Friday, January 09, 2009

France Eliminates Investigating Magistrates

France is making a move to eliminate the function of investigating magistrates, a move which BBC reports is likely to result in closer alignment with Anglo-style adversarial systems:

President Sarkozy said he wanted to abolish investigating magistrates, who currently act as independent judges - a system brought in by Napoleon.

The changes would allow state prosecutors and the police to take the lead in investigations instead.

Critics say the move would leave the system open to political interference.

At present the investigating magistrate plays a powerful and independent role in certain cases, overseeing investigations by police and prosecutors, examining the evidence, and deciding if a case should go to trial.

It might be nice to end a system in which some judges serve essentially as grand jury and/or prosecutor.

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