39 Tul. L. Rev. 687 (1964-1965)
Civil Action for Damages in French Criminal Procedure

handle is hein.journals/tulr39 and id is 723 raw text is: THE CIVIL ACTION FOR DAMAGES
IN FRENCH CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
JEAN LARGUIER*
The first paragraph of article 2 of the French Code of Criminal
Procedure provides that a civil action in reparation of the damage
caused by a felony, misdemeanor, or violation is reserved to those
who have personally suffered the harm directly caused by the
offense.1 Article 3 provides that this civil action for reparation
may be pursued at the same time and before the same court as the
criminal prosecution and that the reparation includes all kinds of
damages, material as well as bodily and moral, which flow from
the acts which are the object of the prosecution.'2 This is one of
the most distinctive features of French criminal procedure when
compared with that of England or North America.
Although the injured party may assert his claim for reparation
in a separate civil proceeding,3 he will generally prefer to bring
his action before the criminal court because of the following
advantages: in a criminal court the victim may avail himself of
the investigatory means provided in criminal prosecutions, for
example, with regard to searches, which measures are not permitted
in purely civil actions; the criminal proceeding is more rapid than
the civil one ;4 it is less expensive for the victim to bring the civil
action in the criminal proceeding; and, finally, there is a certain
psychological satisfaction to the victim in causing his offender to
be involved in a criminal process rather than in a civil one.
Other advantages, more general than the ones just discussed,
arise because justice is rendered more efficient, more exact, and
at the same time simpler through the use of this procedure. It is
made more efficient in that by having this right the civil party
obliges the public prosecutor to begin the criminal proceeding, if
such has not yet been begun, even though the prosecutor, for
reasons of policy rather than of justice, would prefer not to prose-
cute. It is made more exact in that the judges are able to get
a more complete view of the affair when the civil and criminal
aspects are united in one trial. It is made more simple in that
*Professeur A la Facult6 de Droit et des Sciences Economiques de
Grenoble, France.
1French Code Crim. P. art. 2 (7 American Series of Foreign Penal
Codes, Kock transl. 1964).
2French Code Crim. P. art. 3.
3French Code Crim. P. art. 4.
41n order to make the compensation more rapid and efficient, several
proposals have been made, in certain countries, to admit a state system of
compensation for victims of offenses.

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