PR3 Citizen trial methodology

Design: Frédéric Barriera (Sur Mesure, Berlin)
Images from the Berlin test workshop, French Institute, July 2023

Citizen courts are a form of citizen appropriation of justice which involves an open participatory logic. They explore the possibility of non-professional justice, by “everyone”, outside of judicial frameworks. They have a strong educational value in the context of “citizen training”: it is an exercise in citizenship which makes it possible to confront political or judicial problems that may arise for the citizen and to pose them and to treat them in a rational, democratic framework, that of contradictory debate, of the confrontation of points of view and the crossing of perspectives, in order to arrive at a form of judgment acceptable to all.

In this sense, citizen courts participate in the resolution of conflicts and the easing of tensions, while asserting the legitimate claims of each party. The symbolic level does not prevent real political and social effectiveness. They make it possible to “create the common” from the conflicting or the divergent. Our objective was to explore the methodology of these courts based on a historical example in order to measure their effective potential.