Court Organisation in France

Court Organisation in France in Europe

French Court Hierarchies

Cour de cassation (Cass.)

Supreme Court; seat in Paris

Jurisdiction: Appeal on questions of law only, against decisions by any court against which no other remedy is available anymore (independent of the value of the dispute) according to Art. L 111-2 COJ. The Cour de cassation does not retry the case itself, but rather verifies that the law was correctly applied by the courts and the courts of appeal.

Cour d’appel (CA)

Court of Appeal (court of the second instance)

Jurisdiction: Appeal against decisions by the T.I. (if value of dispute exceeds FRF 13,000), T.G.I. and Trib. com. according to Art. R 211-1 COJ

Inferior Courts

Tribunal d’instance (T.I.)

District Court

Jurisdiction: Disputes in civil matters involving a value not exceeding FRF 30,000 according to Art. R 321-1 COJ

Tribunal de grande instance (T.G.I.)

Higher District Court

Jurisdiction: Disputes in civil matters involving a value exceeding FRF 30,000 according to Art. R 311-1 COJ

Tribunal de commerce (Trib. com.)

Commercial Court

Jurisdiction: Disputes between merchants (commercants) or concerning transactions governed by commercial law.
In departements without Trib. com. the jurisdiction over disputes in commercial matters is exercised by the T.G.I.

Court Jurisdiction in France

Note: ths information needs to be updated.

The ordinary courts: By Cases judged

  • For decisions made in civil cases by the Tribunal de grande instance – TGI and which are not judged by specialised courts :(divorce), adoption (Court with Jurisdiction: Tribunal de grande instance (TGI) ). Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered. Before the court of appeal (cour d’appel) for cases involving amounts greater than FRF 13,000 (FRF 16,000 for the Industrial Tribunal – Conseil de prud’hommes). For cases involving amounts smaller than FRF 13,000 (FRF 16,000 for the Industrial Tribunal), the only possible appeal is to the Cour de Cassation which rules on matters of law and not on the facts of the case.
  • For matters involving wards of the court, rent, etc. and civil cases up to FRF 30,000 (Court with Jurisdiction: Tribunal d’instance (TI) ). Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered. Before the court of appeal (cour d’appel) for cases involving amounts greater than FRF 13,000 (FRF 16,000 for the Industrial Tribunal – Conseil de prud’hommes). For cases involving amounts smaller than FRF 13,000 (FRF 16,000 for the Industrial Tribunal), the only possible appeal is to the Cour de Cassation which rules on matters of law and not on the facts of the case.
  • For cases between merchants (commercants) or concerning transactions governed by commercial law (Court with Jurisdiction: Tribunal de commerce (the commercial court) ). Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered. Before the court of appeal (cour d’appel) for cases involving amounts greater than FRF 13,000 (FRF 16,000 for the Industrial Tribunal – Conseil de prud’hommes). For cases involving amounts smaller than FRF 13,000 (FRF 16,000 for the Industrial Tribunal), the only possible appeal is to the Cour de Cassation which rules on matters of law and not on the facts of the case.
  • For cases originating from employment or apprenticeship contracts (Court with Jurisdiction: Conseil de prud’hommes (the Industrial Tribunal) ). Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered. Before the court of appeal (cour d’appel) for cases involving amounts greater than FRF 13,000 (FRF 16,000 for the Industrial Tribunal – Conseil de prud’hommes). For cases involving amounts smaller than FRF 13,000 (FRF 16,000 for the Industrial Tribunal), the only possible appeal is to the Cour de Cassation which rules on matters of law and not on the facts of the case.
  • For cases concerning agricultural tenancy (Court with Jurisdiction: Tribunal paritaire, baux ruraux (Joint tribunal for agricultural matters) ). Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered. Before the court of appeal (cour d’appel) for cases involving amounts greater than FRF 13,000 (FRF 16,000 for the Industrial Tribunal – Conseil de prud’hommes). For cases involving amounts smaller than FRF 13,000 (FRF 16,000 for the Industrial Tribunal), the only possible appeal is to the Cour de Cassation which rules on matters of law and not on the facts of the case.
  • For disputes with social security organisations (health and retirement coverage, etc.) (Court with Jurisdiction: Tribunal des affaires de Sécurité sociale (the Social security tribunal) ). Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered. Yes, such cases described above may be appealed before the Court of Appeal
  • For petty or minor offences (contraventions), subject to fines, restriction or deprivation of rights and additional penalties) (Court with Jurisdiction: Tribunal de police (the Police Court) ). Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered. Appeals may be filed with the Court of Appeal except for sentences limited to modest fines
  • For more serious offences (delits), which the law punishes by fines, imprisonment (up to a maximum of 10 years), and other penalties (Court with Jurisdiction: Tribunaux correctionnels , which are a division of the Tribunaux de grande instance ). Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered. Yes, these decisions may be appealed before the Court of Appeal
  • For the most serious category of offenses (crimes) for which the law stipulates one or more penalties (example: life imprisonment) (Court with Jurisdiction: Cour d’assises ). Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered. Appeals may be filed with the Cour de Cassation
  • Re-examination of a case previously judged by a Tribunal d’instance, Tribunal de Grande Instance, a Commercial Court, Industrial Tribunal, Land Tribunal, Social Security Tribunal, Police Court or Tribunal correctionnel (Court with Jurisdiction: Cour d’appel (Court of Appeal) ). Note: The Court of Appeal decision may be appealed to the Cour de Cassation
  • The Cour de Cassation does not retry the case itself, but rather verifies that the law was correctly applied by the courts and the courts of appeal (Court with Jurisdiction: Cour de Cassation Decisions ). Note: It is not possible to appeal the decision rendered. When the Supreme Court or the Council of State has given a final ruling on a case, a person who considers that his fundamental rights as defined in the European convention on Human rights have been violated, may institute proceedings within six months before the European Commission of Human Rights.

Administratives jurisdictions: By Cases Heard

  • Disputes involving public authorities (administrative bodies, territorial authorities, etc). (Court with Jurisdiction: Administrative court) . Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered before the administrative appeal court or the Council of State. See the powers of these two courts.
  • Civil and military pension courts, social assistance courts, etc. (Court with Jurisdiction: Criminal Court)
  • Review of a case already judged by an administrative court. (Court with Jurisdiction: Administrative appeal court). Note: It is possible to appeal the decision rendered, through Council of State using supreme appeal procedure (“recours en cassation”).
  • Review of a case already judged by other administrative courts and ruling directly on the legality of the administrative actions. (Court with Jurisdiction: Council of state). Note: It is not possible to appeal the decision rendered. When the Supreme Court or the Council of State has given a final ruling on a case, a person who considers that his fundamental rights as defined in the European convention on Human rights have been violated, may institute proceedings within six months before the European Commission of Human Rights.

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