As an essential prerogative of State sovereignty, the Judiciary has a fundamental role, namely ensuring that laws are complied with and that the rights of each individual are protected.
The French judicial system is administered by the Ministry of Justice, also known as the Chancellerie. It is managed by the Keeper of the Seals, Minister for Justice .
The Ministry of Justice lays down the major public policy guidelines in the field of Justice, draws up draft laws and regulations and oversees their implementation. It is also responsible for populations entrusted to it under decisions taken by the judicial authorities and for managing the resources of the Justice system.
The Ministry of Justice, a pivotal role
The ministry consists of a central administration comprising a General Secretariat and five directorates:
The General Secretariat has a number of cross-cutting assignments including organising the ministry's modernisation strategy, and managing human resources and the economic & financial aspects of reforms. It is also responsible for campaigns to ensure public access to law and Justice, for assisting victims of crime, and for the European and international affairs sector. In liaison with the directorates, the General Secretariat runs and organises the Chancellerie's communication campaigns.
The Judicial Services Directorate is responsible for the organisation and operation of the civil system courts. As such it contributes to the drafting of texts and gives its opinion on draft laws or regulations that concern the courts.
The Civil Affairs and Seals Directorate drafts texts in the civil and commercial justice sectors and oversees their application. It contributes to preparing constitutional revisions. It also supervises the judiciary and legal professions subject to the Chancellerie's control (lawyers, notaries, officers of the courts, etc.). This directorate is responsible for European and international negotiations in its spheres of action and international civil and commercial mutual assistance. It also contributes to the construction of a Europe-wide legal system.
The Criminal Matters and Pardons Directorate contributes to drafting criminal justice texts that lay down the rules for proceedings, judgement and enforcement of rulings and oversees their application. Directed by the Keeper of the Seals, it also defines penal policy and ensures its implementation by the magistrates of the Public Prosecution Service .
The Prisons Administration Directorate is responsible for ensuring that sentences are served and that prisoners are reintegrated into society on discharge. As part of this role it contributes to drafting texts in this field and participates in the application of penal judgements and sentences. It also encourages work, training, access to the arts and sport for prisoners, thereby contributing to their social and professional reintegration.
The Judicial Youth Protection Directorate is responsible for youth justice. It drafts texts on minors at risk and young offenders and ensures the application of judgements handed by the children's courts in the 1,500 detention and probation centres.
The Inspectorate-General of the Judicial Services has a permanent role inspecting courts and all the services and bodies run by the Ministry of Justice. It also coordinates inspections by heads of courts and centralises the use of inspection reports.
The French Legal Justice - Présentation de la justice française en anglais
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