Four potential ways to access free legal advice in France

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There are several ways to access free legal advice in France. A new system was created at the end of 2020 to group several of these different services under one organization. It is called Point-Justice and has centers throughout France.

Beyond that, there are a number of other options. We highlight four of them here, including Point-Justice centres, and explain how they work and where to find them.

Point-Justice

There are dedicated points throughout France called “Point-Justice” where you can go to obtain legal advice and information about your rights from professionals.

You can see them around towns or villages, as they are marked with their distinctive green “information point” logo.

There are around 2,000 of these stations in France, with different legal professionals potentially present, such as lawyers, members of associations, mediators.

These information points are free and offer confidential advice.

A member of staff at one of these points in Nice explained that in general the legal expert will be available two days a week, for a limited time during the day.

Appointments are generally limited to 30 minutes, except in the case where a person seeks legal advice or protection from violence, where meetings can last up to an hour.

She said it’s best to arrange an appointment in advance.

The on-site legal adviser can advise on all sorts of matters, including housing, family, work issues, etc.

The Point-Justice system was created in December 2020 to bring together various legal advice services under one roof.

For example, the Houses of Justice and Law, called Houses of Justice and Law, are now also part of the Point-Justice network.

Point-Justice is linked to another network of information centers in France called France Serviceswhere people can learn about administrative procedures such as taxes, government assistance, retirement options, etc.

To find your nearest Point-Justice information point, you can search online here.

You can also call 3039 (free) from mainland France to find your nearest point.

It should be noted that in rare cases, these legal information points are only open to certain demographic categories, such as young people, prisoners, hospital patients, etc.

Defenders

Each department of France has a Departmental Council for Access to Law (CDAD), a body made up of legal professionals, local elected officials and associations, whose objective is to guarantee access to law for all. .

It organizes places and times for you to meet a legal expert who can explain your rights and duties, whether you are entitled to legal aid, whether there are associations that can help you, and advice on how and if you should proceed.

You can find the closest on this link.

It is preferable to organize an appointment in advance, because sometimes access to these free consultations is reserved for people eligible for free legal aid.

town halls

If you live in a very rural area and there are no Point-Justice points near your home, you can also ask your town hall for advice.

You can find the contact details and address of your local town hall via this online search tool here.

Consumer associations

Some consumer associations also offer their members free consultations with a lawyer.

You can find the consumer associations in your area via this online search tool.

For more information on free legal advice, see dedicated page here.

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