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France: legal resources: Case citation

Citation styles

Some citations to printed reports you might encounter:

Bull. crim.,2 Bulletin criminel de la Cour de Cassation, # of the case within the Bulletin
Bull. civ. III, 4 Bulletin civil de la Cour de Cassation has a section (cited I,II,III,IV & V) for each of 5 chambers hearing civil cases.(Ass.Plén. and Ch. Mixte decisions are in a preliminary part) followd by case number

Rec. Leb.232 or
Lebon 232

Recueil des décisions du Conseil d'État, page number. (Source for important administrative law decisions at all levels.)
Rec. 232 Recueil des décisions du Conseil Constitutionnel, page number
D. 2005, 100, note Dupont Recueil Dalloz year, page number, note by Dupont
JCP 2003, IV, 9864

Semaine Juridique year, number of part, number of item within part

JCP yyyy I = Doctrine JCP yyyy II = Jurisprudence; JCP yyy III = Legislation; JCP yyyy IV = Sommaires

Gaz. Pal. 1990,2,70 Gazette du Palais year, semester, page number
Gaz. Pal. 20/21 Juin 2005, note Blanc Gazette du Palais date of the issue in which decision is reported, name of commentator
RTDC / RTDciv. Revue trimestrielle de droit civil
RDP Revue du droit public et de la science politique
AJDA / AJ Actualité juridique de droit administratif

Unknown French abbreviation?

The following may help!

Unlocking French citations

Adoption of ECLI (neutral citation system) in France

 ECLI:FR:CCASS:2013:CR00710. = l'arrêt rendu par la chambre criminelle de la Cour de cassation le 27 février 2013, sous le n° de pourvoi 12-81063.

Citations to French cases typically start with a reference to the court which decided the case (in abbreviated form) + full date.

Cour de  Cassation Cass.
chambre criminelle Crim.
(family law, contract) première chambre civile  Civ. 1re
(divorce, torts, civil procedure) deuxième chambre civile Civ. 2e
(property, leases. construction) troisième chambre civile Civ. 3e
chambre commerciale et financière Com.
(employment, social security) chambre sociale (labour) Soc.
Assemblée Plénière (full court) Ass. Plén.
Chambre Mixte Ch. Mixte
Conseil D'État CE
Assemblée Plénière (full court) Ass. Plén.
Section       Sect
Tribunal des Conflits Trib. Confl. or TC
Cour d' Appel CA or just the name of town/city

Note. Party names are not an essential feature, but can follow the date

  • party names are more commonly used in public law than in private law citations
  • administrative law cases give the plaintiff's name as the final element of a citation
  • leading private law cases start with "Arrêt x" x being the surname

Requête - abbreviated as req. in citations preceeds the unique case number. (No need to repeat any year information)

Finding cases in printed resources

Three series publish selections of decisions from all courts  - and each have their own finding aides. The Gazette du Palais also indexes the other two.

Gazette du Palais France 100 G289

  • Table chronologique - by date, then by subject and paragraph number
  • Mots clés - keyword index to cases

Sirey / Recueil Dalloz Sirey/ Recueil Dalloz      France 100 S619a-e

  • Table chronologique des décisions de jurisprudence (cases indexed by date of decision)
  • Table des noms des parties (index of party names)
  • Table alphabétique des décisions de jurisprudence (subject index)

Semaine Juridique (= Juris Classeur Périodique JCP)  France 300 S30

  • Table chronologique - indexes decisions of various courts by date
  • Table des matières - subject index of decisions


If you know the court which decided the case the LawBod has

Recueil des Décisions du Conseil d'Etat for CE decisions  

Bulletin des Arrêts de la Cour de Cassation for decisions of the Cour de Cassation.both for the Chambre Civile and the Chambre Criminelle 

Droit Administatif (Juris-Classeur) for selected decisions in administrative law.