In academic terms, French law can be divided into two main categories: private law ("droit privé") and public law ("droit public"). This differs from the traditional common law concepts in which the main distinction is between criminal law and civil law.
Public law defines the structure and the workings of the government as well as relationships between the state and the individual. It includes, in particular:
Together, these two distinctions form the backbone of legal studies in France, such that it has become a classical distinction
The legal system especially underwent changes after the French revolution.
The announcement in November 2005 by the European Commission that powers recognised in a recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling underlay its intention to create a dozen or so European Union (EU) criminal offences suggests that one should also now consider EU law ("droit communautaire", sometimes referred to, less accurately, as "droit européen") as a new and distinct area of law in France (akin to the federal laws that apply across states of the US, on top of their own state law), and not simply a group of rules which influence the content of France's civil, criminal, administrative and constitutional law.
As mentioned, the term civil law in France refers to private law, and should be distinguished from the group of legal systems descended from Roman Law known as civil law, as opposed to common law. The main body of statutes and laws governing civil law and procedure are set out in the Civil Code of France. Other private law statutes are also located in other codes such as the commercial code in the Code of Commerce, or copyright law in the Intellectual Property Code.
French criminal law is governed first and foremost by the Code pénal, or penal code, which for example formally prohibits violent offences such as homicide, assault and many pecuniary offences such as theft or money laundering, and provides general sentencing guidelines. However, a number of criminal offenses, e.g., slander and libel, have not been codified but are instead addressed by legislation.
Constitutional law is a branch of public law dealing with:
It fixes the hierarchy of laws and rules within the French legal system and the relationship between these different norms. Constitutional law became independent from political science and administrative law with the Constitution of 1958 which included the institution of a constitutional court, the "Conseil Constitutionnel".
In France, most claims against local or national governments are handled by the administrative courts, for which the Conseil d'État (Council of State) is a court of last resort. The main administrative courts are the tribunaux administratifs and their appeal courts. The French body of administrative law is called droit administratif.
Traditionally, the law of the European Union (EU) has been viewed as a body of rules which are transposed either automatically (in the case of a regulation) or by national legislation (in the case of a directive) into French domestic law, whether in civil, criminal, administrative or constitutional law.
However, in November 2005 the Commission SADOS announced a proposed directive based on a somewhat controversial European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision holding that the EU had the right to require its member states to introduce criminal laws because, in the case at hand, this was necessary in order to implement and uphold EU legislation on combatting pollution. The commission intended to create a dozen or so EU criminal offences, similar to the relationship of federal to state law in the United States of America. Indeed, led by its then-Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs Franco Frattini - it insisted that the principle created in this decision applied to all policies, not just pollution policy.
In May 2006, the Commission formally submitted to the EU Parliament and EU Council (which have co-decision powers) the first draft directive aiming to put this into effect. The draft concerns counterfeiting (for example, of car parts, drugs, or children's toys) and requires each member state to set the following penalties for what it terms "organised counterfeiters": a period of imprisonment of up to four years and a fine of up to €300,000. The EU Parliament began its consideration of the draft directive in March 2007.
As of 2018, five firms in France rank among the world's biggest publishers of books in terms of revenue: Éditions Lefebvre Sarrut, Groupe Albin Michel, Groupe Madrigall, Hachette Livre (including Éditions Grasset), and Martinière Groupe (including Éditions du Seuil). Other major book publishers in the 2010s include Éditions Gallimard.Common law
In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of “common law” is that it arises as precedent. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, and synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is usually bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision (a principle known as stare decisis). If, however, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases (called a "matter of first impression"), and legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue (one party or the other has to win, and on disagreements of law, judges make that decision). The court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, and those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, and regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch (the interactions among these different sources of law are explained later in this article). Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems.The common law—so named because it was "common" to all the king's courts across England—originated in the practices of the courts of the English kings in the centuries following the Norman Conquest in 1066. The British Empire spread the English legal system to its historical colonies, many of which retain the common law system today. These "common law systems" are legal systems that give great precedential weight to common law, and to the style of reasoning inherited from the English legal system.
Today, one-third of the world's population lives in common law jurisdictions or in systems mixed with civil law, including Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Burma, Cameroon, Canada (both the federal system and all its provinces except Quebec), Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom (including its overseas territories such as Gibraltar), the United States (both the federal system and 49 of its 50 states), and Zimbabwe. Some of these countries have variants on common law systems.Copyright law of France
The droit d'auteur (or French copyright law) developed in the 18th century at the same time as copyright developed in the United Kingdom. Based on the "right of the author" (droit d'auteur) instead of on "copyright", its philosophy and terminology are different from those used in copyright law in common law jurisdictions. It has been very influential in the development of copyright laws in other civil law jurisdictions, and in the development of international copyright law such as the Berne Convention.
French copyright law is defined in the Code de la propriété intellectuelle, which implements European copyright law (directives). Unless otherwise stated, references to individual articles are to the Code de la propriété intellectuelle. Two distinct sets of rights are defined:.
