Liaison Judge’s Office [fr]
Liaison Judge: Elisabeth PELSEZ
Assistant: Priscilla HACHEM WALSH
The liaison judge is a French judge or public prosecutor, seconded to the Foreign Ministry by the Justice Ministry. He/she works in 4 areas:
mutual assistance in international criminal matters;
mutual assistance in civilian and commercial legal matters;
exchanges between French and British judicial authorities.
The first post was created in 1993. Today French magistrats are Liaison judges in London, The Hague, Madrid, Berlin, Warsaw, Rome, Washington, Ottawa, Moscow, Beijing, Rabat and Zagreb. Judges/prosecutors or legal experts from the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Italy, the United States, Canada and Morocco are working in the European and International Affairs Department of the Justice Ministry in Paris.
The liaison judge in London also has an office in the Home Office in the UK Central Authority (UKCA) which is responsible for international judicial cooperation in criminal matters and, through this strategic position and his knowledge of the two countries’ laws and procedures, he/she acts as a facilitator and adapter between the common law and continental law judicial systems.
For instance, when contemplating sending a Letter of Request for judicial assistance in the United Kingdom, a French investigating judge or prosecutor can contact the liaison judge in London, who provides advice at this preliminary stage. This is particularly useful as it permits to anticipate potential requests for details and clarifications from the British authorities and thus facilitates satisfaction of the request for judicial assistance. The liaison judge also explains points of French law and legal procedure to the British authorities, as the need arises, and facilitates the handling of extradition or European Arrest Warrants procedures and of transfers to France of French nationals sentenced in the United Kindgom.
The liaison judge’s mission is also to inform the French authorities of the legal developments in the UK’s three different judicial systems (England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland).
Liaison Judge’s Office
French Embassy in the United Kingdom
SW1X 7JT London
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7073 1000 (switchboard)