Research & Documentation

THE RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION DEPARTMENT IS A RELATIVELY NEW, CROSS-FUNCTIONAL DEPARTMENT CREATED IN 2010 AND ENCOMPASSING DOCUMENTATION, RESOURCES AND RESEARCH. THE DEPARTMENT MANAGES THE MEDIA LIBRARIES IN BORDEAUX AND PARIS, AND COLLECTS AND KEEPS THE TEACHING MATERIALS PRODUCED BY THE INITIAL AND IN-SERVICE TRAINING DEPARTMENTS. IT MAINTAINS AND CATALOGUES THE ENM'S LIBRARY HOLDINGS. ALONGSIDE THE DOCUMENTATION FUNCTION, THE OTHER ASPECT OF THE DEPARTMENT'S ROLE IS RESEARCH, WHICH COMPRISES TWO ACTIVITIES: STIMULATIng RESEARCH LINKED TO JUDICIAL PRACTICES AND DISSEMINATING KNOWLEDGE.

THE PURPOSE OF THE ENM'S RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION DEPARTMENT IS TO PROVIDE RESOURCES FOR ITS TEACHING AND TO PUT LEGAL DOCTRINE IN TOUCH WITH PRACTICE. THROUGH ITS RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION DEPARTMENT, THE SCHOOL THEREFORE SUPPORTS APPLIED RESEARCH ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED TO THE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE OF JUDGES AND PROSECUTORS.  TO DO SO, IT WORKS CLOSELY WITH VARIOUS PARTNERS AND EXTERNAL RESEARCHERS.  

 

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

The grounds for sentencing decisions in the lower criminal courts:

In 2018, the ENM put out a call for projects with the Law and Justice (Droit et Justice) Research Mission on the grounds for sentencing decisions in the lower criminal courts (tribunaux correctionnels). Two complementary projects were selected:

  • One entitled "La motivation des peines correctionnelles" (The grounds for sentencing decisions in the lower criminal courts) proposed by a team at the University of Grenoble Alpes-CRJ (Centre de Recherches Juridiques (legal research centre))

  • and a second one entitled "La motivation des peines correctionnelles, à la recherche des déterminants de la motivation de la décision du juge pénal" (The grounds for sentencing decisions in the lower criminal courts: looking for the deciding factors in the criminal judge's sentencing decisions) proposed by the Centre for Criminal Law and Criminology (Centre de droit pénal et de criminologie) at the University of Nanterre and the CERCOP (Centre for comparative constitutional and political studies and research) at the University of Montpellier.

In connection with the project, the Ministry for Justice launched a national operation to collect the decisions handed down in the lower criminal courts.  The interim reports on the research are expected in the first quarter of 2021. They will be made public.

Judges' evidential reasoning:

A partnership has been formed with an agreement signed with the Centre for Legal Research (Centre de Recherches Juridiques, CRJ-EA 1965) at the University of Grenoble Alpes (UGA) to research judges' evidential reasoning. To conduct this project, the research centre needed to collaborate with the ENM to initiate experiments involving serving or trainee judges and prosecutors. An agreement was signed for a 28-month period running form 1 April 2018, which has now been extended to 31 December 2021.

Wigmore's Chart Method

During the first year of its implementation, the research project looked at the practical implementation and adaptation of Wigmore's Chart Method.
This is a method of reasoning developed by American academic J. H. Wigmore in an article published in 1911. It is a practical tool that enables judges, prosecutors or lawyers to reason in an organised way in cases with substantial amounts of evidence where analysing the evidence to arrive at conclusions is complex. The method, which relies on two main tools, a list of evidence and a chart, is neither prescriptive nor normative. It does not tell the judge or prosecutor how they should assess the evidence or judge the case.  Rather it enables them to break down their reasoning into successive steps and to have a synthetic view of the case, however complex.

