French magistrates go on strike over work conditions that encourage 'cheap justice'

© AFP/Thomas Coëx

Unions representing magistrates, lawyers and clerks have called for demonstrations and strikes across France on Tuesday to protest against deteriorating work conditions which, they say, are creating a system of "cheap justice".

Rallies are set take place during the day - particularly in Paris - to express frustration over the "titanic workload".


The president of the Magistrates Union (USM) Ludovic Friat told France Info on Tuesday: "We wanted to draw the attention of political decision-makers again because in the courts, the feeling is that the situation has not improved at all but rather that it has deteriorated.

"In the end, we have a results that are not satisfactory either for them (the judges) or for our fellow citizens."

He added that burnout is not only symbolic in the justice system but "widespread", and that there are people in the courts "who are burnt out or who feel unwell at home or in their office because they can't cope".

Judge Viviane Brethenoux, also speaking to France Info, said magistrates are in a "permanent emergency, under pressure from numbers, when deep down, we want to do this job because we love people," and spoke of "ethical suffering" among her colleagues.

It created an electric shock and alerted the general public to the working conditions of the institution and has now been signed by nearly 8,000 magistrates, court auditors and clerks.

The government investigated the issue and found that the France’s legal institution was indeed "in an advanced state of disrepair".

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