A new telephone application seeking to streamline the process for finding legal aid is now available in France
The official government app - called Justice.fr - is part of the Justice Minister Eric Dupont-Moretti’s action plan to improve access to the legal system for those in France.
“The application will provide a wealth of information on the rights and procedures of [people living in France],” the minister said.
The app is being released in stages, with plans to add additional content in 2024.
You can download the application for free on both Android and Apple devices by searching “Justice.fr” on the app store.
Below, we highlight five of the things the app can currently be used for.
1. Finding a nearby ‘justice point’ to seek legal help
The app will use geolocation to help a user locate a nearby ‘justice point’ to seek legal assistance over a matter.
Over 2,000 of these justice points are included, which are mostly courts or mairies situated across France.
The service does not show nearby police stations, however, and is not meant to be used if in immediate danger - where instead you should call the emergency services.
2. Check your legal rights on an issue
A database of “thematic files” containing an overview of legal rights and procedures on a number of matters is included in the app.
Around 8,000 of these files are included, which takes information directly from the services-publiques.fr website.
The files cover topics include family rights and civil law, road offences, and employee rights, and can be used as a first-step before accessing any legal aid.
3. Simulate legal financial aids
The app will include simulators to help calculate whether you are eligible for financial help in certain areas.
You can input information and see if you are entitled to legal aid, alimony, or unpaid wages, among others.
4. Call legal helplines and emergency numbers
The app’s interface will allow you to make calls directly to a number of services related to the justice system.
These include the free number to obtain anonymous legal aid (30 39), as well as the victim support helpline (116 006).
You will also be able to make a direct call to the women’s support helpline for domestic violence (39 19) free of charge and anonymously.
5. Use a legal directory to find assistance
It is not only public service numbers you can find on the app – it also contains a legal directory containing the contact details of a number of specialists.
The list includes lawyers, bailiffs (known as judicial commissioners on the app), notaires, and conciliators of justice (who seek to find amicable solutions to disputes).
Future plans for the app include filing a civil suit and following its progress, requesting legal aid directly through the app, and access to a digital version of your criminal record.