Conduct of a civil trial before the court (TGI/TI merger)

Verified 02 November 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

You have a civil trial in court and you wonder how this procedure will proceed? We present you the 2 procedures. For the one where the lawyer is mandatory, we are talking about written procedure. For the one where the lawyer is not mandatory, we are talking about oral proceedings.

Before the court of justice, the parts at trial must be represented by a lawyer except in certain cases.

Written procedure

You must be assisted from the beginning to the end of the procedure by a lawyer.

If you want to enter the court of law, you are the applicant. To go to court, you must to have a subpoena legal proceedings by a commissioner of justice (formerly bailiff).

If you are the recipient of an assignment, you are the defendant to the procedure. You must take a lawyer within a period of15 days if you want to take part in the procedure.


There may be several plaintiffs and several defendants in a proceeding.

You and your opponent must prepare your case for trial. During the preparation of the file, it is only your lawyer who must ensure communication with the court and your opponent.

The preparation period for the application is called the reconditioning.

During this period, lawyers must present their requests and their arguments (called means) in a named entry conclusions. The conclusions must be accompanied by supporting documents.

The first conclusions of the plaintiff are the summons to court. Then, the conclusions are prepared in turn by you and your opponent.

At the beginning of the pre-trial stage, it is up to the defendant to respond to the subpoena by preparing its initial findings.

You and your opponent must exchange all your documents and hand them over to the court: that is the principle of contradictory. All the documents and findings shall be communicated electronically, by the lawyers, at graft of the court.

A judge, called pretrial judge, is responsible for ensuring that your procedure runs smoothly. Checks the folder during status hearings.

Status hearings are held regularly until the case is ready for trial. They are taking place virtuallyNo, you don't have to go to court.

At status hearings, the judge shall check that the exchange of pleadings and exhibits between you and your opponent takes place within the time limits set by the Council. For example, it may require a party to provide its findings within a set time limit, close the case without a party's findings or cancel the case if it does not comply with its requests.

Please note

you have the opportunity to make certain requests to the pretrial judge. For example, you can ask for an expert opinion or ask the judge to order the other party to provide certain documents.

The duration of the pretrial depends on the number of conclusions you exchange with your opponent, the timing set by the pretrial judge, the nature and difficulty of your case.


you can decide to prepare your file without the intervention of a pretrial judge. To do this, you and your opponent must sign a participatory procedure. This agreement includes reciprocal commitments and guarantees and is intended to put the case in a state where it can be argued.

Once the file is complete, the pretrial judge close trade and set the hearing date for your case.

The hearing at which your case is heard is called hearing.

You cannot provide new findings or journals after the status close date.

If you agree with your opponent, you can ask the judge that the proceedings proceed without a hearing.


at any point in the procedure, you can attempt a mediation or a reconciliation. If you're a plaintiff, you can also opt out, which is to ask for an end to the trial.

Likewise, for procedures introduced from 1er november 2023, you may attempt to settle the dispute amicably.

The judge decides, at your request or of his own motion, after having received your opinion, to summon you a ARA: titleContent.

The judge acts as a conciliator in these proceedings.

The amicable settlement hearing shall be held by a judge other than the judge hearing the dispute.

You must appear in person and be assisted by a lawyer.

Unless otherwise agreed by you, all that is said, written or done during the hearing is confidential.

You can ask the judge of theARA: titleContent to record your agreement (partial or total). The minutes of agreement shall be forwarded to the judge hearing the dispute at the end of theARA: titleContent.

On the day of the hearing, you must be represented by your lawyer. This is also the case for your opponent.

The procedure being in writing, your lawyermay plead or simply file a case without pleading.

You have the right to attend the hearing, but your presence is not mandatory.

At the end of the hearing, the judge gives the date of deliberation, i.e. date on which the judgment is given.

If the judge decides to issue the judgment on a date other than the date originally announced, he or she must send a notice to your lawyer indicating the new date and the reasons for the postponement.

Pending the deliberation, you can't submit any more comments. You can only file new submissions if the judge has invited you to do so to clarify a point in the record or if the proceedings are reopened.

The court shall give its decision in the form of a judgment.

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. Less commonly, the judgment is delivered orally at the hearing on the day of deliberation.

The judgment must meet all the demands, yours and those of your opponent.

The judgment shall decide on the requests of the parties in the device. Before giving the outcome of the dispute in the operative part, the court must set out the motives.


Sometimes the court cannot rule on the dispute. This is the case, for example, if the plaintiff brought the wrong case. In that case, the court shall make a decision of lack of competence. This is still the case if the court renders one stay of proceedings. It's a judge's order that causes a pause in the trial until a certain date or the arrival of an event.

The judgment can be executed immediately unless otherwise specified in the device.

You can challenge the judgment in appealing within the period specified in the significance.

If you find a material error in your court decision, you can file a request for rectification. You can consider the same approach if the judge forgot to rule on a request from one of the parties to the dispute.


If a point of judgment is equivocalIn other words, it can be interpreted in several ways, you can ask the judge to interpret its own decision by filing a request. You can only make this request if the decision is not appealed in call. The judge shall make his decision after having sought the opinion of the parties.

Oral proceedings

You can defend yourself alone or be assisted by a lawyer.

If you want to enter the court of law or the community court, you are the applicant.

Depending on the dispute, you must or to have a subpoena, or transmit a request.