Proprietary rights (droits patrimoniaux)
Moral rights (droits moraux)The controversial DADVSI act was due to reform French copyright law in spring 2006. This law, voted by the French Parliament on June 30, 2006, implements the 2001 EU Copyright Directive; however, there existed considerable differences of opinion as to how to implement the directive, in many respects.
On 8 December 2005 the Tribunal de grande instance de Paris concluded that file sharing through peer-to-peer was not a criminal offense. The judgment was based on the right to "private copy" described in the Intellectual Property Code which includes the use of digital media.On 7 March 2006, however, the National Assembly passed the DADVSI Act which implemented—with some modifications—the 2001 European Union Copyright directive. The DADVSI act makes peer-to-peer sharing of copyrighted works an offense. It does, however, allow for sharing of private copies of tape recording and other media.Copyright law of the European Union
The copyright law of the European Union consists of a number of directives, which the member states are obliged to enact into their national laws, and by the judgments of the European Court of Justice. Directives of the EU are passed to harmonise the laws of European Union member states. The most recent proposal is named Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.Dalloz
Dalloz is a French publisher that specializes in legal matters and is France's main legal publisher. It was founded by Désiré Dalloz and his brother Armand in 1845.Among other collections (Precis dalloz...), Dalloz is known for its encyclopedia of law that covers different branches of law : civil law, business law, international law, criminal law, European law, etc. Dalloz has published commentary, cases and legislation in a series of bulletins referred to generally as Recueil Dalloz.
Recueil Dalloz (1945–1964);
Recueil Dalloz Sirey de doctrine, de jurisprudence et de législation (1965–1996);
Recueil Dalloz (1997–1999);
Recueil le Dalloz (1999- ) Published weekly.Some topics are now only available online.Dower
Dower is a provision accorded by law, but traditionally by a husband or his family, to a wife for her support in the event that she should become widowed. It was settled on the bride (being gifted into trust) by agreement at the time of the wedding, or as provided by law.
The dower grew out of the Germanic practice of bride price (Old English weotuma), which was given over to a bride's family well in advance for arranging the marriage, but during the early Middle Ages, was given directly to the bride instead. However, in popular parlance, the term may be used for a life interest in property settled by a husband on his wife at any time, not just at the wedding. The verb to dower is sometimes used.
In popular usage, the term dower may be confused with:
A dowager is a widow (who may receive her dower). The term is especially used of a noble or royal widow who no longer occupies the position she held during the marriage. For example, Queen Elizabeth was technically the dowager queen after the death of George VI (though she was referred to by the more informal title "Queen Mother"), and Princess Lilian was the Dowager Duchess of Halland in heraldic parlance. Such a dowager will receive the income from her dower property. (The term "Empress Dowager", in Chinese history, has a different meaning.)
Property brought to the marriage by the bride is called a dowry. But the word dower has been used since Chaucer (The Clerk's Tale) in the sense of dowry, and is recognized as a definition of dower in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Property made over to the bride's family at the time of the wedding is a bride price. This property does not pass to the bride herself.Financial Security Law of France
The Financial Security Law of France (known in France as LSF or Loi de sécurité financière), signed by the Minister of Finance, Francis Mer, was adopted by the French Parliament on July 17, 2003 in order to strengthen the legal provisions relating to corporate governance. The LSF was published in OJ No. 177, August 2, 2003 (No. 2003-706 dated August 1, 2003).
Similar to the American Sarbanes–Oxley Act, the Financial Security Law of France rests mainly on:
An increased responsibility of leaders
A strengthening of internal control
A reduction in the sources of conflicts of interestFrench labour law
French labour law is the system of labour law operating in France.French nationality law
French nationality law is historically based on the principles of jus soli (Latin for "right of soil"), according to Ernest Renan's definition, in opposition to the German definition of nationality, jus sanguinis (Latin for "right of blood"), formalised by Johann Gottlieb Fichte.
The 1993 Méhaignerie Law required children born in France of foreign parents to request French nationality at adulthood, rather than being automatically accorded citizenship. This "manifestation of will" requirement was subsequently abrogated by the Guigou Law of 1998, but children born in France of foreign parents remain foreign until obtaining legal majority.
Children born in France to tourists or other short-term visitors do not acquire French citizenship by virtue of birth in France: residency must be proven. Since immigration became increasingly a political theme in the 1980s, both left-wing and right-wing governments have issued several laws restricting the possibilities of being naturalized.Investor relations
Investor relations (IR) is a strategic management responsibility that is capable of integrating finance, communication, marketing and securities law compliance to enable the most effective two-way communication between a company, the financial community, and other constituencies, which ultimately contributes to a company's securities achieving fair valuation. (Adopted by the NIRI Board of Directors, March 2003.) The term describes the department of a company devoted to handling inquiries from shareholders and investors, as well as others who might be interested in a company's stock or financial stability.Law in Europe
The law of Europe is diverse and changing fast today. Europe saw the birth of both the Roman Empire and the British Empire, which form the basis of the two dominant forms of legal system of private law, civil and common law.List of Navarrese monarchs
This is a list of the kings and queens of Pamplona, later Navarre. Pamplona was the primary name of the kingdom until its union with Aragon (1076–1134). However, the territorial designation Navarre came into use as an alternative name in the late tenth century, and the name Pamplona was retained well into the twelfth century.List of cultural icons of France
This List of cultural icons of France is a list of links to potential cultural icons of France.Louis XV of France
Louis XV (15 February 1710 – 10 May 1774), known as Louis the Beloved (French: le Bien-Aimé), was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached maturity (then defined as his 13th birthday) on 15 February 1723, the kingdom was ruled by Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, as Regent of France.
