Annual public report : Document produced yearly presenting some of the findings (see Insertion) which the Cour des comptes has decided to make public. These findings are the result of the audits made by the Cour des comptes and the CRTCs. They deal in part with the impacts of previous findings.
Audit assistants of the financial courts : These audit personnel contribute, under the responsibility of the judges and external rapporteurs, to the audits and investigations falling within the jurisdiction of the courts of the Cour des Comptes or the CRTCs to which they are assigned.
Audit of budget : operations Attendant audit of budgetary acts made by the CRTCs on an external referral, generally resulting in an opinion issued by the court and submitted to the prefect.
Auditor : Lowest rank of the judges at the Cour des Comptes.
Bundles : Documentary evidence of expenditure and income, classified and grouped in packets of 3 to 5 kg and sent to the Cour or a CRTC by a public accounting officer in support of his annual financial statement.
Certification of public accounts : An expression – similar to that of a statutory auditor – of the Cour des Comptes' opinion on the lawfulness, faithfulness and honesty of the financial statements and accounts submitted to it.
Collegiality : Also referred to as collective responsibility, a characteristic of the body deliberating on the course of action to be taken following an audit. By extension, a meeting of persons holding the same function.
Communications of the General Prosecutor : Communications sent by the General Prosecutor on a request from the department presidents to the directors and departmental heads of audited entities, informing them of irregularities in financial management.
Communications : Documents containing observations and suggestions for improving or reforming the management procedures of departments, organizations and companies sent by the Cour des Comptes to the authorities, including ministers, the directors of central government bodies, and the presidents or general directors of public undertakings.
CRC advisor : A judge of the Regional and Territorial Courts of Audit.
De facto management : Handling of public funds or regulated private funds by a person who is not a public accounting officer and is not acting on behalf of or under the control of a public accounting officer.
Debet : A situation in which a public accounting officer is ruled as owing funds to a public body as a consequence of failing to properly manage or safeguard those funds.
Deliberation : Collegial decision taken by a group (court or court division) on each of the proposals of a rapporteur relating to the course of action to be taken following an audit. Deliberations are never made public.
Discharge : Ruling by which a financial court notes that the accounts presented by a public accounting officer having ceased their duties are accurate and sincere, enabling them to obtain release of the securities pledged on their arrival in the position.
Division (of a court) : Deliberating group headed by a president of division. Each court of the Cour des comptes and each CRC (with the exception of the smallest) comprises several divisions.
EUROSAI : European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions.
Executive authorising officer : Representative or public officer authorised to issue income and expenditure orders.
Fair hearing : The phase of the proceedings – legal or otherwise – that follows the investigation. A fair hearing consists in giving the audited entity the right to express its point of view on the provisional document communicated to it by the court. The definitive findings when made public include comments on the audited entity.
Financial courts : The Cour des comptes, the CRTCs and the Budgetary and Financial Discipline Court (CDBF) taken together.
Financial prosecutors : CRTC magistrates carrying out prosecution service duties, correspondents of the General Prosecutor for the Cour des comptes.
Findings of the Prosecutor's Office : The findings of the General Prosecutor on the reports addressed to him by the department presidents.
Findings : Observations formulated by the financial courts on the management of a government office, authority or body. Findings are delivered in the form of provisional observations, followed by final observations. They may also give rise to confidential administrative communications sent to local administrative authorities or via the General Prosecutor's Office of the Cour des comptes public prosecutor’s office to national authorities.
Fine for de facto management : Fine imposed on de facto accountants by the financial courts.
Fine for lateness : Fine imposed on accountants by the financial courts for not having presented their management accounts or responded to the injunctions issued concerning those accounts.
Formal sitting : Meeting of all the judges of the Cour or a CRTC to open the judicial year or to induct new judges or judges having changed rank.
General Prosecutor's Office : Body comprising the General Prosecutor, assistant public prosecutors and general deputies who, at the Cour des comptes, lead the prosecution service.
General rapporteur : The general rapporteur of the Cour des Comptes’ Publication and Planning Committee has the status of pre. They play an essential role in drawing up and monitoring programmes for the First President, as well as in the preparation of public reports, of which they can be said to act as the publisher.
