The Civil Solidarity Pact (PACS) soon to be signed in town halls?

One of the provisions, which went nearly unnoticed, of the justice bill currently examined by the French MPs, is about the possibility to sign the Civil Solidarity Pact at the town hall, and no longer at the courthouse.

This bill « on Justice for the 21st Century » initiated by Mrs. Taubira, former Minister of Justice, was presented to the Senate on July 31, 2015 using an expedited procedure. In November 2015 it was voted on by the senators, and since this past May 17th, it is currently being discussed at the National Assembly.

This draft bill contains a number of provisions regarding justice in general, but also many major societal issues, for example the possibility of divorcing by mutual consent before the notary and no longer before the judge, or a more straightforward procedure for sex change rectification for transsexuals.

While some Civil Solidarity Pacts (CSP) are already signed symbolically at the town hall, but without any legal value, French Justice Minister, Jean-Jacques Urvoas is suggesting that mayors, that is registration officers, be entrusted to register the certification procedure for the CSPs. He reintroduced this provision, which had previously been rejected by the Senate who frowned on the additional expense for the municipal services, without compensation. In return, the minister suggests to simplify some procedures, for example, the possibility, under certain conditions, of no longer requiring duplicate originals of civil status certificates.

On October 13, 1999, the « CSP» was voted on by the National Assembly. In order to avoid confusion with marriage, the “CSP” was under the responsibility of District Court services. “Previously there was a fear of an amalgam between marriage and CSP, which led to resort to District court services. There is no such fear today and thus no need to resort to District Court services for CSP future partners”, underlined the text’s rapporteurs. Three years following the law on ‘Marriage for All”, this change could have an impact on approximately 168,000 CSPs every year, with a prominent majority of male-female couples.

However the Justice Minister still needs to convince the Assembly of the Mayors of France which is opposed to such a change.