tribunals sentences judges tribunal courts
POITIERS Charente-Infaieure, Deux-Sevres, Vendde, Vienne.
Thom Amer, CantaL Haute-Loire, Puy-de-DomeReuxv Eure, Seine-Infdrieure.
TouLousE Ari6ge, Haute-Garonne, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne.
t Tribunals of commerce to decide disputed points arising out of business transactions are instituted in all the more important commercial towns, and consist of judges chosen from among the leading merchants, and elected by their fellows. For sums above 1500 francs there can be appeal from their decision. In small towns, the judges of the civil tribunal decide such commercial cases.
calls de/its, are judged by a special section of the tribunals of first instance, bearing the name of tribunal correctionnel. This tribunal can be appealed to from the sentences pronounced by tribunals of police; but its judgments are also subject to the revision of the coin's d'appel. Offences which rank as crimes are judged by the tour d'assises, consisting of three magistrates and twelve jurors. The jury, as in England, decides only on the facts of the case, leaving the application of the law to the judges. The assizes are the only courts that are not stationary. They are held in the chief towns of the departments once in three months. In all criminal suits, the first inquiry is confided to a special magistrate attached to the tribunal, called jute d'instruction. lie conducts the necessary investigations privately and with almost absolute power. Au order of non-lieu issued by this magistrate at once puts an end to any prosecution. Put if he finds that the case should go to trial, he hands it over to the court, before which a public prosecutor, with the title of procurorr, or proem-cur-general de la rfpisblique, maintains and endeavours to prove the accusation.
Above these various tribunals the court of cassation stands supreme. It is held at Paris, and is composed of three chambers, the cliambre des requetes, the chamb-re civile, and the chanzbre eriminelle. Its province is to decide in all appeals from the other courts, investigating, not the facts of the case, but the forms of law, and ordering, wherever these have been infringed or deviated from, a new trial before such other tribunal as it thinks fit.
Among the special jurisdictions may be mentioned the military tribunals or councils of war, which sit in judgment on crimes and offences committed by soldiers, or by civilians in a town or district proclaimed by the Government as in a state of siege; the maritime tribunals, which are to the navy what the councils of war are to the land forces ; and the councils of discipline for lawyers and other professional corporations. The tour des compte.s deserves special notice. It consists of three chambers, with a president in chief over the whole court, and three presidents (one for each chamber), a general procurator, a chief grejier, 102 councillors, 20 auditors, and 81 clerks. This important institution, which costs 1,554,500 francs a year, was created in 1807 in order to control all the accounts of the Government officials. Certain agents who are not magistrates are, however, connected with the administration of justice. Such are the greffiers (clerks of the court), who keep the archives, and receive a salary from the Government; the ktrissiers (sheriff-officers), who give notice of summonses and sentences; and the avoues (solicitors) and the public notaries (notaires).
Statistics of Justice (1874). - In 1874 the juges de pais had : before their bar, with a view to private settlement, a total of 2,160,116 cases, and brought the parties to an agreement in 856,340, a result which is hardly satisfactory. As judges, they had on their rolls 391,129 cases, to which 5166 electoral disputes must be added. Their decisions were appealed from in 4460 cases. There were 125,248 cases on the rolls of the civil tribunals of first instance. The commercial courts had 255,333 cases before them, 5596 of which were eases of failure or bankruptcy. In 1850 the number was only 138,027. The decisions of the various courts above mentioned were followed by 10,555 appeals, which were brought before the cowers d'appel. In about 67 per cent. of these the original sentences were confirmed. Of offences 168,835 were brought under the consideration of the tribunanx correctionnels, 171,431 males and 31,678 females being implicated in them. Of these 7509 were under sixteen years of age, and 146,588 above twenty-one. The tribunals acquitted 13,506. Out of 7949 appeals the tours d'appel confirmed about three-fourths of the original sentences, and in 1206 cases increased the punishment awarded by the tribunaux corrcctionnels. The jury and judges of assize courts tried 4084 cases, affecting 5228 prisoners, 4368 being males and 860 females; 55 were under sixteen years of age, 799 under twenty-one, and 284 above sixty; 2818 were unmarried ; and nearly the half of the number consisted of people living in towns; 170 only had received a good education; 1810 could not read, and 2160 could read and write but imperfectly. The jurors found 1056 prisoners not guilty ; 31 were condemned to death, 151 to hard labour for life, 972 to hard labour for a limited time, I to transportation ; 29, who were under sixteen years of age, were sent to houses of correction; sentences of imprisonment for various periods were passed on the others, except two, who were fined. Four women were among the prisoners condemned to death ; the sentence was carried out in the case of 13 of the convicts ; the others, including one of the women, hail their sentences commuted. Besides these criminal cases, the coins d'assisc had to decide on 20 alleged infringments of the laws and regulations affecting the liberty of the press. and on 10 political offences, consisting of speeches, cries, or displaying of emblems considered as seditious. The accused were 52 in number, of whom 28 were acquitted, 4 fined, and 20 sent to prison. There were 1100 criminal eases brought before the tour de cassation, which has the same jurisdiction in criminal matters as in civil. In a large majority of cases it confirmed the decrees of the tribunals, only 103 having been sent back for a new trial.