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Legal aid

Verified 03 novembre 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Reform of the conditions for granting legal aid

The Third Amending Finance Act for 2020 was adopted by the Parliament on 21 July 2020, which provides for the postponement to 1 January 2021 of the reform of the conditions for granting legal aid originally scheduled for 1 December 2020.

The information contained on this page remains current while waiting for an amending text.

Legal aid is the state's assumption of your legal costs (lawyer, bailiff, etc.). You can benefit from this help if you have low resources. The aid may cover all or part of your legal costs. You can request it before or after the start of your legal proceedings. The application must be made to the court in charge of your case. You must complete a form and provide supporting documentation.

What applies to you ?

Depending on your personal situation, the steps to take may vary.

Nationality
Place of stay
Place of trial
Home composition

You're French

Legal aid is the state's assumption of your legal costs. It is intended for people who want to assert their rights in court, but who have limited resources. Assistance may be granted to you if you meet the requirements, regardless of your position in the legal proceedings. Thus, you may be entitled to it as a civil party, witness, witnesses assisted, accused, accused, indicted, convicted, etc...

Legal aid is granted if you meet the following 3 conditions:

  • Your resources are under a ceiling
  • The proposed legal action is not inadmissible or unfounded
  • You do not have legal protection insurance covering the costs

  FYI : the condition of resources is not required for victims and beneficiaries of victims of crime, injury and terrorist acts.

Procedure in France

Legal aid may be granted in the following cases:

  • Grace or litigation proceedings (e.g. divorce)
  • transaction
  • Enforcement of a court order
  • Juvenile heard by a judge
  • Appearance procedure on prior conviction
  • Procedure mediation
  • Divorce by mutual consent by private signature signed by lawyers

  Warning : since 1to in november 2019, legal aid may no longer be granted for proceedings before the departmental pension court and the regional pension court.

Proceedings abroad

France does not grant aid for a case involving a foreign court.

But if you are a French resident in Quebec or Algeria, you will be able to benefit from legal aid under the same conditions as nationals of these countries. You may apply in accordance with the procedure in force in the country concerned.

If your case is tried by a court of another State of the European Union, the aid may be granted to you by the same State (except Denmark) in civil and commercial matters. The aid will then be granted in accordance with the procedure in force in the country concerned.

In this case, you must use a specific form and send it to the French Ministry of Justice, which will then forward your request to the country concerned.

The level of assistance depends on your financial situation and the number of dependants.

The following people, if they usually live at your home, shall be deemed to be your responsibility:

  • The person you're with live together if it has no resources
  • Your minor children at 1to January of the current year (or under 25 years of age, if they are students or invalid)
  • Your ascending whose resources do not exceed the Aspa

Resources taken into account are:

  • yours,
  • the person with whom you live together,
  • and those of other persons living in your household, even your dependants (child's salary, pension of a parent, etc.).

However, if the procedure involves several people in your household (for example, you and your spouse), only your resources are taken into account.

The resources you consider are the net resources you collect before discounts..

Other elements (e.g. real estate) may be taken into account.

Some resources excluded..

If your resources haven't changed since last year, the resources you've taken into account are those you have to report for the period from 1to January to 31 December 2018.

If your situation has changed, it is your current resources that are taken into account, starting from 1to January 2019 and until the date of your application.

In all cases, the amount withheld is the average of the resources received during the reporting period.

To find out if you are entitled to legal aid and calculate your rights, you can use the following simulator:

Calculate your legal aid rights

Ministry of Justice

  FYI : legal aid is automatically granted on a provisional basis in urgent proceedings relating to domestic violence.

The amount of legal aid depends on your resources and the resources of the people who live with you. It may cover all legal costs or only part of them.

Répondez aux questions successives et les réponses s’afficheront automatiquement

You live alone

Support rate based on your resources

Maximum Monthly Resources

Support

Less than or equal to €1,043

100%

Between €1,044 and €1,233

55%

Between €1,234 and €1,564

25%

You have dependants

You have only 1 dependant
Support rate based on your resources

Maximum Monthly Resources

Support

Less than or equal to€1,231

100%

Between €1,232 and €1,421

55%

Between €1,422 and €1,752

25%

You have 2 dependents
Support rate based on your resources

Maximum Monthly Resources

Support

Less than or equal €1,418

100%

Between €1,419 and€1,608

55%

Between €1,609 and€1,940

25%

You have 3 dependents
Support rate based on your resources

Maximum Monthly Resources

Support

Less than or equal to€1,537

100%

Between €1,538 and €1,727

55%

Between €1,728 and €2,058

25%

You have 4 or more dependants
Support rate based on your resources

Maximum Monthly Resources

Support

Less than or equal to €1,656

100%

Between €1,657 and €1,845

55%

Between €1,846 and €2,177

25%

The monthly resource limit shall be increased by 119  €per additional dependant.

