“The reality on the ground is always overloaded hearings (…), unreasonable delays, unexplained judgments”, write 19 unions and organizations of magistrates, lawyers or integration advisers in a joint statement, calling for “dismissing all hearings” on Tuesday.

Rallies must also take place during the day, in particular in Paris in front of the judicial court at 12:00 p.m., to express the fed up of a profession which remains, according to the magistrates’ unions, faced with a “titanic workload” .

Just a year ago, the column signed by 3,000 of them and published in Le Monde had created an electric shock and alerted to the working conditions of an institution plagued by a “serious loss of meaning”. Written after the suicide of a young colleague, the text has now been initialed by nearly 8,000 magistrates, court auditors and clerks.

Launched by the government, the consultations of the Estates General of Justice confirmed this diagnosis by concluding that the institution was “in an advanced state of disrepair”, to which the ministry tried to respond by obtaining, for 2023, a third consecutive increase. 8% of its annual budget.

“With this budget of almost 10 billion euros, the Ministry of Justice is continuing its change of dimension with resources commensurate with its missions”, estimated at the end of September the Keeper of the Seals Eric Dupond-Moretti, who will soon reveal a new plan of action.

The executive has also undertaken to recruit 8,500 additional magistrates and justice personnel by the end of Macron’s second five-year term and announced a salary increase of 1,000 euros per month on average for judicial judges.

The tribune of 3,000 has “allowed to initiate many actions”, we are assured at the Chancellery.

– “Burnout” –

However, the account is not there, according to professional organizations.

“While recruitment of magistrates and registry officials are planned for 2023, they are largely insufficient and no clear action plan has been defined as the urgency of the situation would require”, they write in their joint statement.

According to the Council of Europe, France continues to allocate less funding to justice than its European partners with a comparable GDP: it devoted 72.50 euros per inhabitant to it in 2020, compared to 82.20 euros in Italy, 88 in Spain or 140.70 in Germany.

According to the unions, justice professionals remain “beset by a loss of meaning” while litigants are “reduced to the state of files and stocks”.

“There is a burnout of magistrates who work evenings and weekends, who are told that they must organize themselves better, give less reasons for their decisions, less make hearings last longer”, estimates Cécile Mamelin, of the Union Magistrates’ Union (USM, majority).

In December 2021, magistrates and clerks had already taken to the streets to express the “desperation” of those who dispense justice on a daily basis, a feeling relayed to the top of the judicial hierarchy, several representatives of which had then mobilized.

More recently, in mid-October, the death of a 44-year-old magistrate, Marie Truchet, in the middle of an immediate appearance hearing in Nanterre caused a new wave of shock. A minute of silence was observed in several jurisdictions and the USM pointed to the “particularly difficult” working conditions in Nanterre.

Thursday, this court received the extremely rare visit and the support of the two highest French magistrates, the first president of the Court of Cassation Christophe Soulard and the attorney general at the Court of Cassation François Molins. “Acknowledging the suffering of the judicial world is no longer taboo,” assured AFP Mr. Molins. “We talk about it at all judicial levels. But beyond this observation, are there things that are moving forward?”