Hearing : The proceedings before the financial courts are primarily written, but the courts may hear managers or the other individuals concerned either on their own initiative or on a request from these last as part of the fair hearing procedure.
High Council : Composed of the First President, the department presidents and all the master auditors, in the presence of the General Prosecutor, the High Council definitively approves public reports.
Insertion : A finding included in the Cour des comptes’
Annual public report
INTOSAI : International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions.
Investigation : Phase of the procedure during which the reporting magistrate audits a body or authority. Investigations by financial courts are conducted using documents and on-site inspections.
Investiture : Formal proceeding whereby a judge assumes his rank (see formal sitting).
Irremovability : The members of the financial courts have the status of judges. They are irremovable and cannot be revoked, disciplined or moved other than by special procedure.
ISSAI : International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions.
Joint deliberation panel (inter-division or inter-court group) : A joint panel either of several division of the Cour des Comptes, or of the Cour and one or several CRTCs, or of several CRTCs, set up to conduct an investigation or audit falling within their jurisdiction.
Judge's cap : Black velvet cap trimmed with one gold braid for master or senior auditors and two gold braids for department presidents, the First President and the General Prosecutor. Part of the ceremonial attire of judges worn at formal sittings.
Management control : After-the-fact control of the management of executing authorising officers and other public managers. Management controls concern the lawfulness of management operations, the economy of implemented resources and the evaluation of the results achieved relative to the objectives set by the deliberating assembly or body. The assessment does not rule on the opportunity of those objectives.
Master auditor : A judge of the Cour des Comptes with a senior rank.
Oath : Before commencing their duties, all the judges of the financial courts take a solemn oath to properly and faithfully fulfil their duties, to keep the proceedings secret and to conduct themselves in every respect as a worthy and loyal judge. Rapporteurs, audit assistants and clerks also take an oath of office.
Observation to the government (référé) : Communication sent by the First President of the Cour des Comptes to a minister to inform them of the findings of the Cour following an audit.
Offence of obstruction : A criminal offence consisting in obstructing the exercise of the powers of investigation of the judges of financial courts.
Opinion : A proposal from a CRC, for example on the content of a local budget, in the event of a referral as part of an audit of budgetary operations; observations from a CRC on a market or public service delegation on a referral by the prefect.
Outcomes : Rulings, opinions, findings and communications issued by the CRTCs after an audit.
President of division : At the Cour des comptes, the master auditor in charge of a division; at CRTCs, a rank in the body of CRC judges.
President's letter : Document containing the findings determined by a deliberating panel, sent to an administrative authority and signed by a president of department of the Cour des Comptes.
Public accounting officer : Civil servant or officer authorised principally to handle public funds and regulated private funds.
Public funds : Funds or assets belonging to public bodies.
Public prosecution service : Function exercised by the magistrates sitting at courts to ensure laws are applied.
Rapporteur : Category A employee carrying out duties for the Cour des Comptes relating to management auditing, to the exclusion of legal activities. Also a generic term used for judges and other staff assigned to conduct an audit, which must always result in the drafting and presentation of an audit report.
Registered management : Handling of public funds by a public accounting officer or an agent acting on behalf of or under the control of a public accounting officer.
Release : Ruling by which a financial court notes that the accounts presented by a public accountant are accurate and sincere, releasing them from their liability for the financial periods being audited.
Ruling : A decision issued by the Cour des Comptes regarding verdicts on accounts (rulings are handed down by the CRTCs).
Separation of executive authorising officers and accountants : A principle of financial organisation whereby the performance of financial transactions for public bodies is carried out by two separate and distinct types of officer: executive authorising officers and accountants. The duties of an executive authorising officer are incompatible with those of an accountant.
Special report : Report in which the Cour des comptes sets out its observations on the accounts, activity, management
and results of a public company.
Summing up of the public prosecutor : Document issued by the General Prosecutor’s Office presenting a dispute to the Cour des Comptes or a CRC.
Verdict on accounts : Aspect of the financial courts’ activity whereby they decide on the liability of accounting officers. At the conclusion of this procedure, rulings (in the case of the Cour des comptes) and judgements (in the case of CRTCs) are handed down.