Assize Court

What is the criminal court ?

The Assize Court is a very specific criminal court, in charge of judging the most serious offenses namely crimes, as well as misdemeanors and contraventions that are related to them. The Assize Court does not sit permanently but during specially convened sessions. It is a mixed jurisdiction composed of 3 professional magistrates and 6 jurors (9 in appeal), drawn by lot from the electoral lists. In certain areas, such as terrorism or drug trafficking, the composition of the Court is different, and it is made up solely of professional judges.

From now on, it is possible to appeal against a judgment rendered by an Assize Court. It is brought before another Assize Court, composed differently.

The role of the lawyer at the assize court

The assizes trial, for which representation by a lawyer is mandatory, is a very particular procedure that requires, on the part of the criminal lawyer brought in, specific expertise in criminal law. Since the procedure is oral and the jurors have to decide on their “intimate conviction”, the trial lawyer must adapt his strategy to the notion of orality that governs the debates.

In view of the stakes of such a trial, the role of the lawyer is very important whether on the side of the accused or of
the civil party. This is why, when a person is a party to a procedure that must lead to a trial before the court of assizes, the choice of the lawyer is essential in view of the formalism and the solemnity of the debates, and obviously the penalties incurred during such a trial.

Towards the abolition of the court of assizes?

Under the impulse of the government, “criminal courts”, composed only of professional magistrates, are currently being experimented with, which are competent for certain crimes in place of the assize court.

One can only regret such a reform. The principle of popular juries marks a very strong link between the citizens and their justice system. Moreover, the court of assizes is, par excellence, the jurisdiction where the debates are the most interesting and thorough.

In any case, Maître BRAUN’s firm will defend the litigants before the criminal court, as well as before the assize court.

The criminal defense before the court of assizes

Alexandre-M. BRAUN has extensive experience in this field having defended numerous defendants before the Assize Court. Therefore, he is familiar with criminal cases and has the necessary skills to assist and represent his clients throughout the proceedings (investigation …) by establishing with them the best possible criminal defense, but also to plead before this court.

The criminal defense defense in a trial before the court of assizes requires a real preparation, as well on the merits of the case, which often presents complexities, as for the hearing as such.

The solemnity of the proceedings before the assize court makes it the court par excellence where, at any moment, everything can change..

This is the reason why Alexandre-M. BRAUN, with the benefit of his experience, prepares his clients as well as possible for the trial by explaining its progress and by training them in the questions they will have to answer. In addition, he carefully studies their entire case and develops the strategy best suited to his clients’ interests. After the trial, he advises his clients onwhether or not to appeal the judgment of the Court of Assizes.

Furthermore, in all his cases, he ensures the respect of his client’s individual rights and freedoms and verifies the regularity of the procedure through the control of the acts.

The defense of victims before the Assize Court

The role of victims before the Assize Court is not insignificant. When the victim is a civil party from the beginning of the investigation, as is most often the case, he or she has the possibility, through his or her lawyer, to request acts that are useful for the determination of the truth. Alexandre-M. BRAUN ensures, throughout the proceedings, that the rights of his clients as civil parties are respected and does everything possible to ensure that their position as victims is recognized..

During the hearing, the role of the civil party’s lawyer is to make the jurors hear and understand the suffering felt by his client and the repercussions of the facts on his life.

When the facts are contested by the accused, the victim’s lawyer supports and assists the prosecution, which represents the criminal prosecution, , in proving the facts.

However, it is not the role of the victim advocate to propose a sentence for the offender; this role is reserved for thepublic prosecutor.

As a lawyer for a civil party, Alexandre-M. BRAUN therefore prepares the hearing with his client, whom he advises on the course of the hearing, which can often be difficult for the victims. During his plea, he makes sure that his client’s word is heard so that he is officially recognized as a victim.

He also represents his client at the hearing that may be held to rule on the claims for damages (civil interests), after the criminal judgment of the criminal court.

To go further :

Share this article


Alexandre-M. BRAUN receives clients at his law firm, by appointment only. He can be reached, preferably, through the form.