In France, the Tribunal d'instance (literally "Court of First Instance") is a judicial lower court of record of first instance for general civil suits and includes a criminal division, the Police Court (tribunal de police), which hears cases of misdemeanors or summary offences (contraventions). Since it has original jurisdiction, the Court's rulings may be appealed to a French appellate court or Supreme Court. The court was formerly known as a Justice of the Peace Court (justice de paix) until the judicial restructuring of 1958.
In the Court, proceedings are conducted based on oral testimony and arguments, and, unlike in higher courts, legal counsel is not mandatory.
Other judicial courts of original jurisdiction are:
Degrees of jurisdiction
As a general rule, the French court system is divided into three degrees of jurisdiction:
The Court has civil jurisdiction over personal property claims, monetary claims not exceeding 10,000 euros, and other civil actions for which the court has exclusive jurisdiction, those being:
Claims over 10,000 euros, unless in the above exclusive areas of law, fall under the civil jurisdiction of superior courts.