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
1. First instance
- 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.)
- 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)
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.
Access to legal databases in France is provided via the Internet as a public service. The Légifrance site covers:
- judgments of the Court of Cassation and the courts of appeal (the ‘CASS’, ‘INCA’ and ‘CAPP’ databases)
- judgments of the Council of State
- judgments of the Administrative Courts of Appeal
- judgments of some administrative courts of first instance (the ‘JADE’ database).
Is access to these databases free of charge?
Yes, access to these databases is free.
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: 19/05/2017