LexInter | August 2, 2015 | 0 Comments


Civil action

In general:

Action to recognize or attribute a right relating to private interests, for example compensation for compensation for damage.

On a more legal level

action aimed at repairing damage caused by a criminal offense (felony, misdemeanor or contravention). This action can be brought either before a civil court (district, high court or commercial court), or before a criminal court. The competent court will be the court in the event of a criminal offense constituting a contravention, or the correctional court if the criminal offense constitutes a misdemeanor offense.

The criminalization of French law, and in particular of consumer law, company law and stock market law, means that civil action is often used for the implementation of rights provided for by French law. Civil action before criminal courts in particular gives the applicant the benefit of the possibilities of obtaining evidence provided by criminal proceedings.

Civil action can be brought either by joining the public action if it has been opened, by becoming a civil party, or by initiating this public action by a complaint with the constitution of civil party to the examining magistrate.

The action is subject to the limitation periods relating to the offense or offenses in question.

When the victim sets in motion the public action, he does so by constitution of a civil party .

Article 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

The civil action for damages caused by a crime, an offense or contravention belongs to all those who have personally suffered damage directly caused by the offense.
The waiver of civil action may not stop or suspend the exercise of public action, subject to the cases referred to in paragraph 3 of article 6.

Article 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure attributes the exercise of civil action for compensation for damage caused by the offense to one who has “  personally suffered the damage directly caused by the offense  ”. The right to act is thus limited to those who combine these two requirements.

The constitution of civil party allows the initiation of the public action but any person who has directly suffered from the offense, has not necessarily suffered “personally” (V.  Ass. Plen. 12 Jan. 1979, JCP 1980. II. 19335 , see note under Cass. Crim. 30 Oct. 1985, JCP 1987. II. 20727).

Penal procedure


Provisions concerning public action and civil action of the Code of Criminal Procedure

Case law concerning civil action

Civil action by consumer associations


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