  FYI : if you do not meet these conditions, you may exceptionally be granted 100% if you benefit fromAspa or RSA or if you are a victim of a particularly serious crime.

How do I apply?

The aid may be requested before or during the relevant case.

You can also apply for legal aid after the end of a procedure, to enforce the court decision.

You must use the form cerfa n°15626, to download or to remove in your town hall or in the court.

Application for legal aid

Cerfa n° 15626*02 - Ministry of Justice

Attach supporting documents to the form that relate to your situation:

  • Duplex copy of valid national identity card or passport or birth certificate of less than 3 months
  • Family booklet for married, divorced or divorced couples, spouses and singles with dependent children
  • Certificate of failure to cover legal costs completed by the insurer or by the employer
  • Copy of last tax or non-tax notice of all household members
  • Proof of household resources since 1to January of the current year, if the household's resources have changed since the last tax return (retirement, dismissal, divorce, separation or new union...)
  • Proof of payment of maintenance
  • Justification of an exceptional situation not requiring a declaration of resources (beneficiary of RSA orAspaproceedings before the pension court, victim or victim of terrorist acts)
  • Copy of the contested administrative decision and its notification, if it is a contentious appeal against a decision of the administration
  • Document attesting to the seizure of a court (copy of the summons or statement to the Registry or of the summons), if the case is already brought before a court
  • Copy of the legal aid decision, if a previous application for legal aid has been made for the case
  • Copy of court decision, if case has already been tried 
  • Written agreement of the judicial officer chosen, if he has already accepted the case in the framework of legal aid, with an indication of the type of procedure and the court seised or to be seised
  • Proof of payment of fees, if already settled

  Warning : additional documentation may be required if your situation is unique.

If you have a legal protection contract that does not cover the costs of the trial, you must attach a certificate of non-acceptance.

If your contract allows for partial coverage, you must attach the details of the costs already covered.

Attestation of non-assumption by the insurer

Cerfa n° 15173*01 - Ministry of Justice

Form to be completed by yourself and your insurer and attached to the legal aid application if the latter does not cover the costs of the trial.

  FYI : you can get help filling out the form at a law and justice home (or law access point) near you.

Who shall I contact

Where to apply?

The place of application depends on the court in charge of the case.

The office concerned can tell you the likely delay in processing your request.

Répondez aux questions successives et les réponses s’afficheront automatiquement

Civil jurisdiction: court or court of appeal

If your case is not initiated, file the application with the court of your home.

If your case is already under way, file your application with the court in whose jurisdiction the court in charge of your case is located.

If your case is brought before a court of appeal, file your application with the judicial court located in the same commune as the court of appeal.

Criminal jurisdiction (police or correctional court, court of assize or court of appeal)

If your case is not initiated, file the application with the court of your home.

If your case is already under way, file your application with the court in whose jurisdiction the court in charge of your case is located.

If your case is brought before a court of appeal, file your application with the judicial court located in the same commune as the court of appeal.

Administrative Tribunal or Administrative Court of Appeal

Submit the application to the judicial court of the city where the court is located.

Court of Cassation

Apply to the Court of Cassation.

Council of State

Submit your application to the Council of State.

  FYI : if you do not have a permanent residence, you can do a procedure of domiciliation before you file.

If you are entitled to legal aid, you can choose your lawyer.

In criminal matters, if you do not know a lawyer or in case of refusal of the lawyer contacted, the bar-bearer of the Bar Association designates a ex officio lawyer..

Your lawyer's fees are covered, in whole or in part, depending on whether you receive full or partial legal aid.

You can change your lawyer if you already have legal aid. You must report this change to the legal aid office that provided the assistance.

  Please note : you are also free to call on any legal professional chosen by you: bailiff, expert, etc.

If you have a legal protection contract that supports the entire procedure, you are not entitled to legal aid.

The level of support for costs varies depending on whether legal aid is granted in full or in part.

Répondez aux questions successives et les réponses s’afficheront automatiquement

If you receive 100% assistance

All your costs are covered, except the right to plead €13 due in certain jurisdictions and to pay to your lawyer.

The sums committed before the aid application are not reimbursed.

If you receive partial assistance

The State shall pay part of the remuneration of lawyers and public or ministerial officers (bailiffs, notaries, etc.) according to the rate of partial aid granted.

