Civil party’s lawyer (victim’s lawyer)

Have you suffered a loss due to damage caused by another person? Do you want to get compensation but don’t know how to defend yourself or what to do? Lawyers are there to help you, advise you on the facts of the case, inform you of the ins and outs of each type of procedure and defend you throughout the legal proceedings.

A civil party has the right to be assisted during the trial by a lawyer of their choice. The use of a lawyer is not compulsory for victims in criminal matters, but it is nevertheless strongly recommended.
Under French law, if the victim cannot afford legal representation, they can benefit from legal aid, which is granted on a means-tested basis (except for the most serious offences), which means that the State will pay all or part of the costs of the legal proceedings (including lawyer’s fees).
This aid is intended to help people who want to claim their rights in court, but who cannot afford a lawyer, a notary, or an expert.

The victim’s insurance may also cover all or part of the lawyer’s fees, if the policy includes legal protection or assistance.
For more information on victims’ rights during proceedings, click here.

The lawyer’s role is to provide information and advice, i.e. to explain to the victim the legal and jurisprudential rules applicable in the case. The lawyer represents the victim, which means that the lawyer can act in their place and on their behalf, even if the victim does not wish to be present at the trial.

In criminal matters, the lawyer’s role, in addition to ensuring that criminal law is applied, will be to determine the extent of the harm suffered by the victim in order to calculate the amount of damages that they can request from the court.

The lawyer must do everything possible to defend the interests of their client (the victim), but they must practise in accordance with the rules of law. For example, they may not write fraudulent documents in the interest of the victim. They have a duty of loyalty, meaning that they cannot turn against their client to take a position on the side of the opposing party.

I was a victim of a criminal offence: consequences and reactions The rights of victims of a criminal offence Criminal proceedings Who is who in criminal proceedings

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