Product liability—France—Q&A guide

The following Commercial practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Product liability—France—Q&A guide
  • 1. What is the structure of the civil court system?
  • 2. What is the role of the judge in civil proceedings and what is the role of the jury?
  • 3. What are the basic pleadings filed with the court to institute, prosecute and defend the product liability action and what is the sequence and timing for filing them?
  • 4. Are there any pre-filing requirements that must be satisfied before a formal lawsuit may be commenced by the product liability claimant?
  • 5. Are mechanisms available to the parties to seek resolution of a case before a full hearing on the merits?
  • 6. What is the basic trial structure?
  • 7. Are there class, group or other collective action mechanisms available to product liability claimants? Can such actions be brought by representative bodies?
  • 8. How long does it typically take a product liability action to get to the trial stage and what is the duration of a trial?
  • 9. What is the nature and extent of pretrial preservation and disclosure of documents and other evidence? Are there any avenues for pretrial discovery?
  • More...

Product liability—France—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to product liability in France published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: February 2021).

Authors: EBA Endrös-Baum Associés—Florian Endrös; Jessika da Ponte

1. What is the structure of the civil court system?

The first instance civil courts consist of local magistrates' courts for minor litigation for claims up to the value of €10,000 and district courts for claims of more than €10,000. In addition to these general jurisdictions, there are specialised jurisdictions whose competencies are limited by the legislature, including the commercial courts and the labour courts. The persons in charge of deciding cases in these two jurisdictions are not professional judges; rather, they are judges elected by their peers. Merchants registered with the French Commercial Register are elected for the commercial courts, while employers and employees are elected for the Labour Relations Board.

The majority of cases tried in the first instance may be decided again by a new jurisdiction (court of appeal) (except cases judged 'in the first and last instance', which are only subject to review proceedings on matters of law at the Court of Cassation (Supreme Court)). The court of appeal is responsible for retrying the entire case on matters of fact and law, thus offering each party the possibility that its case may be

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