What is the CIVI?
The CIVI, or Commission d’Indemnisation des Victimes d’Infractions (Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Offenses), , is the commission whose mission is to compensate victims of criminal offenses to repair the damage they have suffered.
It is seized by a request for compensation, as provided for in articles R.50-9 and R.50-10 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
A CIVI is located in the seat of each jurisdiction of the Tribunal de Grande Instance. Victims wishing to obtain compensation for damages resulting from a criminal offence can choose between three options for referring their case to this commission: they can refer the case to the commission of the jurisdiction in which they live, to the commission of the criminal court in charge of their case, or to the commission referred by another victim of the same offence..
Each CIVI is composed of two judges du siège, aperson with expertise in victim compensation, and a representative of the public prosecutor’s office who may be either the public prosecutor or one of his or her deputies.
What conditions must the victim meet in order to refer a case to the CIVI?
In order to be eligible for compensation from the CIVI,the victim must :
- either suffer a permanent partial disability, an “IPP” (i.e. an infirmity), regardless of its rate (even if it is very low),
- or have suffered a total inability to work, a “TIW”, of at least thirty days,
- or to be the victim of a sexual offence (rape, sexual assault), which makes the condition of prejudice disappear.
With regard to the criteria of territoriality and nationality, there are three situations in which the victim of a civil offence can refer the matter to the CIVI to obtain compensation for the prejudice resulting from the offence he or she has suffered.
The first of these situations is when a French person is the victim of an offense committed on French soil. This is the most frequent case.
The second situation is when a French person has been the victim of a criminal offence committed abroad. For example, the firm has obtained compensation for a French citizen who was the victim of violence committed in China by a Chinese citizen.
The third case is an exception to the French nationality requirement. Indeed, a foreign person who is the victim of a criminal offense committed in France can file a claim with the CIVI in order to obtain compensation for his or her loss,can file a claim with the CIVI in order to obtain compensation for his or her loss, but only if he or she is a member of the European Union or legally present in France. On the other hand, a person who is illegally present in France will have his or her claim for compensation declared inadmissible and will not be able to obtain compensation from the CIVI.
The CIVI can be seized by both direct and indirect victims. In this respect, the relatives of a direct victim may be compensated if they can demonstrate real prejudice resulting from the criminal offence of which their relative was a victim.
On the other hand, the Court of Cassation has considered that legal entities cannot benefit from the compensation process granted by the CIVI (Cass. 2nd civ., May 30, 2007, n°06-13.098).
Regarding the substantive conditions necessary for a request for compensation to the CIVI to be admissible, it is not necessary that the perpetrator of the offence be prosecuted, nor even that he be identified. It is sufficient that the facts have the material character of an offense.
As an example, the firm recently referred to the CIVI an admissible request for compensation for a victim who had suffered physical injury, even though the perpetrator of the violence she had suffered had not been identified and was therefore not being prosecuted.
The victim of any criminal offence can file a claim for compensation with the CIVI, as long as he or she meets the above-mentioned conditions and the material nature of the offence is demonstrated. However, certain offenses are excluded from the jurisdiction of this commission: for example, victims of terrorist offenses or victims of traffic accidents.
These specific offences have their own compensation system..
What is the role of the lawyer before the CIVI ?
Thelawyer prepares the referral to the CIVI.. Once the request for compensation has been deemed admissible and forwarded by the CIVI, the Guarantee Fund has two months to make an amicable proposal for compensation to the victim, pursuant to article 706-51 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
If the victim accepts the proposal, it will be approved by the CIVI.
The commission also has the power to grant advance payments, at any stage of the proceedings. It can also carry out additional investigations to ensure the reality of the loss and its extent.
What is the deadline for filing a claim with the CIVI ?
Article 706-5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure sets deadlines for the victim to submit a claim for compensation to the CIVI. Thus, this request must be made within 3 years of the date of commission of the criminal offence for which the victim is seeking compensation, within one year of the final decision on the public prosecution or on the civil action rendered by the court when criminal proceedings have followed this offence.
Alexandre M-Braun, lawyer in criminal law, accompanies you
Alexandre-M. BRAUN accompanies his clients victims of criminal offences until they are compensated. In this respect, he assists them during the the procedure before the CIVI, from the initial request for which he verifies the conditions of admissibility to obtaining their compensation. In order to do so, he focuses on characterizing his client’s prejudice in accordance with the Dinthilac nomenclature, a list of compensable prejudices established in 2005 and used as a tool by most jurisdictions, in order to ensure that all the prejudice items are compensated. And this in order to obtain for his client a legitimate compensation by the CIVI