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Judicial systems in Member States - France

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


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 Link opens in new windowCouncil of State.

Legal databases

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

Is access to these databases free of charge?

Yes, access to these databases is free.

Related links

Link opens in new windowFinding the appropriate court

Link opens in new windowOrganisation of justice – France


The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective Member State. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. The European Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.

Last update: 24/02/2016