Conduct of a trial before the local court (ex-local court)

Verified 17 March 2021 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Cancelation of the conciliation obligation

Published on 17 November 2022

In a ruling on September 22, 2022, the Conseil d’État annulled article 750-1 of the code of civil procedure, which establishes the obligation of conciliation and mediation prior to litigation.

The local court deals with disputes whose amount does not exceed €10,000. The proceedings shall be oral and may, at the request of the parties, take place without a hearing. The parties may or may not appoint a lawyer. The hearing is conducted by a judge who ensures that the proceedings are conducted properly. The judge makes a decision that can be challenged.

Before bringing an action before the court, the applicant may have to justify an attempt to conciliation, mediation or a convention on participatory procedures.

For any legal claim for a dispute not exceeding €5,000, this attempt is mandatory.

The matter is before the court by request or by assignment.


the rules of procedure must be respected in order for the matter to be properly referred to the court. The case may not be heard if the court has not been properly seized.

The trial is between the parties: the applicant (initiating the procedure) and the defendant (the one under attack).

The parties may be present in person at the hearing, possibly assisted by a lawyer. If they are absent, they may be represented by a third party with a written statement or by a lawyer.

Who shall I contact

Please note

the parties may be exempted from hearing if they so request.

Who can represent a party?

The party who wishes to be represented by another person at the hearing must give him or her a power. Authority is a written document that allows the designated person to appear at the hearing and speak on behalf of the absent party.

The party may draft a power of attorney by designating one of the following:

  • No one with whom she living as a couple
  • His father or mother
  • Her child
  • His brother or sister
  • His nephew or niece
  • A person attached to his or her personal service or company (for example, a company lawyer or a domestic worker)

The nominated representative must be an adult. He must appear at the hearing with authority and identification.

You can use the following template:

Model of power of representation in legal proceedings

What happens if a game is not played?

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If the applicant is absent

If at the hearing the applicant is absent and is not represented, the judge may order the obsolescence of the case. The consequence of that decision is that the proceedings are terminated.

If the applicant is exempted from appearing, the case may be postponed to another date or tried in his absence.

If the defendant is absent

The trial can only take place if the absent defendant has been summoned properly.

The absent defendant may present his arguments if he is represented.

The judge may postpone the trial to another date if he or she considers the presence of the defendant to be necessary or if the defendant has made a request for postponement.

Proceedings may take place without a hearing only if both parties have consented. If the application is accepted by the judge, the parties must set out in writing the dispute, their claims and arguments.

The cerfa form n°16037 allows to give consent for a procedure without hearing:

Consent to the conduct of the proceedings without a hearing - Oral proceedings before the court or the protection litigation judge

Request for referral

A party may apply to the judge for a return to have the matter dealt with at a future hearing.

The party must justify the reason for his request for referral (too short a time to prepare his defense, application for legal aid in the course of processing ...).

The judge can accept this request if he considers the reason to be legitimate (serious and justified). In this case, the judge sets the date for the next hearing. He or she may also refuse the application: in this case, the case is examined.

In the event of a referral, a party may ask the judge to be excused from attending the next hearing.

Decision on jurisdiction

Before discussing the dispute, the judge or one of the parties may raise the question of the jurisdiction of the judge seised.

The judge may declare incompetent to try the case in the following cases:

  • Disputes within the jurisdiction of another judge (e.g. family court)
  • Disputes falling within the jurisdiction of another court (e.g. the Labor Court)
  • Disputes arising from a court located in another city


Debates allow the parties to exchange arguments and evidence orally.

The judge gives the floor, first to the plaintiff, that is to say to the one who brought the case before the court. He must set out his requests and arguments, which are noted by a clerk.

The judge then gives the floor to his opponent who sets out his own demands and arguments.

If a party wishes to provide further explanations, it may ask the judge to take the floor again.

The judge may seek clarification from either party.

It can also to hear witnesses.

If the judge considers that the case requires further discussion or the search for additional information (for example, an expert's report or an on-site visit), he or she may postpone the case to another date.

Please note

at any time, if the judge finds that an agreement can be reached, he may designate a conciliator of justice or a civil mediator. If conciliation has failed, debate may resume.

Once the parties have spoken, the judge closes the proceedings. No request or argument may be taken into account after the closure of the proceedings unless authorized by the judge.

The judge shall give the date of deliberate, i.e. the date on which the judgment is delivered.

On the day of deliberation, the judgment shall be made available at the Registry, i.e. the parties can consult it in court with an identity document.

Please note

the decision may be given orally at a future hearing. In that case, the judge shall specify it and indicate the date.

The decision may be notified to the parties by graft by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

If not, the decision must be served by a commissioner of justice (formerly bailiff and judicial auctioneer) by the party who has an interest in having her executed (usually the party who won the trial).


the the decision of the judge shall be enforceable immediately, even in the event of an appeal, unless the law or the judge decides otherwise.

The remedy depends on the classification of the judgment referred to in the device which indicates whether the judgment is given in first spring, in last resort, or default.

The call is possible when the decision is rendered in first spring.

If the decision is rendered in last resort, the only remedy is the appeal in cassation.

Whether the judgment has been given default, the possible remedy is the opposition.


the type of remedy you can exercise is indicated in the service of the commissioner of justice (former bailiff and judicial auctioneer) or the notification from the transplant.

The time limit for contesting shall start from significance, of its notification by the Registry of the Court of First Instance or of the reading of the decision in open court.

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