You must apply to the court in accordance with the rules of procedure. For example, if you send a request when a summons is required, your case cannot be tried.

If you receive a summons from the Registry or are the recipient of a summons, you are the defendant to the procedure.

Since the proceedings are oral, the trial is structured around an audience.

If the court is seized by motion, you are summoned for this hearing, just like your opponent. Otherwise, the date of the hearing is in the summons.

What happens before the hearing?

In order to respect the adversarial principle, you need to communicate your parts and requests to your opponent. If your opponent takes a lawyer, you should send them to him.

Your opponent must do the same.


You must not communicate your coins to your opponent at the last minute. If your exhibits are communicated too late to your opponent, the judge may refuse to take them into account.

The exhibits you wish to use must also be sent to the court before the hearing or at the latest on the day of the hearing.

You can try to agree with your opponent even if the court is seized. The attempt to reconcile may take place at any time during the procedure.

How to be assisted or represented for the hearing?

You can present in person at the hearing, where appropriate assisted by a lawyer.

If you are not here, you can be represented by a lawyer.

Who shall I contact

You can also make yourself represent by a third party (another person).

If you wish to be represented at the hearing by another person, you may give them a power.

Power is one written document which allows the designated person to appear at the hearing and speak for you and on your behalf.

You can write a power of attorney by designating one of the following:

  • No one with whom you live as a couple
  • Your father or your mother
  • Your child
  • Your brother or sister
  • Your nephew or niece
  • Person attached to your personal service or company (e.g. company lawyer or domestic worker)

The designated representative must be major. He must attend the hearing with the power and one identity document.

You can use a template to write a power:

Model of power of representation in legal proceedings

How to request a procedure without a hearing?

The hearing is not mandatory if you agree to ensure that the proceedings are conducted without a hearing. Your opponent must do the same.

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

If the proceedings are conducted without a hearing, you must submit your requests and arguments in writing.

The judge may, however, decide to hold a hearing if he or she considers it necessary or if one of the parties so requests.

If your case is not referred to a future hearing, it can be dealt with at a hearing. adversarial debate.

The court must sometimes rule on its substantive or territorial jurisdiction before dealing with the dispute.

What are the consequences of not attending the hearing?

Your absence from the hearing has different consequences if you are the plaintiff or defendant.

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You're the requester

If you are absent and unrepresented, the judge may order the obsolescence of the case. The consequence of this decision is to terminate the proceedings.

If you are excused from appearing, the case may be rescheduled or tried in your absence.

You're the defendant

The trial can be held if you get hurt to be represented by a lawyer or a third party with.

The trial can also take place if you are absent and unrepresented but provided that your summons is regular. In this case, the judge must be able to verify that you have been informed of the existence of the trial (summoned by LRAR or by the Commissioner of Justice).

The judge can postpone the trial to another date if you file a postponement request that the judge considers to be legitimate. They may also postpone the hearing if they feel it is necessary for you to be here.

Can we ask for the case to be referred to another hearing?

You can ask the judge to grant a return to have the matter dealt with at a future hearing.

This request must be justified (too short a time to prepare your defense, application for legal aid pending ...).

The judge can accept your request if he considers that the ground is legitimate (it must be serious and justified). In this case, the judge sets the date for the next hearing. He or she may also refuse your request: in this case, the case is examined the same day.

In the event of a dismissal, particularly if your opponent has requested it, you can ask the judge to be excused from showing up at the next hearing.

Can the court declare itself territorially or materially incompetent?

Before discussing the dispute itselfHowever, you may raise the question of the material or territorial jurisdiction of the court which was given jurisdiction in the matter. The judge may also raise this issue.

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

  • Disputes arising under the jurisdiction of another judge (for example, a family court case)
  • Disputes arising under the jurisdiction of another court (e.g. labor council)
  • Disputes arising out of court in another city

How are the debates going?

The debate allow you and your opponent to present your requests orally and your arguments concerning the dispute between you.

The presiding judge arranges for the proceedings.

He gave the floor first to the applicant, then in a second stage at defendant.

If you want to explain further after your turn, you can ask the judge to speak again.

The judge may seek clarification from either party.

It can also to hear witnesses.

The exchanges during the debates are recorded by the Clerk in a hearing note that can be consulted with the graft.

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. However, the judge may authorize it.

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 RegistryThat is, you can go to the court and see it with your ID.

Less commonly, the judgment can be delivered orally at a hearing.

In any case, a copy of the judgment is then sent to you.

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

If not, the decision must be served by a Commissioner of Justice (formerly bailiff). This service is usually effected by the party who has an interest in enforcing the decision (the party who won the case).


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

The recourse you can make is indicated in the notification of the Registry or of the Commissioner of Justice (formerly bailiff).

You can also deduce the possible remedy by looking at the wording of the judgment. In the device of the decision, you can read that your judgment is either rendered first, or last, or rendered in absentia.

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Judgment rendered at first instance

You can challenge in appealing.

Final judgment

You can challenge it by filing a appeal in cassation.

Judgment rendered in default

You can challenge the decision by filing opposition.


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

If you find a material error in your court decision, you can file a request for rectification. You can consider the same approach if the judge forgot to rule on a request from one of the parties to the dispute.


If a point of judgment is equivocalHowever, if it can be interpreted in different ways, you can ask the judge to interpret its own decision by filing a request. You can only make this request if the decision is not appealed in call. The judge shall make his decision after having sought the opinion of the parties.

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