On the other hand, the State shall fully cover the other costs relating to the proceedings or acts for which partial legal aid has been granted (costs of expertise, social investigation, etc.).

For your lawyer's fees, you must sign an agreement to set additional fees.

Model supplementary fee agreement for partial legal aid

National Bar Council

Allows the lawyer and his client to set an additional fee in case of partial legal aid.

  FYI : in all cases, the aid does not cover the costs to which you may be sentenced (such as damages).

If you refuse legal aid, you can appeal against the decision.

You can make the appeal yourself or with a lawyer.

An appeal may be made against a decision to refuse legal aid outright or against a decision to award partial aid, if you have requested the full aid.

The appeal must be lodged within 15 days of notification of the decision.

You must indicate in the appeal the reasons for challenging the decision taken.

Example :

An error that relates to the number of people in your household or the amount of your resources.

The appeal must be addressed to the legal aid office which issued the decision, by registered mail with AR..

You must attach a copy of the contested decision.

The department that made the decision will forward your request to the competent authority to consider the appeal. The competent authority to consider the appeal depends on the court that is responsible for examining the case for which you have requested legal aid.

Competent authority to consider the appeal according to the court

Jurisdiction

Appeals Authority

General case

1to president of the court of appeal on which the court in charge of the case or the court of appeal in charge of the case depends

National Court of Asylum (CNDA)

President of the National Court of Asylum

Administrative Tribunal

President of the administrative court of appeal on which the tribunal is subject

Administrative Court of Appeal

President of the Administrative Court of Appeal

Council of State

Chairman of the Litigation Section of the Council of State

Court of Cassation

1to president of the court of cassation

Dispute Tribunal

Chairman of the Dispute Tribunal

Once the appeal is considered, the decision is yours notified by mail.

If this new decision does not suit you, you will have no further recourse. Thise The decision is final.

  Please note : an appeal filed by a lawyer with the president of the administrative court of appeal or the president of the litigation section of the Conseil d'État must be transmitted via teleservices Remedies ..

You are a foreigner

Legal aid is the state's assumption of your legal costs. It is intended for people who want to assert their rights in court, but who have limited resources. Recipients may be charged, accused, accused, convicted, civil parties, assisted witnesses, etc.

Legal aid is granted if you meet the following 3 conditions:

  • Your resources are under a ceiling
  • The proposed legal action is not inadmissible or unfounded
  • You do not have legal protection insurance covering the costs

You live in France

You have proof of residence or stay

You can claim help if you are:

You have no proof of residence or stay

You can also benefit from the assistance if you are a foreigner, without having to prove a residence or residence permit and if you are in one of the following situations:

You live abroad

General case

You can claim the aid if you are a resident of another Member State of the European Unionexcept Denmark

International child abduction

If you are the victim of an international child abduction, you can benefit from legal aid in France if the following conditions are met:

  • Abduction is carried out by a Frenchman or by a person residing in France
  • You submit your application to a French court
  • You are a national of a country that has signed the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, or you reside in a country that has signed the Convention

Procedure in France

Legal aid may be granted in the following cases:

  • Grace or litigation proceedings (e.g. divorce)
  • transaction
  • Enforcement of a court order
  • Juvenile heard by a judge
  • Appearance procedure on prior conviction
  • Procedure mediation
  • Divorce by mutual consent by private signature signed by lawyers

  Warning : since 1to in november 2019, legal aid may no longer be granted for proceedings before the departmental pension court and the regional pension court.

Proceedings abroad

France does not grant aid for a case involving a foreign court.

If your case is tried by a court of another State of the European Union, the aid may be granted to you by the same State (except Denmark) in civil and commercial matters.

The aid will then be granted on the country's own terms.

In this case, you must use a specific form and send it to the French Ministry of Justice, which will then forward your request to the country concerned.

The level of assistance depends on your financial situation and the number of dependants.

The following people, if they usually live at your home, shall be deemed to be your responsibility:

  • The person you're with live together if it has no resources
  • Your minor children at 1to January of the current year (or under 25 years of age, if they are students or invalid)
  • Your ascending whose resources do not exceed the Aspa

Resources taken into account are:

  • yours,
  • the person with whom you live together,
  • and those of other persons living in your household, even your dependants (child's salary, pension of a parent, etc.).

However, if the procedure involves several people in your household (for example, you and your spouse), only your resources are taken into account.

The resources you consider are the net resources you collect before discounts..

Other elements (e.g. real estate) may be taken into account.

Some resources excluded..

If your resources haven't changed since last year, the resources you've taken into account are those you have to report for the period from 1to January to 31 December 2018.

