Direct Quote

Verified 09 November 2021 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Direct citation allows the victim of an offense or the public prosecutor summon the alleged perpetrator directly before the criminal or police courts. This procedure can be used for some infringements, where there is sufficient evidence and the court can hear the case without delay. Certain rules must be observed to guarantee the rights of the alleged perpetrator.

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

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

The perpetrator may be sentenced to imprisonment and/or a fine and may be required to compensate the victim civil party if she claims damages.


a summons may also be issued at the request of the public prosecutor to the accused person during his police custody or sound hearing by the police. This is called summons by means of minutes.

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

The victim has to write the quote first.

The quotation must contain the following elements:

  • Victim's marital status (name and forename), domicile, occupation
  • Detailed statement of the facts alleged
  • Law(s) against these facts
  • Identity of the person being prosecuted and, if it is a legal person, its form (SA, SARL...), its name (name), its registered office, its representative (president, director...)
  • Appointment of the person named (defendant, civilly liable, witness)
  • Type of injury suffered (moral and/or material and/or bodily), the final assessment of which may be indicated only at the hearing
  • Proof of injury: invoices, medical certificates...
  • Civil status of witnesses
  • Right of the person cited to have legal representation
  • Statement that the person cited must provide at the hearing his proof of income or notice of taxation and for a legal person, his balance sheet and profit and loss account
  • Mention that the amount of the fixed procedural fees to be paid by the person cited in the event of conviction
  • Evidence proving the author's guilt without the need for further investigation (photos, testimonies, screenshots...)
  • Court seised, place, time and date of hearing

The victim must provide the evidence to the court. 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 (this is called address for service or domicile elected). This address may be that of a third party or that of his lawyer provided that they have given their agreement in a certain way (in writing) and that they are within the jurisdiction of the court seised.

The victim must obtain the date of the hearing from the Public Prosecutor's Office.

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

The court of jurisdiction shall be that of the place where the offense was committed or of the domicile of the person complained of.

Who shall I contact

The victim must address a commissioner of justice (formerly bailiff and judicial auctioneer). She'll pay her fees. It may request reimbursement from the court in the event of conviction of the accused.

The full citation is given to the alleged offender by a Commissioner of Justice.

The Commissioner of Justice must make every effort to issue the summons to the addressee.

If the accused person is absent from his home, several situations are possible. These rules apply to natural and legal persons. The domicile of legal persons shall be their registered office.

Surrender to a relative

If the named person is absent from his or her home, a copy of the summons may be given to a relative, a allied, an employee or a person residing at that address.

The Commissioner of Justice must indicate in his delivery report the relationship between the person to whom he delivers the summons and the addressee.

He must immediately inform the accused person by registered letter with notice of receipt. He can also send a copy by simple letter asking him to acknowledge receipt.

Proof of receipt of the copy of the summons by the person summoned shall have the same legal value as a hand-over by the Commissioner of Justice.

Impossibility of handing over to a relative

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

Where the domicile indicated is that of the person concerned, he shall inform him in writing that a summons shall be withdrawn from his study. He can leave a transit notice inviting the recipient to come to his study and send him a simple letter. It may also inform him by registered letter with notice of receipt or by simple letter with request for acknowledgement of receipt.

When the respondent withdraws the citation under review, the remission is considered to have been made on the day of the revocation.

If the recipient of the quotation is not going to withdraw it for the consideration of the Commissioner of Justice, proof of receipt of the information letter from the Commissioner of Justice shall be deemed to be the delivery of the quotation. In this case, the date of delivery is the date on which he became aware of the information letter from the Commissioner of Justice. If the Commissioner of Justice sent this letter in a single mailing and the recipient did not acknowledge receipt, he will have to make a second registered mailing with acknowledgement of receipt.

Unknown home

If, despite the Commissioner of Justice's research, the person named in the summons is known to be homeless or resident, the Commissioner of Justice must provide a copy of the summons to the parquet floor of the court seised.

When the public prosecutor finds that a person he wants to subpoena has no known domicile or residence, he can order a police officer to search for the person's address. In the event of discovery, the police officer shall inform the addressee of the summons and draw up a report. He sends it to the public prosecutor.

If the address of the named person is not discovered before the hearing, the search order may be maintained. The report drawn up by the police officer shall be quoting with parquet. This allows it to be judged by defect, i.e. the person cited was not aware of the summons and is absent from the hearing.

The summons must be given a certain amount of time before the hearing. It varies according to the domicile of the accused person.

In the metropolis

The citation must at least be made 10 days before the hearing if the two parties are all resident in mainland France.


Trials in the same overseas department

Whether the person being prosecuted lives in overseas and the trial is held in the same department as his residence, the issuance of the summons must be made at least 10 days before the hearing.

Trials in another overseas department or in mainland France

  • If the accused person lives overseas and the trial takes place in another overseas department or metropolitan area, the summons must be issued at least 1 month and 10 days before the hearing.
  • If the accused person lives in metropolitan France and the trial takes place in an overseas department, the summons must be issued at least 1 month and 10 days before the hearing.

The time limit differs if the accused person resides in a European Union countries or not.

European Union

The citation must be issued at least 1 month and 10 days before the hearing.

In another country

The citation must be issued at least 2 months and 10 days before the hearing.

As soon as the summons is issued, if the accused person has a lawyer, the lawyer may consult the file on the spot at the graft the court (police court or correctional court).

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

The accused person and the victim may request, before the hearing or during the proceedings, any act they consider necessary for the manifestation of the truth (e.g. an expert's report, a hearing of a witness).

Such request shall be in the form of written submissions and shall be delivered to the court registry against receipt or by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

Who shall I contact

The trial is conducted as a classic criminal trial before the police court for a ticket or the criminal court for an offense.

The costs of the commissioner of justiceto deliver the direct quotation are to be paid by the victim. If they win their trial, they can ask for their money back from the convicted person.

Before the correctional court, the judge may ask the victim to pay a consignment, unless it legal aid. This sum guarantees the eventual 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.

The convicted person must pay the fixed procedural rights following:

  • Trial before a police court: €31
  • Trial before a criminal court: €127

If the accused person or the victim have insufficient resources, they may receive legal aid to cover all or part of the costs of lawyers and/or the Commissioner of Justice.

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