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National justice systems


In this section you will find an overview of the hierarchy of courts in France.

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Organisation of the courts - ordinary courts and administrative courts

The structure of the courts

Ordinary courts

1. First instance

Civil courts

  • Regional court (tribunal de grande instance)
  • District court (tribunal d’instance)
  • Specialised civil courts (employment tribunal (conseil de prud’hommes), commercial court (tribunal de commerce), etc.)

Criminal courts

  • Police court (tribunal de police), dealing with minor offences (contraventions)
  • Criminal court (tribunal correctionnel), dealing with intermediate offences (délits)
  • Assize court (cour d’assises), dealing with serious crimes (crimes)

2. Second instance: courts of appeal (cours d’appel)

3. Court of Cassation (Cour de cassation)

Administrative courts

1. First instance

  • Administrative court (tribunal administratif)
  • Specialised administrative courts: financial courts, such as the regional auditors’ office (chambre régionale des comptes); social welfare courts (juridictions d’aide sociale); professional disciplinary courts (juridictions disciplinaires)

2. Second instance

  • Administrative courts of appeal (cours administratives d’appel)
  • Specialised administrative courts of appeal (juridictions administratives d’appel spécialisées), such as the Court of Auditors (Cour des comptes) or the Central Commission for Social Welfare (Commission centrale d’aide sociale)

3. Council of State (Conseil d’État)

More information is available on the site of the Council of State.

Legal databases

Access to legal databases in France is provided via the Internet as a public service. The Légifrance site covers:

Is access to these databases free of charge?

Yes, access to these databases is free.

Related links

Finding the appropriate court

Organisation of justice – France

Last update: 19/05/2017

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