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Elisabeth Margue (Minister of Justice, Luxembourg) : holding government to account

WITH THE NEW GOVERNMENT ONLY IN POWER FOR A FEW MONTHS, ALL OF LUXEMBOURG IS WAITING TO SEE WHAT THEY WILL ACHIEVE. WE TALKED WITH ELISABETH MARGUE, THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, TO HEAR ABOUT HER PLANS. INTERVIEW.

"THE AIM IS TO SHAPE EVERYTHING TO MAKE LUXEMBOURG AN ENJOYABLE PLACE TO LIVE."

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What are your priorities as Minister of Justice?

One immediate priority is digitalization, including for document exchange, online case law, and a communication platform between lawyers and judges. Many processes are heavily reliant on paper, so it’s time to make things accessible online. We've initiated a project called Paperless Justice to introduce digital procedures and are now assessing these initiatives. In the longer term, we want to improve the efficiency of the justice system. For instance, the duration between filing a complaint or summons and the final decision is often lengthy. We’ll look for ways to facilitate and accelerate processes. For example, we face a shortage of judges, which slows down cases. The pool of interested legal professionals is limited, so we're exploring ways to broaden that pool.

What risks and opportunities do you foresee?

The risk is the inefficiency of the legal system. If we want to maintain trust in the rule of law, continuous reforms are crucial to enhance efficiency. Then there's the opportunity for legislative evolution. The Minister of Justice oversees various legislations, from corporate law to family matters like filiation and adoption. It's broad, and modern legislation can be a competitive edge. For instance, different mechanisms established in corporate law can attract businesses. So, creating modern legislation presents many opportunities. At the end of the last legislative term, several laws were passed that contributed to this. But it's a continuous process, with numerous reforms underway. The civil and criminal codes require modernization, and we hope to progress further in the next five years.


How are you going to make sure that citizens see results?

Each minister has their priorities outlined in the coalition agreement, and the aim is to shape everything to make Luxembourg an enjoyable place to live and competitive for businesses. For example, we’ve already addressed purchasing power through tax reforms, using indexes in the tax table. People could see that in their January salaries. This was a priority, one that connects into combating poverty. Another area of focus is housing, as it is intricately linked to poverty due to the substantial burden of housing costs. The detailed agreement allows for a clear checklist after five years to see what's been accomplished. For instance, in justice, we work with the European Commission, which monitors member states. It had a rule of law report presented to the Chamber of Deputies beginning of January, analysing projects and making recommendations. We also have benchmarks, like procedure duration and digitization levels. These tools will help us evaluate progress, and let citizens hold us to account.

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