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France: legal resources: Cases

Judgments & case notes

French law reports are terse, technical, and single-voiced: to those used to common law judgments

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.

Within the journals which publish them they are sometimes further categorised: note, point de vue, observation. (obs)

French cases: online sources

The doctrine of stare decisis does not apply in France, but this is not the same as saying that jurisprudence (case law) is entirely without normative force. French court decisions are accessible both online and, in the case of the higher courts at least, in print in the LawBod.

French law reports in the LawBod

Official & Semi-Official Reports

Bulletins de la Cour de Cassation The LawBod does not have this pubication, so try a search via La jurisprudence judiciaire in L égifrance. The Court itself decides which cases should be published.The Bulletins do not contain any commentary or analysis. The Bulletin is made up of 2 series the Bull. crim. and the Bull. civ. Bull. civ. has parts I, II, III, IV & V reflecting the five civil chambers.

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 reports (Recueils de jurisprudence)

Gazette du Palais (Gaz.Pal. or GP + year in citations) France 100 G289

Recueil Dalloz (D. in citations) France 100 S619e

Semaine Juridique or Juris-classeur périodique (Sem.Jur. or JCP + year in citations) France 300 S20

 

Journals with special case note/case analysis sections

L'actualité juridique : droit administratif (AJ or AJDA in citations) France 300 A10
Revue trimestrielle de droit civil (RTDC, RTDciv, Rev. trim.dr.civ in citations) France 300 R280
Revue du droit public et de la science politique (RDP or rev.dr.publ. in citations) France 300 R170
Revue de science criminelle et de droit pénal comparé (RSC or Rev.sc.crim in citations) General 300 R220
 

French casebooks

For the time poor student, the Grands Arrêts are a reliable route to the leading cases in the principal areas of law. Just note the date of publication, and check any intervening years between then and now ... elsewhere! Some of the series held in the LawBod are