Report No. 95
5.4. The Cour de Cassation in France.-
The highest court in the French legal system in the judicial order is the Cour de Cassation. The court dates back to the revolution, being established by the Law of November 27, 1790. Its organisation was fixed by the Law of 1800. The court sits in Chambers and in 1967, on the occasion of the latest re-organisation of the court, a "mixed chamber" was created. Article 3 of the latest Law (so far as is material) reads as under:
"Decisions of the Court of Cassation are rendered by one of its chambers, or by a mixed chamber or by its plenary assembly".
Article 14 of the latest law provides for occasions when a mixed chamber may be called into being-as where the case raises a question of principle or the question normally falls within the jurisdiction of several chambers, or the solution of the question might be the cause of inconsistency of judgments. Hearing before a mixed chamber is mandatory in several situations, for example, when the procurer general requests such hearing or the First President of the Counseil d' Etat orders it. A hearing of the mixed chamber is presided over by the First President, and the Board normally includes the Presidents and a senior judge and two other judges of several chambers. When the court sits as a mixed chamber, the procurer general must address it.1
1. Manfred Simon Enforcement of EEC Law in France-II, (1976) 92 LQR 85, 86.