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Verified 15 April 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Additional cases ?

Complaint with civil suit

The filing of a complaint allows a person to inform the court that a offense was committed and of which she claims to be a victim. The prosecution of the complaint may result in the criminal punishment of the author. The victim can form civil party if it wishes compensation for its loss (damages). If the victim does not know the perpetrator, he or she must lodge a complaint against X. The complaint may be lodged with the police, the gendarmerie or the public prosecutor..

Any person minor) victim of a offense may lodge a complaint.

Legal persons (corporations and associations) may also lodge complaints in order to defend their interests or the objectives they pursue.


the officers and judicial police officers are obliged to receive complaints, even if the facts do not fall within their geographical area of competence.

The complaint allows the perpetrator to be punished criminally (prison, fine...).

But it is not enough for the court to order him to make good the damage suffered by the victim (reimbursement of a stolen object, for example).

In order for the court to order the perpetrator to compensate the victim, the victim must be able to complain about the crime shall.. It may do so throughout the procedure.


it is possible to refer the matter directly to the criminal judge by direct quote.. This procedure allows the alleged offender to be summoned to court.

The complainant has time limits to lodge a complaint. Beyond these deadlines, the complaint can no longer succeed. We're talking about limitation periods..

Except in special circumstances, these periods shall be as follows:

  • 1 year tickets (abnormal neighborhood disorder ...),
  • 6 years for offense (theft, assault, fraud ...),
  • 20 years for crimes (murder, rape...).

These time limits may be reduced or extended for certain offenses.

Thus, the statute of limitations for insults is 3 months, whereas the statute of limitations for crimes committed against minors and crimes deemed very serious (terrorism, grand banditry) is 30 years.

That period shall in principle begin from the day on which the offense was committed. But, for a crime against a minor, a new delay begins from the majority of the victim. For example, a minor rape victim can file a complaint until the age of 48, that is 30 years after his majority.

The complaint can be filed against a specific natural person, a legal person (a company, an association...).

If the victim does not know the name or is not sure of the identity of the perpetrator, he must bring an X.

On site

You must go to a police station or the gendarmerie of your choice.

Who shall I contact

The police or gendarmerie are obliged to register the complaint.

The complaint is then transmitted to the public prosecutor to decide on the follow-up (investigation, classification without follow-up...).

If you do not know the author of the facts, you can fill out a pre-complaint online before moving.

You will then get an appointment and the police or gendarmes will already have the elements of your complaint when you arrive.

Online Pre-Complaint


you can only use the pre-complaint online if you are the victim of a property breach (theft, degradation) or a discriminatory act.

By mail

You can lodge a complaint directly with the public prosecutor. We need to send free paper letter the court of the place of the offense or the place of residence of the offender.

The letter must include the following:

  • Civil status and full contact information (address and telephone number) of the complainant
  • Detailed account of the facts, date and place of the offense
  • Assumed author's name if you know him (otherwise the complaint will be filed against X)
  • Names and addresses of potential witnesses to the offense
  • Description and provisional or final injury estimate
  • Evidence: medical certificates, work stoppages, various invoices, findings .....
  • Willingness to take part in civil proceedings

Make a complaint to the public prosecutor

You can send your complaint by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt or by simple letter. You can also file your complaint directly at the court reception. In all cases, a receipt will be given to you as soon as the public prosecutor's office has registered your complaint.

To follow up on your complaint, you can contact the public prosecutor at the court by giving the number assigned to your file.

Please note

you can lodge a complaint with civil party to an investigating judge if your complaint has been dismissed or if you have filed a complaint for more than three months and the prosecutor has not responded.

The filing of a simple complaint with a police station, a gendarmerie or the public prosecutor is free of charge.

Before taking a decision, the public prosecutor may request an investigation from the police or the gendarmerie. This survey is called preliminary investigation..

Once the Prosecutor considers that he or she has sufficient evidence, he or she may make one of the following decisions.

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Classification without follow-up

The prosecutor may decide to terminate the proceedings.

It then decides not to proceed the person involved. This is particularly the case if the facts are prescribed, or manifestly unfounded, or if the investigation does not yield anything (for example, when the perpetrator is not identified).

The complainant receives a notice of classification without action, which must indicate the reason for the classification.

If the complainant does not agree with this decision, he may file a filing of complaint or have issued direct quote..

He may also challenge the decision by appealing to the Attorney General of the Court of Appeal.

Who shall I contact

Opening of a judicial inquiry

The public prosecutor may request a thorough investigation.

Judicial information is open when the public prosecutor considers that further investigations are needed than those carried out in the preliminary investigation (e.g. an expert opinion). He then asks an examining magistrate to collect all the information needed to prove the truth. In this context, the complainant, the perpetrator, the witnesses may be summoned by the examining magistrate or by the experts..

If the facts are serious or complex, the public prosecutor or the parties may request the appointment of a second examining magistrate to assist the first.

Request for alternative measures to prosecution

The prosecutor may propose a sanction that avoids the trial of the case.

The alternative measures to prosecution aim to ensure reparation of the damage caused to the victim and to put an end to the disorder resulting from the offense of a low gravity (e.g. tags, night tapping, use of narcotics...).

Request for a trial (directly)

The prosecutor may refer the accused to the court.

If the public prosecutor considers that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the alleged perpetrator, the public prosecutor may direct quote and directly to the court. This may be the case if the respondent acknowledges the facts or if the evidence is numerous and indisputable.

The prosecutor may also summon the person suspected by a notice of meeting..

If the prosecutor has not decided anything within 3 months, the complainant can filing of complaint..