Cardinal Fleury was his chief minister from 1726 until the Cardinal's death in 1743, at which time the young king took sole control of the kingdom.
His reign of almost 59 years (from 1715 to 1774) was the second longest in the history of France, exceeded only by his predecessor and great-grandfather, Louis XIV, who had ruled for 72 years (from 1643 to 1715). In 1748, Louis returned the Austrian Netherlands, won at the Battle of Fontenoy of 1745. He ceded New France in North America to Spain and Great Britain at the conclusion of the disastrous Seven Years' War in 1763. He incorporated the territories of the Duchy of Lorraine and the Corsican Republic into the Kingdom of France. He was succeeded in 1774 by his grandson Louis XVI, who was executed by guillotine during the French Revolution. Two of his other grandsons, Louis XVIII and Charles X, occupied the throne of France after the fall of Napoleon I. Historians generally give his reign very low marks, especially as wars drained the treasury and set the stage for the governmental collapse and French Revolution in the 1780s.Mauritius
Mauritius ( (listen); French: Maurice, Creole: Moris [moʁis]), officially the Republic of Mauritius (French: République de Maurice, Creole: Repiblik Moris), is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. The main Island of Mauritius is located about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. The Republic of Mauritius includes the islands of Rodrigues, Agalega and St. Brandon. The capital and largest city Port Louis is located on the main island of Mauritius.
In 1598, the Dutch took possession of Mauritius. They abandoned Mauritius in 1710 and the French took control of the island in 1715, renaming it Isle de France. France officially ceded Mauritius including all its dependencies to the United Kingdom (UK) through the Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 May 1814 and Reunion was returned to France. The British colony of Mauritius consisted of the main island of Mauritius along with Rodrigues, Agalega, St Brandon, Tromelin and the Chagos Archipelago, while the Seychelles became a separate colony in 1906. The sovereignty of Tromelin is disputed between Mauritius and France as some of the islands such as St. Brandon, Chagos, Agalega and Tromelin were not specifically mentioned in the Treaty of Paris.In 1965, three years prior to the independence of Mauritius, the UK split the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritian territory, and the islands of Aldabra, Farquhar and Desroches from the Seychelles, to form the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The UK forcibly expelled the archipelago's local population and leased its biggest island, Diego Garcia, to the United States. The UK has restricted access to the Chagos Archipelago; it has been prohibited to casual tourists, the media, and its former inhabitants. The sovereignty of the Chagos is disputed between Mauritius and the UK.
The people of Mauritius are multiethnic, multicultural and multilingual. The island's government is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system, and Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom. The Human Development Index of Mauritius is one of the highest in Africa. Mauritius is ranked as the most competitive and one of the most developed economies in the African region. The main pillars of the Mauritian economy are manufacturing, financial services, tourism, and information and communications technology. Mauritius is a welfare state, the government provides free universal health care, free education up to tertiary level and free public transport for students, senior citizens and the disabled.Along with the other Mascarene Islands, Mauritius is known for its varied flora and fauna, with many species endemic to the island. The island was the only known home of the dodo, which, along with several other avian species, was made extinct by human activities relatively shortly after the island's settlement.Open access in France
In France, open access to scholarly communication is relatively robust and has strong public support. Revues.org, a digital platform for social science and humanities publications, launched in 1999. Hyper Articles en Ligne (HAL) began in 2001. The French National Center for Scientific Research participated in 2003 in the creation of the influential Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. Publishers EDP Sciences and OpenEdition belong to the international Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.Outline of France
The following outline is provided as an overview and topical guide of France:
France – country in Western Europe with several overseas regions and territories. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. From its shape, it is often referred to in French as l’Hexagone ("The Hexagon").Sarbanes–Oxley Act
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Pub.L. 107–204, 116 Stat. 745, enacted July 30, 2002), also known as the "Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act" (in the Senate) and "Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act" (in the House) and more commonly called Sarbanes–Oxley, Sarbox or SOX, is a United States federal law that set new or expanded requirements for all U.S. public company boards, management and public accounting firms. A number of provisions of the Act also apply to privately held companies, such as the willful destruction of evidence to impede a federal investigation.The bill, which contains eleven sections, was enacted as a reaction to a number of major corporate and accounting scandals, including Enron and WorldCom. The sections of the bill cover responsibilities of a public corporation's board of directors, add criminal penalties for certain misconduct, and require the Securities and Exchange Commission to create regulations to define how public corporations are to comply with the law.Treaty of Corbeil (1326)
The Treaty of Corbeil (1326) renewed the Auld Alliance between France and Scotland. It confirmed the obligation of each state to join the other in declaring war if either was attacked by England. The deputation from Scotland (then under the rule of Robert the Bruce) was led by Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray.