The Cour des Comptes (French for "Court of Accounts") is a French government quasi-judicial body charged with conducting audits of most public institutions and some private institutions, including the central government, national public corporations, social security bodies (since 1950) and public services (since 1976).
The three missions of the court are the verification of the compliance of accounts; verification of management; and provision of assistance to Parliament and the government. The court checks whether accounting is in good form, and whether public funds have been well-employed. Established in 1807, it is the descendent of the Chambre des comptes de Paris of the Ancien Régime. The Cour des Comptes is independent of the legislative and executive branches of government.
The senior judge of the Cour des Comptes is appointed by a decree issued by the Council of Ministers. Once appointed, the chief judge and all other judges of the court cannot be recalled. The court is assisted by a public prosecutor who acts as an intermediary between court and government. The court comprises seven judicial bodies, each with around 30 judges and reporters, headed by a president. The distribution of duties between the seven divisions generally follows departmental lines (e.g. finance, health and social security, etc.). The Court is headed by the first president, currently Philippe Séguin.
The Cour des Comptes establishes its audit program entirely independently and is vested with very broad powers of investigation. It writes a yearly public report.
It is assisted by regional jurisdictions called Chambres régionales des Comptes ("regional chambers of accounts").
In addition to reporting bad practices, the Court judges the accounting of public accountants and can fine them for late reporting. Also, the Court fines public accountants for the exact amount of any sum of money that, due to an error on their part, they have unduly paid, or failed to recover on behalf of the state. This situation is known as débet (from Latin: "he owes"), and is not limited to any amount; public accountants have to buy insurance in order to face it. Often, though, the Minister of Finance ends up remitting part or total of the amount, because the public accountant would never be able to refund it.
NOMINATIONS D'AUDITEURS DES NOUVEAUX ETATS MEMBRES A LA COUR DES COMPTES.(Irena Petruskeviciene, Kersti Kaljulaid, Vojko Anton Antoncic appointed to EU Court of Auditors)(Brief Article)
Mar 17, 2004; Plusieurs nominations a la Cour des comptes ont ete notifiees au secretariat general du Conseil par les representations...
SPEECH BY HIS HIGHNESS AGA KHAN COUR DES COMPTES ON ACCEPTANCE OF 2009 NOUVEL ECONOMISTE PHILANTHROPIC ENTREPRENEUR OF YEAR 2009 AWARD (COUR DES COMPTES - COURT OF ACCOUNTS, PALAIS CAMBON.
Dec 17, 2009; GENEVA, Switzerland -- The following information was released by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN):...