French Law Court Reports

Law reports in France in Europe

Official Report

There is only one “official” series of French law reports, or at least it is the most important and widely used, the “Bulletin des arrêts de la Cour de Cassation. – Paris: Imprimerie des Journaux Officiels, 1798-“. The Bulletin forms part of the Journal Officiel de la République française. This Bulletin date back to 1798 and consist of two separate monthly series of publications. One is the Bulletin criminel (cited Bull. crim.), for cases heard by the single criminal ‘chamber’ of the Court of
Cassation. The other is Bulletin civil (cited Bull. civ.) for civil cases.

Some “grands arrêts” and “arrêts sélectionnés” are published on the web site of the Cour de Cassation. The decisions of the Conseil d’Etat are published as “Recueil des décisions du Conseil d’Etat, du Tribunal des Conflits et des jugements des tribunaux administratifs , 1821- ; (IALS from 1905) Known by the name of its 19th century editor: “Lebon”.

Summaries of important decisions are available on the web site of the Conseil d’Etat , under “Jurisprudence”

Other than the “official” series and web sites, the main source for decisions of all types of court are the three recueils généraux mentioned above.

Official French Law Reports

The Court itself decides which cases should be published.The Bulletins do not contain any commentary or analysis, unlike private law reports. The Bulletin is made up of 2 series the Bull. crim. and the Bull. civ.

Semi-Official French Law Reports

Recueil des décisions du Conseil Constitutionnel France 100 C750. The annual volumes include an English synopsis of the cases reported.

Recueil Lebon (aka Recueil des décisions du Conseil D’État) France 100 C755. Includes decisions from the Tribunal des Conflits and selected decisions of the lower administrative courts.

Private French Law Reports (Recueils de jurisprudence)

Se below for more information in private french reports.

  • Gazette du Palais
  • Recueil Dalloz
  • Semaine Juridique or Juris-classeur périodique

The following are information contained in the book “French Law, A Comparative Approach”, by Eva Steiner (1st. Ed.) 2010:

The Bulletin (the Bulletin des arrêts de la Cour de Cassation) civil contains a preliminary part reporting the decisions handed down in Assemblée Plénière (cited as Ass. Plén.) and Chambre Mixte (cited as Ch. Mixte). In each of the Bulletins cases are reported chronologically and are numbered consecutively….

The Court of Cassation itself decides what decisions need to be published amongst
the thousands it delivers each year. The decisions selected for publication are those
which are likely to have some relevance in the formation of precedents.

Semi-official reports

Recueil (a) des décisions du Conseil d’État, also called Recueil Lebon (cited Rec., Leb. or Lebon followed by page number), is published by Dalloz under the patronage of the Conseil d’État. Lebon publishes most of the decisions given by the Conseil d’État (cited CE), the decisions of the Tribunal des Con) its (cited Trib. ConX . or TC), as well as important judgments given by the lower administrative courts. Every year there are C ve issues, each divided into several parts corresponding to the different categories of administrative courts…. At the end of the annual collected volume a table analytique is provided listing the decisions reported within it in the given year, arranged according to subject matter, together with a short digest of other decisions which could not be reported in full in the main body of the volume itself.

Recueil des décisions du Conseil Constitutionnel (cited Rec., followed by page number) is published by Dalloz under the patronage of the Conseil Constitutionnel. Each annually published, single volume contains the full text, in chronological order, of the decisions given by the Conseil. At the end of the volume there is an analytical table of cases, classified by subject matter, with a
separate synopsis in English to give foreign readers easy access to French constitutional
case law.

It may be noted that the quickest and most effective way to access the Conseil Constitutionnel decisions is on the Conseil’s website …where a list of the Conseil’s decisions is provided in chronological order for a given year (with the full text of the most important decisions), along with a comprehensive set of bibliographical references to commentaries made on those
decisions.

Private reports

Private reports are known in France as recueils de jurisprudence. The most widely used are:

Recueil Dalloz

Dalloz and Sirey were originally two separate series named aa er their founders, Désiré Dalloz and Jean-Baptiste Sirey, until they C nally merged in 1965. Prior to its merger with Sirey, Dalloz went
through a series of changes since its establishment in 1845. From 1924 to 1941 the series was split into a monthly publication, Dalloz périodique (cited D.P. followed by the relevant part of the yearly volume, either 1 or 2), which later became Dalloz critique (cited D.C.), and a weekly one, Dalloz hebdomadaire (cited D.H.) later renamed Dalloz analytique (cited D.A.). Recueil Dalloz is today a weekly publication which, since 2007, consists of two main parts (“Actualités” and “Études et commentaires”).

In the Dalloz, case search is facilitated by the existence of annual tables made up
of a classic cation of cases by subject arranged in alphabetical order, together with a
separate chronological index of decisions.

Semaine juridique or Juris-classeur périodique

Published since 1929, is like Dalloz a very important weekly law report. It is issued as a general publication….. as well as being published in a number of specialised titles….

La Gazette du Palais

(It) is a law report primarily intended for practitioners, as reX ected in its style of presentation and its content. As with the two former reports already described, Gazette du Palais contains
academic writing (doctrine), legislation, jurisprudence and case summaries. However, learned
articles and case notes are shorter, with a more practical approach to legal issues.

In recent years, citation practice has tended to include the date of the particular issue where the decision appears.

La Gazette du Palais tables are much more detailed than the tables to be found in Dalloz or Semaine Juridique. …(T)hese tables …. appear in a separate yearly publication (two volumes), under the name of tables annuelles de jurisprudence, and serve as a legal encyclopaedia in
which cases are classiffied and summarised by subject matter. They provide a complete
statement of case law in a concise form and are one of the most useful sources
for legal research.”


Journals with special case note/case analysis sections

  • L’actualité juridique : droit administratif (AJ or AJDA in citations)
  • Revue trimestrielle de droit civil (RTDC, RTDciv, Rev. trim.dr.civ in citations)
  • Revue du droit public et de la science politique (RDP or rev.dr.publ. in citations)
  • Revue de science criminelle et de droit pénal comparé (RSC or Rev.sc.crim in citations)


Notes D’arrêts

According to the Oxford LibGuides (https://ox.libguides.com/content.php?pid=108878&sid=819233), “French law reports are terse, technical, and single-voiced: quite a shock to those coming from a common law country.

French case notes – notes d’arrêts – have great importance in both the study and the practice of French law.

The case note is a learned and informed commentary essential to the full understanding of the actual decision. The commentator or l’arrêtiste will be legally trained and will often have had access to the court file on the case and/or worked closely with either a lawyer or judge involved.”

Further Reading

  • Eva Steiner, French law: a comparative approach (OUP, 2010)
  • John Bell, Sophie Boyron and Simon Whittaker, Principles of French law (2nd ed, OUP, 2008)
  • Catherine Elliott, Catherine Vernon and Eric Jeanpierre, French legal system (2nd ed., Pearson / Longman, 2006)
  • John Bell French legal cultures (Butterworths, 2001)

See Also

  • List of French Reports
  • French Legal System
  • French Legal Abbreviations
  • Court Reports
  • List of International periodicals
  • List of Swiss Reports
  • List of United Kingdom Court Reports
  • List of European and UK Court Reports
  • List of U.S. Federal Court Reports
  • American Law Reports (ALR)

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