Civil Justice in Crisis: Comparative Perspectives of Civil Procedure

By Adrian A. S. Zuckerman; Sergio Chiarloni et al. | Go to book overview

9
Civil Justice Reform: Access, Cost, and Delay. The French Perspective

Loïc Cadiet


1. INTRODUCTION

For many years, French justice, like all other systems, has faced the dramatic consequences of the exploding volume of litigation. The long delays and high costs which this explosion causes are, to a certain extent, the counterpart of democratized access to law and justice. Although several reforms have been initiated, one should not forget that the current difficulties originate largely from the fact that the resources of the justice system have not risen proportionately to the sharp increase in the volume of litigation with which courts have been faced. The solution to the crisis is essentially financial.


2. DESCRIPTION OF THE FRENCH SYSTEM OF CIVIL PROCEDURE

2.1. French justice in general: Jurisdictional dualism

The organization of different jurisdictions in France is characterized by a dualism between the judicial jurisdictions, organized under the authority of Cour de Cassation1 and the administrative jurisdictions, under the authority of the Conseil d'État.2 This dualism is an important source of complications. As in any borderline situation, it gives rise to conflicts of jurisdiction and opens the possibility for procedural dispute.3 A second distinction, between civil and criminal jurisdictions, adds to the complexity of the French judicial system.

The author wishes to thank Michael Haravon, LL B ( London), BCL (Oxon.), for his invaluable assistance with the translation of this paper.

____________________
1
The highest court of the French hierarchy of 'judicial' courts.
2
The highest court of the French hierarchy of 'administrative' courts; see below App. 9.1.
3
On the origins of, and the problems caused by, this jurisdictional dualism, see L. Cadiet, Découvrir la justice ( Paris, Dalloz, 1997), 100-3.

-291-

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