If your situation has changed, it is your current resources that are taken into account, starting from 1to January 2019 and until the date of your application.

In all cases, the amount withheld is the average of the resources received during the reporting period.

To find out if you are entitled to legal aid and calculate your rights, you can use the following simulator:

Calculate your legal aid rights

Ministry of Justice

  FYI : legal aid is automatically granted on a provisional basis in urgent proceedings relating to domestic violence.

The amount of legal aid depends on your resources and the resources of the people who live with you. It may cover all legal costs or only part of them.

Répondez aux questions successives et les réponses s’afficheront automatiquement

You live alone

Support rate based on your resources

Maximum Monthly Resources

Support

Less than or equal to €1,043

100%

Between €1,044 and €1,233

55%

Between €1,234 and €1,564

25%

You have dependants

You have only 1 dependant
Support rate based on your resources

Maximum Monthly Resources

Support

Less than or equal to€1,231

100%

Between €1,232 and €1,421

55%

Between €1,422 and €1,752

25%

You have 2 dependents
Support rate based on your resources

Maximum Monthly Resources

Support

Less than or equal €1,418

100%

Between €1,419 and€1,608

55%

Between €1,609 and€1,940

25%

You have 3 dependents
Support rate based on your resources

Maximum Monthly Resources

Support

Less than or equal to€1,537

100%

Between €1,538 and €1,727

55%

Between €1,728 and €2,058

25%

You have 4 or more dependants
Support rate based on your resources

Maximum Monthly Resources

Support

Less than or equal to €1,656

100%

Between €1,657 and €1,845

55%

Between €1,846 and €2,177

25%

The monthly resource limit shall be increased by €115.63 per additional dependant.

  Please note : if you do not meet these conditions, you may exceptionally be granted 100% if you benefit fromAspa or RSA or if you are a victim of a particularly serious crime.

The place of application depends on the court in charge of the case.

The office concerned can tell you the likely delay in processing your request.

Répondez aux questions successives et les réponses s’afficheront automatiquement

Civil jurisdiction: court or court of appeal

If your case is not brought, file the application in the court of your home.

If your case is already under way, file your application with the court in whose jurisdiction the court in charge of your case is located.

If your case is brought before a court of appeal, file your application with the court located in the same commune as the court of appeal.

Criminal jurisdiction (police or correctional court, court of assize or court of appeal)

If your case is not initiated, file the application with the court of your home.

If your case is already under way, file your application with the court in whose jurisdiction the court in charge of your case is located.

If your case is brought before a court of appeal, file your application with the judicial court located in the same commune as the court of appeal.

Administrative Tribunal or Administrative Court of Appeal

Submit the application to the judicial court of the city where the court is located.

Court of Cassation

Apply to the Court of Cassation.

Council of State

Submit your application to the Council of State.

  FYI : if you do not have a permanent residence, you can do a procedure of domiciliation before you file.

How do I apply?

The aid may be requested before or during the relevant case.

You can also apply for legal aid after the end of a procedure, to enforce the court decision.

You must use the form cerfa n°15626, to download or to remove in your town hall or in the court.

Application for legal aid

Cerfa n° 15626*02 - Ministry of Justice

Attach supporting documents to the form that relate to your situation:

  • Duplex copy of valid residence permit, national identity card or passport
  • Copy of any document justifying the habitual nature of your residence
  • Family booklet or equivalent foreign document for married, divorced or divorced couples, cohabiting couples and single persons with dependent children
  • Certificate of failure to cover legal costs completed by the insurer or by the employer
  • Copy of last tax or non-tax notice of all household members
  • Proof of household resources since 1to January of the current year, if the household's resources have changed since the last tax return (retirement, dismissal, divorce, separation or new union...)
  • Proof of payment of maintenance
  • Justification of an exceptional situation not requiring a declaration of resources (action brought before the National Court of Right to Asylum, beneficiary of the RSA orAspaproceedings before the pension court, victim or victim of terrorist acts)
  • Copy of the contested administrative decision and its notification, if it is a contentious appeal against a decision of the administration
  • Document attesting to the seizure of a court (copy of the summons or statement to the Registry or of the summons), if the case is already brought before a court
  • Copy of the legal aid decision, if a previous application for legal aid has been made for the case
  • Copy of court decision, if case has already been tried 
  • Written agreement of the judicial officer chosen, if he has already accepted the case in the framework of legal aid, with an indication of the type of procedure and the court seised or to be seised
  • Proof of payment of fees, if already settled

  Warning : additional documentation may be required if your situation is unique.

If you have a legal protection contract that does not cover the costs of the trial, you must attach a certificate of non-acceptance.

