A wave of upheaval has been blowing for about eight months on the labor law and the tribunal prud'homale. Between the entry into force of the new renumbered Labor Code, the abolition of 62 Labor Councils and the Labor Market Modernization Act , of which I had reminded you of some provisions here and there , appeared a "small" decree, without consequence for the litigants but primordial for the prud'homaux advisers. This is the decree of June 16, 2008 relating to the compensation of labor court counselors .
First of all, it is the State that compensates labor councilors, except for employees who are absent during working hours for their labor-related activities. The latter then have a maintenance of their salary by their company. For others, the State pays them vacations, whose hourly rate has just been increased by the decree: from 6.05 euros to 7.10 euros (14.20 euros for employers who exercise their activity prud'homale between 8h and 18h).
There is, among us, no need to look further for the reason of the ridiculous amount of sums awarded to the employee who wins the case under Article 700 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Advocates have an unfortunate tendency to compare the incomparable, that is to say the time they devote to a file and the compensation they get from the one that the lawyers of the parties spend on the file. same file and the fees they have charged to their respective client (for reminder, my personal hourly rate is 125 euros HT and it is more than reasonable).
The good news of the decree is therefore the increase in the amount of compensation. There is also a very bad one.
This decree imposes on the advisers a time defined in advance on each file throughout the procedure:
- Preparatory study of the file: one hour per hearing for the judging office and 30 minutes for an interlocutory : we can question here the interest of such a time granted since in general, counselors arrive at the hearing without absolutely knowing anything about the files that will be called. The parts are not communicated to them by the parties upstream and if they received their conclusions, they do not read them, in 99% of the cases, not at this stage
- Subsequent study: 1:30 per file for a trial office and 30 minutes for a referee: I refer you to my blog article on how this happens at the Labor Court of Paris . You will sometimes see that one hour and thirty minutes is already far too long to focus on a complex file
- Writing: 30 minutes for the drafting of minutes, one hour for the drafting of an interim injunction and three for the drafting of a judgment, five in the case of a complex case (new article D. 1423-66 of labor Code)
Imagine the damage that such a text can cause. As many speakers had pointed out at the time, already the labor councilors are not legal professionals, if in addition, they are now forced to make decisions in such short times level of the study of the file that the drafting of the decision, the litigant will again be the only one to suffer.
The notion of "complex file" is precisely the one that posed the most problem. Not subject to any criteria, which determines if a file is complex or not and requires to spend more time?
You will ask me about the interest of asking such a question. Let's go back to the beginning. The "génialissime" idea of the legislator (I am ironic there for those who would not have followed) is henceforth to compensate only the prud'homaux advisers only by reference to the maximum durations imposed by the decree. If this time is exceeded to process the file (ie zealous advisors), no compensation.
If the latter were able to "hold" for a few months with these new provisions, the revolt is booming and in recent weeks, several labor courts have decided to go on strike, for some for an unlimited period: this is the case from Lyon and Villefranche, for example. This is also the case of the Labor Court of Bobigny, since February 5, 2009, suspension of all hearings announced at the statutory hearing of re-entry.
The primary purpose of the decree was to avoid, according to the Government, the abuses found in a report made in 2005. It had indeed appeared that many councilors were being compensated on a large scale for fictitious working hours on cases. .
The reaction of the counselors, if it is comprehensive, is however awkward. The jurisdiction, especially in the Paris region, already works very badly. She really did not need to stand against the litigants, already badly chilled by the endless delays in handling cases.
Fortunately, at the moment, as far as I'm concerned, only Bobigny is affected, the other councils in the Paris region have not yet decided to go on strike.
But let's not hide our face. Councilors dig their own graves. This is a new step towards the announced disappearance of the Prud'homme Boards, in their present form.