Field work with trainee judges and prosecutors

This research project is led by Étienne Vergès, a professor of private law at the University of Grenoble-Alpes (UGA), who leads a multi-disciplinary team consisting of other legal research teams (University of Saint-Etienne, CERCRID), philosophers (University of Paris 4 and Paris Sorbonne) and statisticians (IMAG at UGA).
It is based on field work conducted with the assistance of the teaching team on the initial training course at the ENM on the methodology of criminal judgments applied at tutorials of the 2018 year group of trainee judges and prosecutors. This phase of the project started in spring 2020 and will continue until December 2021, and probably beyond.
The researchers have been granted the IDEX (excellence initiative) label for this project.  With it comes extra funding that will enable them to continue and complete the project with a quantitative analysis and some research into the modelling of evidential reasoning in court rulings.

PUBLISHED WORK

The impartiality of the juvenile court (January 2020)

Following the Constitutional Court rulings of 8 July and 4 August 2011, Law no. 2011-1940 of 26 December 2011 banned the juvenile judge who refers a minor to the juvenile court from going on to judge that minor.
A survey was conducted in all the juvenile courts to assess the application of this law on the implementation of the conditions of impartiality. The material was collected between 3 June and 5 July 2019. The survey was commissioned by ENM from the Subdirectorate for Statistics and Studies (Ministry of Justice).

The explanation of assizes court decisions (January 2017)

The Law of 10 August 2011 added a new article to the Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 365-1, which requires assizes courts to explain their decisions.  This issue had been the subject of debate for many years.
The research proposed to study the legal impacts on procedure or the substance of cases, but also the sociological and even the economic effects of this reform. The requirement to explain decisions has led to changes in the way assizes courts are organised and run and even in the judicial institution itself, as well as in the attitudes and place of the actors in the trial.
This work was presented at a conference held at the ENM in June 2017 in partnership with the Law & Justice Research Mission.

Following an ENM call for projects, this research work was conducted by a group of three teacher-researchers: Professor Philip Milburn, of the University of Rennes 2, Vanessa Perrocheau and Djoheur Zerouki-Cottin, associate professors at Jean Monnet University in St-Étienne.

PARTNERS FOR APPLIED RESEARCH

The ENM participates every year in the preparation of the scientific programming of the Law and Justice Research Mission as well as that of the Ministry for Justice's Subdirectorate for Statistics and Studies, proposing research topics examining professional practices, how they are changing and what issues they raise for the future.

The Law and Justice Research Mission

The Law and Justice Research Mission (Mission de recherche Droit et Justice) is a public interest grouping (GIP) of which the ENM is a constituent member. In 2019, the ENM and the Law and Justice Research Mission signed a multi-year agreement to strengthen their partnership. As a result, each year the ENM's teaching staff put forward research topics connected to the aims of their initial or in-service training curricula to this external operator. The research currently underway concerns the explanation of decisions in the lower criminal courts.

The Ministry for Justice's Subdirectorate for Statistics and Studies

The Subdirectorate for Statistics and Studies is a longstanding partner of the ENM's Research and Documentation department.  As a result ENM takes part in the Statistics and Studies Committee (Conseil de la statistique et des études). This Committee meets once a year to decide, with the directorates and schools dependent on the Ministry for Justice, on the subjects for surveys and statistical studies.
A survey on the implementation of the conditions of impartiality in juvenile courts was conducted, at the ENM's initiative in 2020.

Supporting researchers proposing projects

The ENM supports researchers who want to work in partnership with its Research and Documentation department by providing funding. The School's teaching staff and management are a source of proposals as well as providing the validation for these exchanges with Universities and researchers.
For example, a partnership has been formed with the Centre for Legal Research (Centre de Recherches Juridiques, CRJ-EA 1965) at the University of Grenoble Alpes (UGA) to research judges' evidential reasoning. The ENM has provided €20,000 of funding for this research.

Support for young researchers

The ENM awards a Research Prize every year to a new holder of a PhD in law or history who has carried out research in the justice field.
The prize is awarded to a young law or history PhD holder whose thesis is on a subject connected either to national or comparative judicial practices, or to the organisation and functioning of the justice system.
The winner of the Research Prize has their thesis published in the ENM's "Bibliothèque de la justice" collection with legal publishers Dalloz and receives a gratuity of €5,000.
This prize created by the ENM in 2010 is part of the School's policy of opening up to the academic world and of sharing documentary and research resources.