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Litigating in France - a brief overview of french law

It is perhaps commonplace to suggest that Civil Litigation in France is very different indeed from litigation in common-law jurisdictions.

For example, compared say to the USA, there are no juries at Civil hearings and large scale punitive damages are never awarded, and what is more, class-actions do not exist.

It should be noted moreover that the oral advocacy part of proceedings carries far less weight than in common-law jurisdictions and the matter is decided principally on the basis of the exchange(s) of written submissions prior to the trial.

Furthermore, for all comparative intents and purposes, cross-examination of witnesses does not exist either.

The time taken for a matter to come to trial, i.e. with effect from the service of the writ or claim form, often depends on the geographical location within France (it is observable that the delays in many matters are often longest in the southern part of the country).

However, it would not be unusual in most of France for a period of between 16 and 22 months to elapse between the service of the writ and the trial at First Instance.

In that Triplet & Associés does not generally undertake matters relating to Criminal French Law, no comments are offered in regard to the Criminal Courts other than to state that France does not have an adversarial system and the investigative structure adopted is considerably different from the functionally comparable common law Courts.


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