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The Administration of Criminal Justice

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Chapter Summary

In the Ancien Régime, just as in current law, two different legal actions could be taken after an offence: a civil claim asking for compensation for the damage caused by the offence and a demand for prosecution requesting a particular punishment. Demands for a punishment were made by the Public Prosecution Service, which was entirely independent. Demands for punishment were the exclusive domain of the public prosecutor who was territorially and materially competent. In this chapter, five important central moments can be distinguished, namely the preliminary inquiry or 'preparatory information', the interrogation of the suspect, the inquest or the actual inquiry into the evidence, the interrogation of the suspect under torture and, lastly, the final judgement in the case and its execution. A procedure which was organised in an accusatorial way was introduced for crimes. The 'preparatory information' of the Ancien Régime was preserved for the most part.

Keywords: Ancien Régime; civil claim; crimes; inquest; interrogation; legal actions; preparatory information; Public Prosecution Service



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