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An Introduction to French Law


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Date de mise à jour : mai 2020


“An Introduction to French Law” is intended to provide an in-depth presentation of the main areas of French law.
As it is impossible to understand French law without a modicum of historical knowledge, the first lesson explains the main steps in the development of French law. These different steps make it possible to better comprehend the current state of French law, and in particular its various divisions.
In a second phase, it is essential to have a good comprehension of the specific sources of French law. This is the object of lesson 2, which explains the hierarchy that exists between the different legal rules.
Lesson 3 provides an opportunity to explain how justice is organised and operates in France.
The following lessons are designed to introduce the reader to the most important rules of French civil law.
Lesson 4 deals with family law.
Lesson 5 explains the rules governing property law.
Lessons 6 to 8 concern the law of obligations. More specifically, contract law is explained in lesson 6. The rules about extra contractual civil liability are detailed in lesson 7. Lesson 8 gives a presentation of the general regime of obligations.

Lesson 1 : Overview of French Law
The purpose of lesson 1 is to provide fundamental historical landmarks that are required to properly understand the development of French law. It is essential to begin with this lesson in order to gain a clear comprehension of the historical evolution.

Lesson 2 : Sources of French Law
Lesson 2 is intended to explain the different sources of French law. In addition to a detailed analysis of each of these sources, this lesson also helps to clarify their hierarchical relationships.

Lesson 3 : French justice organisation
The topic of lesson 3 is a comprehensive analysis of the different courts which operate within the French justice organization. It is intended to explain how judicial justice and administrative justice are organized. It is of the utmost importance to read carefully the first chapter of this lesson in order to clearly understand the historical development leading to the current system.

Lesson 4 : Family Law
Lesson 4 provides an introduction to family law based on two key concepts: couple and legal parenthood. First, the lesson explains the different types of union available in French law. Then this lesson deals with the relationships between parents and their children.

Lesson 5 : Property Law
Property law is explained first by considering key concepts such as the different categories of things and the concept of ownership. This lesson then presents specific situations such as usufruct, easements, joint ownership and co-ownership of immovables.

Lesson 6 : Contract Law
Lesson 6 is intended to explain the rules relating to contracts. It starts with a first chapter on the concept of a contract. The contract is then considered through its different phases: formation, effects, and issues linked to contract breach.

Lesson 7 : Extra-contractual civil liability
Lesson 7 explains the rules relating to extra-contractual civil liability. It addresses the three key elements of liability, namely the event giving rise to liability, the reparable loss and the causal relationship. This lesson also deals with the rules for the implementation of this liability.

Lesson 8 : General regime of obligations
Lesson 8 deals with the rules applicable to parties who are linked by an obligation. This lesson explains the rules which govern these parties during the whole existence of the obligation, until its extinction.