Justice Fact Sheet: Definitions, Statistics and History

A small sheet on justice to help you in your revisions.

The etymology of Justice can be traced back to the Latin jus: “right”.

Definitions: 2 meanings

Institutional: judicial institution (courts, councils, judges…)

Moral: what is right according to ethical values, what is legitimate

To understand the difference, understand that the “Institutional” meaning refers to the concrete, what is legal, what applies justice today. The “Moral” meaning refers to an ideology, what should be.

→ See definitions of justice (full article)


1790: institution of justices of the peace, creation of a court of cassation and courts of appeal

1804: Court of Cassation, courts of appeal

1806: 1st industrial tribunal

1810: courts of Assizes

1912: law creating the juvenile courts

1953: administrative court

1958: (V Republic) High Court of Justice – Constitutional Council – District Court, abolition of the Justice of the Peace – High Court

1979: generalization of the industrial tribunals

1987: administrative courts of appeal

1987: 1st filmed trial (judging by the Nazi Klaus Barbie) following the Badinter law of 1985

Statistics in 2018

8.72 billion euros was spent on justice by the State in 2018

Nearly 85,000 people work at the Ministry of Justice in 2018

Just over 2,600,000 decisions were handed down in civil and commercial matters, and nearly 250,000 cases settled by the administrative courts. All this in 2017.

As for criminal justice, there were nearly1 million convictions (criminal response rate: 87.6%): among which, 2,212 crimes exactly.

There are 183 prisons for nearly 60,000 places.

Statistics until 2011

People under custody in France (2011) according to the Ministry of Justice:

74,108 persons = 8,846 imprisoned non detained + 65,262 imprisoned detained

Budget of justice in 2011:

7.14 billion euros

Agents working for the Ministry of Justice in 2011:

76,025 agents

Correctional facilities in 2010:

189 facilities

Prison places in 2010:

56,358 places

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General Knowledge: Justice