Juror of Assize

Verified 27 May 2021 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

A juror is a citizen drawn at random from the electoral rolls to sit on the court of assize. He participates alongside professional magistrates in the trial of persons accused of crime. The juror shall be a judge in full. If you are selected to sit in a sitting session, you are obliged to do so unless there is a serious reason why you cannot do so. You have certain obligations to meet. You are entitled to compensation.

The jury of assize is a citizen who is registered to vote and who meets certain conditions.


You can be drawn to serve as a jury of assize if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You are a French national
  • You are at least 23 years old
  • You can read and write in French
  • You are not in a situation of incapacity or incompatibility with jury duty

Incapacity case

Certain categories of persons shall not be allowed to participate in the trial of crimes.

These include:

  • Persons who have been convicted for a crime or a offense
  • Public officials dismissed from office
  • People protected majors

Incompatibility cases

A jury duty is incompatible with the performance of the following duties:

  • Member of the government
  • Parliamentary
  • Magistrate
  • Police, prison or gendarmerie officers

Persons close to the accused or his or her lawyer or one of the magistrates of the criminal court (husband, partner of Civil partnerships, common-law partner, parents, children, etc.) may not be tried in the case either.

The same applies to persons who participated in the legal proceedings (complainant, interpreter, witness, etc.).

The jurors who will actually sit during a sitting trial are selected from a large number of people drawn at random from the electoral rolls. This selection is made in several steps.

1st draw by the mayor on the electoral lists

There is one sitting court per department.

Each of the municipalities or groups of municipalities in the department must propose a number of names drawn at random from the electoral lists to the Court of Assize.

Drawing of lots at the municipality level

Each mayor first draws up a preparatory list, drawing by lot three times the number of names fixed by prefectural decree for his commune.

It then removes the names of persons who have not attained the age of 23 in the calendar year following the year of the draw. He then informs by mail the voters who appear on this preparatory list that they were drawn for jury duty.

Finally, he shall forward the list to the Registry of the Court of Assize.

Drawing of lots at the level of the grouping of municipalities

Where the prefectural allocation decree provides for a grouping of communes, the drawing of lots shall be carried out by the mayor of the commune designated in the prefect's decree. The draw is for all the electoral lists of the municipalities concerned.

The mayor of the commune designated in the prefectural decree first draws up a preparatory list by lot three times the number of names fixed for the grouping of communes.

It then removes the names of persons who have not attained the age of 23 in the calendar year following the year of the draw. He then informs by mail the voters who appear on this preparatory list that they were drawn for jury duty.

Finally, he shall forward the list to the Registry of the Court of Assize.

Second draw by the Special Committee

A special committee attached to each court of assize meets annually to refine the lists of jurors received from the communes.

First of all, the commission excludes from the list received from each municipality the following persons:

  • Persons who do not qualify for jury duty
  • Eligible individuals who have served as jurors in the department for less than 5 years
  • Persons who, for serious reasons, are unable to serve as jurors

The committee then examines the requests for exemption introduced by persons who have been informed by the municipality of their inclusion on the list.

Finally, the commission draws a new lot and draws up for each commune the annual list of jurors and the special list of alternate jurors.

These 2 lists are sent to the mayors of each of the municipalities of the department.

Mayors must alert the criminal court of any changes that affect one of the individuals on either list: death, incapacity or incompatibility.

Appointment of jurors

For each sitting, the presidents of the courts of justice and the Court of Appeal, or their delegates, shall draw lots in public from the annual list of jurors:

  • 35 jurors to form the session list,
  • 10 alternate jurors to form the special list.

If you are a member of the jury or substitute, the clerk of the Court of Assize will call you by post. The notice of meeting shall specify the date and time of the opening of the session, its expected duration and the place where it will be held.

You must reply by mail.

If you are over 70 years of age, and you can justify a serious reason (serious illness, deafness, etc.), you can formulate a request for exemption. The same applies if you no longer live in the jurisdiction of the Cour d'Assises.


failure to attend the hearing without a legitimate reason (e.g. medical evidence of health) will result in a fine of €3750.

Formation of the jury of judgment

A sitting session makes it possible to judge several cases.

For each case, each juror on the session list is called to a public hearing and a card bearing his or her name is placed in a ballot box. A final draw is made.

At each draw, the accused (or his or her lawyer), and then the Advocate General, have the opportunity to challenge (i.e. refuse) the juror whose name is drawn. But there are limits on the number of possible recusals.

The first 6 unchallenged jurors form the jury, after taking the oath.

If it's an appeal case, the first nine jurors form the jury.

Additional jurors are drawn by lot, to replace jurors who could be suddenly prevented from attending trial (health reasons, professional imperatives, etc.).


As a juror, you undergo a short training during which the President of the Court of Assize and the Advocate General provide explanations on jurisdiction. You're looking at a film that has the function that you will assume. The possibility of visiting a prison is often offered.


You sit in the hearings and participate in the deliberations, where you will vote by secret ballot with other jurors and magistrates.

A first vote is on the guilt of the accused and, if found guilty, a second vote is taken on the sentence. You are basing your choice on your intimate conviction.


As a juror, you must meet the following obligations:

  • Be attentive in debates. You have the option of taking handwritten notes.
  • Be impartial, that is, independent, neutral and objective, and not express your opinion
  • Do not contact others about the case
  • Respect the secrecy of the deliberation (including once you have ceased to be a juror)


failure to respect the secrecy of the deliberation carries a penalty of one year imprisonment and a fine of €15,000.


You serve as a juror on a continuous, full-time basis for the duration of your review of the cases of the same session.


You can collect compensatory allowances for your loss of income. But you have to ask for it.

Relations with the employer

Your employer must release you from your professional obligations to allow you to sit on the bench.

If you are employed in the private sector, your employment contract is suspended during the session.

If you are a public official, you must be granted leave of absence.

You can show your summons to your employer.

He will not pay you during your absence.

They must provide you with a document showing the amount of your salary or any document attesting to a loss of employment income, in order for you to obtain your compensatory allowances.

You may not be disciplined or discriminated against for this absence.

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