Hearing Victims Out: How the French Judicial System Differs from the US


[Sponsored article] Obadia & Stasi is an English-speaking law firm based in Paris, which understands the crucial importance of defending victims’ rights within the framework of criminal proceedings. The French judicial system differs from the United States’ system, and offers crime victims an active role within the criminal proceedings. In this article, Obadia & Stasi explains your legal rights in France.

Ensuring Compliance with the Law

In the #MeToo era, Obadia & Stasi believes that victims should be, more than ever, well-defended. Civil parties play a crucial role in criminal trials in France, especially in cases involving sexual offenses where the victim’s testimony is central. A civil party is a person who believes he or she has been the victim of an offense, and who intervenes in legal proceedings to obtain compensation for damages. To do so, they must register as a civil party.

In the French legal system, victims can participate actively in the judicial process, including during the trial. By registering as a civil party, victims can choose the way they wish to claim damages. Such a procedure is impossible in the US where a victim is just a witness and not a party to the trial

By supporting its clients to fully exercise their rights as civil parties, Obadia & Stasi ensures that they are not mere bystanders in the pursuit of justice.

Supporting Clients’ Rights

Obadia & Stasi supports its clients in fully exercising their rights as civil parties by:

  • Forcing the appointment of an investigating independent judge: In France, if a complaint is dismissed by the public prosecutor, or if the inquiry does not move forward promptly, the victim can file a new complaint with civil party status to compel the initiation of public action. Automatically, an investigating judge will be appointed to initiate an investigation. 
  • Accessing the entire case file
  • Requesting investigative actions: Once the victim has been established as a civil party, they can request investigative actions such as witness hearings or document production during the investigation.
  • Submitting observations: During the investigation, the civil party can submit observations to the investigating magistrate, to clarify points that may have been overlooked.
  • Active participation in the criminal trial: The victim is a party in their own right during the criminal trial. The lawyer of the civil party can participate actively in the criminal hearings, and question witnesses, experts, and defendants, ensuring active and informed participation at every stage of the trial. At the end, the lawyer will plead in the interest of the victim to seek condemnation.
  • Seeking damages: The civil party can seek damages for the harm suffered. Unlike in the United States, where the victim can only file civil lawsuits to obtain compensation, the French system allows for comprehensive and immediate reparations during the criminal trial.

How to Defend Yourself as a Victim

By choosing Obadia & Stasi, you benefit from the expertise of a dedicated team of lawyers committed to defending victims’ rights. The firm is dedicated to:

  • Providing attentive and personalized service: Each case is unique, and we strive to fully understand our clients’ needs and expectations.
  • Ensuring rigorous and determined representation: We defend your rights with competence and tenacity, both in criminal and civil matters.
  • Supporting you at every step: From establishing civil party status to seeking reparations, we are by your side to guide and support you.

Obadia & Stasi is an English-speaking firm based in Paris. If you are the victim of a crime of any sort and wish to sue for damages, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to offer you the expertise and support you need to get through this ordeal with confidence and self-assurance.

Sponsored articles do not belong to the editorial team at Frenchly. They are provided or written at the request of the advertiser, who determines the content. 

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