Courthouse to reopen on 5 May
Monaco’s Palais de Justice, which closed its doors to the public on 16 March this year due to the global health crisis, will reopen from 5 May with a dual remit: to ensure a gradual return to normal judicial activity and to put in place measures and operating procedures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.
The arrangements required to make this reopening possible have all been developed under the authority and coordination of the Department of Justice in consultation with Palais de Justice staff and other stakeholders in the judicial system, including the Monaco Bar Association, court bailiffs and notaries.
The Courthouse will reopen on Tuesday 5 May:
- from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for legal professionals and individuals with a summons, with a break from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.;
- from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the public (requests for apostilles, criminal records, filing of submissions and exhibits, etc.).
Starting from the entrance to the building, two clearly defined routes have been marked out: one for legal professionals and the other for the public, following verification of the reason for their visit and mandatory passage through a security checkpoint.
Screens have been installed at the reception desks and the premises will be cleaned regularly. Staff who have contact with the public will be provided with masks and hand sanitiser. Physical distancing rules will be in place in the reception hall, with floor markings and well-spaced seating.
Hearings to be gradually reinstated by end May
Hearings on all issues will be gradually reinstated with a full return to the normal schedule by the last week of May.
To limit gatherings of several people in the same location, discussions between lawyers and the courts will, in the long term, be conducted primarily online, using structured email inboxes or a secure online space. Files will need to be submitted on the day of the hearing and pleas will be postponed to subsequent hearings after the opening of the next court session, although they may be authorised on an exceptional basis by the presiding judge on condition that they have been requested in advance.
Parties will only be allowed in courtrooms for criminal cases.
Keen to enable the courts to resume their activities while adhering to the essential health measures recommended by the relevant authorities, Monaco’s judiciary system has taken a significant step forward by gradually and carefully moving certain procedures online.