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Direct Quote

Verified 20 avril 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Proceedings before criminal courts

Since 20 November 2020, criminal courts may amend the rules of procedure applicable to the cases they deal with in order to continue their activities during the state of health emergency. Changes may include:

  • Access by the public and lawyers to courts and courtrooms
  • Use of the single judge procedure
  • Conduct of the hearing or hearing by audiovisual means of telecommunication
  • Transfer of a case to another court of the same jurisdiction

These possibilities for amending the rules of procedure are provided for in Order No. 2020-1401 of 18 November 2020 .. They will cease one month after the end of the state of health emergency, on March 16, 2021.

Direct summoning allows the victim of an offense or public prosecutor to summon the alleged offender directly to the correctional or police court. This procedure can be used for some offenses, where there is sufficient evidence and the court may decide the case without delay. Certain rules must be observed to guarantee the rights of the alleged perpetrator.

Direct summoning allows the victim of an offense or the public prosecutor to bring a case directly before a criminal court.

There will be a trial without a thorough investigation by the police or the gendarmerie.

The perpetrator may be sentenced to imprisonment and/or a fine, as well as compensation to the victim.

  FYI : a summons may also be issued at the request of the public prosecutor to the person prosecuted at the time of his custody or sound hearing by the police. We are talking about notice of meeting..

The victim can use the direction quote to try a contravention (minor violence...) or offense (theft, serious violence...).

The victim must first write the quote.

The quotation must contain the following elements:

  • Victim's civil status (name and first name) and home
  • Detailed account of the allegations
  • Legislation against such acts
  • Identity of the person prosecuted and, if it is a legal personits seat
  • Type of injury suffered (moral and/or material and/or bodily injury), the final assessment of which may only be indicated at the hearing
  • Documents proving injury: invoices, medical certificates...
  • Civil status of witnesses
  • Right of the person to be assisted by a lawyer
  • A statement to be made at the hearing by the named person, his proof of income or tax notice and for a corporation, his balance sheet and profit or loss account
  • Mention that the amount of the fixed procedural fees that the named person must pay in the event of conviction.
  • Evidence of the author's guilt without the need for further investigation (photos, testimonies, screenshots...)

The victim must provide the evidence to the court himself. She can get help from a lawyer.

Who shall I contact

  Please note : if the victim does not want his or her address to be known by the accused person, he or she may indicate another address (in other words, a choice of domicile or address). This address may be that of a third party or that of his lawyer provided that they have given their consent in a certain way (in writing) and are within the jurisdiction of the court seised.

The victim must obtain the date of the hearing from the public prosecutor's office.

The place, time and date of the hearing must be indicated on the citation.

The competent court shall be the court of the place of the offense or of the domicile of the person in question.

The victim has to go to a judicial officer and pay the costs. She may apply to the court for a refund in the event of conviction of the accused.

The full summons shall be delivered to the alleged offender by a bailiff.

The bailiff must make every effort to deliver the summons to its addressee.

In the event of the absence of the person being prosecuted at home, several situations are possible. These rules apply to natural and legal persons. The domicile of legal persons is their headquarters..

Discount to a loved one

If the person is absent from their home, a copy of the quotation may be given to a parent, employee or person residing at that home.

The bailiff must indicate in his report of surrender the link between the person to whom he gives the quote and the addressee. It shall immediately inform the person pursued by registered letter with notice of receipt. He may also send him a copy by simple letter, asking him to acknowledge receipt of it.

Proof of receipt of the copy of the summons by the person cited has the same legal value as a hand-over by the bailiff.

Failure to surrender to a relative

If the bailiff does not find anyone at the home of the accused person, he immediately checks the accuracy of the home.

Where the domicile indicated is the domicile of the person concerned, he shall inform him in writing that a quotation is to be withdrawn from his study. He may leave a notice of passage inviting the addressee to appear for his study and send him a simple letter. They may also inform the applicant by registered letter with notice of receipt or by simple letter with request for acknowledgement of receipt.

If the respondent went to remove the reference, the rebate is deemed to have been made on the day of the withdrawal.

If the addressee of the summons will not withdraw it at the hearing of the bailiff, the proof of receipt of the letter of information of the bailiff is worth delivery of the summons. In this case, the date of delivery is the date on which he became aware of the bailiff's information letter. If the bailiff has not sent this letter as a registered letter, he will have to make a new registered letter, unless the addressee has acknowledged receipt.

Unknown home

If, despite the search by the bailiff, the person to whom the summons relates is without a known domicile or residence, the bailiff must give a copy of the summons to the parquet of the court seised.

Where the public prosecutor finds that a person whom he wishes to summon is known to have no domicile or residence, he may order a police officer to search for the person's address. In case of discovery, the police officer informs the addressee of the quote and draws up a report, which he sends to the public prosecutor.

If the address of the named person is not discovered prior to the hearing, the search order may be maintained. The report drawn up by the police officer shall be parquet quote.. This allows it to be judged by defect, i.e., the person named did not have knowledge of the summons and was absent from the hearing.

The citation must be given some time before the hearing. This period varies according to the domicile of the accused person.

In mainland France

The quotation must be made at least 10 days before the hearing if the parties both reside in metropolitan France.


Trial in the same overseas department

If the accused person lives in overseas and that the trial is held in the same department as that of his residence, the delivery of the summons must be made at least 10 days before the hearing.

Trial in another overseas department or in a metropolis

If the person being prosecuted lives overseas and the trial takes place in another overseas department or in a metropolitan area, the issuing of the summons must be at least 1 month and 10 days before the hearing.

If the accused lives in a metropolitan area and the trial is held in an overseas department, the issuance of the summons must be at least 1 month and 10 days before the hearing.


The time limit shall be different if the accused person resides in a countries of the European Union or not.

European Union

The issue of the citation must be made at least 1 month10 days before the hearing.

In another country

The issue of the citation must be made at least 2 months10 days before the hearing.

Upon issuance of the summons, counsel for the accused may consult the case file on the spot at transplant court (police or correctional court).

The accused person or his or her lawyer may request a copy of the file in court. The first copy is free.

The accused person and the victim may request, before the hearing or during the proceedings, any act which they consider necessary for the manifestation of the truth. The request must be in the form of a finding and must be delivered to the court registry against receipt or by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

The trial is being conducted as a classic criminal trial before the police court for a contravention or criminal court..

The bailiff's fees to issue the direct quote are to be paid by the victim. If she wins the case, she can ask to be reimbursed by the convicted person.

In the correctional court, the victim may be asked to pay a deposit, unless the victim is legal aid.. This sum guarantees the possible payment of a civil fine in the event of an abusive procedure. The amount and time limit for recording shall be determined by the correctional court.

If the accused person or the victim have insufficient resources, they can benefit from legal aid to cover all or part of the costs of lawyers and/or bailiffs.