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Disciplinary board at French Universities

During their studies, students in French public and private universities may be summoned before a disciplinary board. Proper preparation and defense are crucial.

Lawyer for students - France - French lawyer - Education
University disciplinary board - Education law

Our experience

Our firm regularly assists students facing disciplinary councils in French universities, leveraging extensive experience in education law and litigation. We employ innovative legal defense and coaching techniques to prepare the best possible defense for students, operating both in mainland France and overseas territories.

Disciplinary board at University : How Does It Work?

How to defend yourself at a University Disciplinary board in a french university ?

A summons to a disciplinary council is a critical moment in a student’s academic journey and should never be neglected.

Each case is unique and requires thorough preparation before the hearing.

This preparation allows the student to explain the facts effectively (admitting to fraud, context of violence, right to a mistake) and enables the lawyer to devise the best defense strategy.

The council’s decision should penalize misconduct while also maintaining a pedagogical approach.

An french education law attorney is trained in these procedures and can provide essential assistance during the hearing.

Key points :

In French universities, the decision to initiate disciplinary proceedings before a disciplinary council is typically made by the head of the institution (e.g., the university president) or the regional academic rector.

This step is crucial as it sets the formal process in motion, leading to the disciplinary hearing where the student’s case will be reviewed and adjudicated

Respecting the rights of defense is essential. The student in question must be able to present written and/or oral observations and can be assisted or represented by a lawyer.

The elements that led to the council’s convening, such as evidence and testimonies, must be open for discussion.

Failure to respect the rights of defense, lack of motivation, or errors in the facts can lead to the administrative judge annulling the sanction.

Therefore, the assistance of a lawyer can be crucial in analyzing and highlighting procedural errors.

The student may be summoned before the investigation commission, where they will revisit the facts that led to the convening of the disciplinary council.

Yes, precautionary measures can be decided by the President of the university.

The disciplinary section competent for users comprises 16 members, divided into three groups:

  • Group 1: 4 university professors or equivalent personnel as per Group A of Article D. 719-4.
  • Group 2: 4 lecturers or equivalent personnel as per Group B of Article D. 719-4.
  • Group 3: 8 students.
  • Review the disciplinary file available to you. Make sure to have something to take notes or photograph the contents of the file during your review.


  • Take time to reflect on the facts that led to the disciplinary council. Do not deny the undeniable.


  • Prepare your oral presentation and written observations if necessary.

The Disciplinary Council Procedure at the University :

Article R. 811-33 of the Education Code specifies the procedure for the disciplinary council session :

“On the appointed day for the case review session, the rapporteur or, in their absence, a member of the disciplinary commission designated by its president from among the teachers, reads the report. The concerned party or their counsel can then present observations.

If the president of the disciplinary commission deems it necessary to hear witnesses, this takes place in the presence of the concerned party and, if applicable, their counsel. Any person who is a witness and feels harmed by the actions of the accused can request to be heard, possibly accompanied by a person of their choice.

Persons who initiated the proceedings under Article R. 811-25, or their representatives, may also request to be heard.

The accused has the last word.

After the session concludes, the disciplinary commission members who attended the entire session, in the presence of the secretary, decide on the sanction.”

The disciplinary board sanction : reprimand, permanent exclusion with a suspended sentence, permanent exclusion...

The disciplinary sanctions applicable to students are :

  • Warning and reprimand ;

  • Exclusion from the university for a maximum of 5 years (with the possibility of a suspended sentence if the exclusion does not exceed 2 years) or permanent exclusion ;

  • Exclusion from all public higher education institutions for a maximum of 5 years or permanent exclusion.

How we ensure your defense and why you should use our services

We build the best defense strategy for you before the disciplinary council.

As lawyers, we analyze the case files to check for any procedural errors that could annul the disciplinary procedure.

We take the time to prepare the disciplinary council session with you.

A good defense requires a well-prepared student. Our firm offers training sessions before the disciplinary council to improve the student’s demeanor and oral expression.

Thanks to our experience, we can advise you on the best defense strategy during your council and propose an alternative penalty to those typically suggested (permanent exclusion, exam ban) during the session.

A lawyer accompanies and assists you in your defense during the disciplinary council session.

We operate in both public and private higher education institutions.

Student rights - clerc avocat - education law - disciplinary

A student was accused of sending a peer to take the exam in their place.

Defense during the session

Examples of Cases

Annulment of a decision for permanent exclusion from a private higher education institution.

Annulment of a permanent exclusion

University sanctions - clerc avocat

Assistance and representation during disciplinary council sessions.

Assistance during the disciplinary board.