The High Council of Judges and Prosecutors
Instituted under Act no. 1.364 of 16 November 2009 on the status of the Judiciary, the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors is a collegial body invested with an important role in the administration of justice.
Firstly, the objective of the High Council is to ensure that fairness, equal treatment, and all the principles which a State of Law must comply with in managing the careers of independent judges are observed.
Secondly, the High Council is also required to exercise disciplinary power with regard to judges. The disciplinary procedure is covered by safeguards aimed, in particular, at ensuring compliance with its adversarial nature.
Lastly, the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors may be consulted by the Prince on any question relating to the organisation and functioning of justice.
The High Council of Judges and Prosecutors is composed of seven members:
- The Secretary of Justice, President
- The First President of the Court of Revision, Vice-President
- A full member of the Crown Council
- A full member appointed, from outside itself, by the National Council
- A full member appointed, from outside itself, by the Supreme Court
- Two members elected by the judges
It acts with no less than five members.
When the High Council sits on disciplinary matters, it is no longer presided over by the Secretary of Justice – who thus becomes the prosecuting authority – and is joined by an additional member, in this case the President of the Court of Appeal.
Responsibilities regarding the recruitment and careers of judges
It is mandatory that the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors is consulted prior to any judicial administrative decisions being taking concerning the career of a judge with regard to recruitment, promotion, position, training and honorary status.
Consultation on any question relating to the organisation or functioning of justice is optional, at the Prince’s discretion.
Therefore, the aim of the High Council is to become a medium for discussion within which the broad guidelines framing the development of the Monegasque judiciary are forged.
When the High Council sits on disciplinary matters, it is no longer presided over by the Secretary of Justice, but the President of the Court of Revision. Its composition is therefore complemented by the First President or, if necessary, the Vice-President of the Court of Appeal.
The Presidency of the High Council being held by the highest sitting judge in the Principality offers substantial judicial guarantee to the judge subject to the disciplinary proceedings.
However, the responsibility for initiating the disciplinary action remains that of the Secretary of Justice, either due to information he has direct knowledge of, or in view of a statement of facts notified by a head of court or jurisdiction.
The person concerned is required to appear in person, assisted, if he so wishes, by a counsel of his choosing. In the case of failure to appear or lack of justification for a legitimate impediment, the High Council shall act in the absence of the person concerned.
Furthermore, an administrative procedure is initiated whereby a judge who has been disciplined, but not revoked, may obtain permission from the Secretary of Justice for any trace of the disciplinary sanction to be removed from his file after 5 or 10 years (depending on the case).
These provisions comply with the principle of independence between disciplinary action and criminal proceedings exercised by the Public Prosecution Department or the plaintiff(s) claiming for damages.
The appointment of members of the High Council, the quality of its members and the responsibilities conferred upon it by law make it an essential part of the statute of the magistrature, as amalgamated and updated by Act no 1.364 of 16th November 2009.
- 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