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Degrees of Jurisdiction - a brief overview

Degrees of jurisdiction and duration of proceedings

There are two basic degrees of jurisdiction in France surmounted by the Court of Cassation.

First Instance - Insofar as it is possible to give even an approximation of the likely duration of any particular action before the Courts, in any country, a rule of thumb applicable to France could be that an average suit might last 16 to 22 months before the Courts of First Instance.

Appeal - The decision in question would possibly thereafter be subject to Appeal before the Cour d'Appel and subject to the same caveat as above, the Appeal proceedings could last between 18 and 24 months, but this might well be longer for certain geographical locations in France.

Cassation - France's highest Court - it does not give a decision on the facts, but only on questions of law. If it finds that the lower Court's decision cannot stand it sends the matter back to a (different) Court of Appeal for a rehearing. It has been known for matters to take between 22 months and three years to be heard before the Court of Cassation.

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