If your contract allows for partial coverage, you must attach the details of the costs already covered.

Attestation of non-assumption by the insurer

Cerfa n° 15173*01 - Ministry of Justice

Form to be completed by yourself and your insurer and attached to the legal aid application if the latter does not cover the costs of the trial.

  FYI : you can get help filling out the form at a law and justice home (or law access point) near you.

Who shall I contact

Where to apply?

The place of application depends on the court in charge of the case.

The office concerned can tell you the likely delay in processing your request.

Répondez aux questions successives et les réponses s’afficheront automatiquement

Civil jurisdiction: court or court of appeal

If your case is not initiated, file the application with the court of your home.

If your case is already under way, file your application with the court in whose jurisdiction the court in charge of your case is located.

If your case is brought before a court of appeal, file your application with the judicial court located in the same commune as the court of appeal.

Criminal jurisdiction (police or correctional court, court of assize or court of appeal)

If your case is not initiated, file the application with the court of your home.

If your case is already under way, file your application with the court in whose jurisdiction the court in charge of your case is located.

If your case is brought before a court of appeal, file your application with the judicial court located in the same commune as the court of appeal.

Administrative Tribunal or Administrative Court of Appeal

Submit the application to the judicial court of the city where the court is located.

Court of Cassation

Apply to the Court of Cassation.

Council of State

Submit your application to the Council of State.

  FYI : if you do not have a permanent residence, you can do a procedure of domiciliation before you file.

If you are entitled to legal aid, you can choose your lawyer.

In criminal matters, if you do not know a lawyer or in case of refusal of the lawyer contacted, the bar-bearer of the Bar Association designates a ex officio lawyer..

However, in the case of a challenge to an order to leave the territory, the automatic appointment of a lawyer to defend you does not entail the award of legal aid. The lawyer must apply for interim legal aid for you.

You can change your lawyer if you already have legal aid. You must report this change to the legal aid office that provided the assistance.

  Please note : you are also free to call on any legal professional chosen by you (bailiff, expert, etc).

If you have a legal protection contract that supports the entire procedure, you are not entitled to legal aid.

The level of support for costs varies depending on whether legal aid is granted in full or in part.

Répondez aux questions successives et les réponses s’afficheront automatiquement

If you receive 100% assistance

All your costs are covered, except the right to plead €13 due in certain jurisdictions and to pay to your lawyer.

The sums committed before the aid application are not reimbursed.

If you receive partial assistance

The State shall pay part of the remuneration of lawyers and public or ministerial officers (bailiffs, notaries, etc.) according to the rate of partial aid granted.

On the other hand, the State shall fully cover the other costs relating to the proceedings or acts for which partial legal aid has been granted (costs of expertise, social investigation, etc.).

For your lawyer's fees, you must sign an agreement to set additional fees.

Model supplementary fee agreement for partial legal aid

National Bar Council

Allows the lawyer and his client to set an additional fee in case of partial legal aid.

  FYI : in all cases, the aid does not cover the costs to which you may be sentenced (such as damages).

If you refuse legal aid, you can appeal against the decision.

You can make the appeal yourself or with a lawyer.

An appeal may be made against a decision to refuse legal aid outright or against a decision to award partial aid, if you have requested the full aid.

The appeal must be lodged within 15 days of notification of the decision.

You must indicate in the appeal the reasons for challenging the decision taken.

Example :

An error that relates to the number of people in your household or the amount of your resources.

The appeal must be addressed to the legal aid office which issued the decision, by registered mail with AR..

You must attach a copy of the contested decision.

The department that made the decision will forward your request to the competent authority to consider the appeal. The competent authority to consider the appeal depends on the court that is responsible for examining the case for which you have requested legal aid.

Competent authority to consider the appeal according to the court

Jurisdiction

Appeals Authority

General case

1to president of the court of appeal on which the court in charge of the case or the court of appeal in charge of the case depends

National Court of Asylum (CNDA)

President of the National Court of Asylum

Administrative Tribunal

President of the administrative court of appeal on which the tribunal is subject

Administrative Court of Appeal

President of the Administrative Court of Appeal

Council of State

Chairman of the Litigation Section of the Council of State

Court of Cassation

1to president of the court of cassation

Dispute Tribunal

Chairman of the Dispute Tribunal

Once the appeal is considered, the decision is yours notified by mail.

If this new decision does not suit you, you will have no further recourse. Thise The decision is final.

  Please note : an appeal filed by a lawyer with the president of the administrative court of appeal or the president of the litigation section of the Conseil d'État must be transmitted via teleservices Remedies ..