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Where can I find free legal advice?

This is not about harming the legal profession or resorting to low cost legal sites which can turn out to be a bit light on the service rendered, but rather to know where to turn to obtain legal information allowing you to be better oriented in your approach. In order to know what the law says, different opportunities exist to accompany you in your first step towards the law.

The justice points or houses of justice and law (MJD)

Since 1998, the houses of justice and law have established themselves as local judicial structures that are part of a process of decentralization in order to allow easier access to law for individuals. They are distributed throughout France and, for each of them, the Minister of Justice has signed a local agreement with the representatives of the judicial institutions, those of the local authorities and the elected officials, intended to create this free public service and confidential, which depends on the public prosecutor and the president of the judicial court of the city.

Since December 2020, the houses of justice and law have been brought together with the justice branches and other access to law services, within a single new network called "point-justice". Made up of legal professionals (lawyers, bailiffs, notaries, etc.), associations (UFC Que Choisir, etc.), court conciliators, Defender of Rights delegates, they welcome individuals free of charge for various missions:

  • access to the law:professionals inform you of your rights and obligations and support you in your steps, whether it is to initiate divorce proceedings, to react to professional harassment, to recover your housing deposit , to denounce an abuse of weakness or discrimination, to put an end to over-indebtedness, to settle a problem of succession, etc.
  • amicable resolution of disputes:neighborhood disputes can generally be resolved through mediation, which will avoid cumbersome procedures…
  • help for victims:women who are victims of sexual or psychological violence will be listened to by specialists, or victims of acts of delinquency...
  • local justice:police but also social workers work to prevent petty crime, to find alternative solutions (criminal mediation, etc.).

Find a justice point near you

Generally, when you encounter a delicate legal problem in your daily life, it often seems difficult to know where to turn, and perhaps this is even more true for seniors as for any citizen far from justice.

These structures are not intended to replace lawyers, notaries, bailiffs, or other professionals, but they will listen to your problem, confidentially, in order to allow you:

  • or to amicably settle a conflict with a neighbour, spouse, landlord, etc.
  • or refer you to the essential professional to take legal action.

Necessarily, you will find a point-justice near you with its contact details and opening hours for the public, on the directory of point-justice offered by the website of the Ministry of Justice.

The justice points bring together many stakeholders and legal professionals, but nothing prevents you from knocking on the door of specialized structures, depending on the nature of your concern.

Access to women's rights

In each department, there is a CIDFF (Information Center on the Rights of Women and Families) which provides free, personalized and confidential information for all women, obviously without distinction of social and cultural origin, political affiliation and denomination, sexual orientation or age.

Lawyers and other professionals provide access to rights for women, in an effort to combat discrimination and sexist and sexual violence, by promoting equality between women and men.

Advice and information on accommodation

The Departmental Housing Information Agencies (ADIL) are intended to offer free, neutral and personalized advice on all legal, financial and tax issues relating to housing and town planning that individuals face, by offering them solutions adapted to their personal situation.

All housing-related topics find an answer, whether it concerns rental, energy renovation and works, access to and maintenance of housing, particularly for seniors, access to property, co-ownership, substandard or indecent housing, rental investment and landlord taxation, etc.

The departmental chambers of notaries

The departmental chambers of notaries generally offer free consultations by appointment during professional notary offices:you should contact the body of your department listed in the directory of notaries in France.

As an individual, the notary will provide impartial advice on family and personal matters (donations, inheritances, wills, etc.), on the management of assets (inheritance, taxation, etc.); he will also bring his expertise in real estate valuation, and business transmission when the time of retirement is needed.

Consumer defense associations

Approved consumer defense associations are very numerous and cover the entire national territory, with the mission of informing, advising and helping consumers to settle disputes in everyday life. They support individuals in finding an amicable solution to their disputes with third parties, and they also have legal capacity.

They provide practical and legal information, and free legal consultations during office hours. For legal action, the association will require the individual to join the structure. The best known are the UFC-Que Choisir and the CLCV (Consumption, housing and living environment) for the problems encountered by consumers when purchasing goods and services.