and five advisors, who are called upon to sit in the Court following the order in which they were appointed. The majority of these judges come from the French Court of Cassation. They are appointed by Sovereign Ordinance.
The rulings of the Court of Revision are only valid when it sits in a formation of at least three members.
Revision in civil, commercial and administrative matters
The time limit for lodging an appeal for review is, in principle, 30 days from the date the referred decision was made. This deadline applies to parties resident in Monaco and in the majority of European countries, including France and Italy. It is extended to 60 days for parties residing in North America, and to 90 days for all other countries.
The appeal is lodged by notification to the General Court Registry and recorded in a special register. In the 30 days following the notification, the plaintiff must serve notice to the other party, accompanied by a signed petition from an avocat-défenseur (1), outlining the pleas.
At the hearing, a Court of Revision judge, designated as the reporting judge by the First President, reads out his report. The reading is followed, if necessary, by the lawyers’ arguments, and then the conclusions of the Public Prosecution Department. The case is then deliberated upon. The decision must be delivered within 30 days following the closure of the hearing.
The Court of Revision is required to examine appeals considered to be urgent (2) outside of session, this means in accordance with a solely written procedure. In these cases, the procedure must be closed and the decision delivered within 45 days from the date the documents were received by the First President. The Court can also be referred cases, on the request of the Secretary of Justice, and appeals, in the interest of the Law, by the Prosecutor General.
Decisions by the Court of Revision may reject appeals, annul the decisions referred to it, and/or refer a case back to a lower court to be judged again at another session, following additional conclusions from the parties involved.
In administrative matters, if the Supreme Court is the judge of ultra vires action and its damaging consequences, it is the judges, and hence also the Court of Revision, who hear the remainder of the disputes regarding the responsibility of the State and its administrations, which do not receive any legal privilege.
(1) This legal obligation (Code of Civil Procedure, Articles 445 and 456) does not obstruct, as is the case before other courts, the parties from entrusting their interests to lawyers from foreign bar associations who have been admitted to the bar with the authorisation of the First President. They provide the counsel and deliver the arguments, while, in this case, the Monegasque avocat-défenseur undertakes the application formalities only.
(2) The list of categories of appeals considered to be urgent is established by Article 459 of the Code of Civil Procedure
Revision in criminal matters
In criminal matters, last resort and final judgments or decisions delivered on criminal, correctional, or law and order matters by a lower court for a breach of law, violation of rules of power or failure to observe essential procedural requirements, may be referred to the Court of Revision. These include the constitutive procedures of the court or the decision, and those stipulated to ensure that prosecution is carried out and that the rights of the defence are protected.
The time limit for lodging an appeal for review is 5 days from the date, depending on the case, the judgment or deferred decision was delivered. The procedures are the same as for civil matters except that the time limit for filing the request is 15 days (rather than 30) from the notice of the appeal.
The Court examines the appeal documents only and delivers its decision in the 45 days following the date the file was received by the First President. In the case of cassation, the Court of Revision refers the case to its next session where it will be composed differently.
Any decision taken on the referral may be appealed, as with the preceding decision and by any means other than those rejected by the decision under review. If this new appeal refers to the means rejected by the decision under review, the Court of Revision annuls the disputed decision on grounds of ultra vires action and rules on the merits as quickly as possible.
As in civil matters, the Court of Revision may also hear appeals lodged in the interest of the law.
Similarly, it also rules on requests to re-open a trial in the case of an error of fact made by a court.
The Court of Revision, through its jurisprudence, which is widely published and often commented upon, contributes significantly to the development of Monegasque law, and also to its influence through the francophone Association of High Courts of Cassation (AHJUCAF) which it is a member of.
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