FINDING COMPETENT COURTS/AUTHORITIES
The search tool below will help you to identify court(s)/authority(ies) competent for a specific European legal instrument. Please note that although every effort has been made to ascertain the accuracy of the results, there may be some exceptional cases concerning the determination of competence that are not necessarily covered.
Article 3(1) – Transmitting agencies
The transmitting agencies in France are the judicial commissioners (new name given to bailiffs as of 1 July 2022) and the court registries.
Article 3(2) – Receiving agencies
The receiving agencies in France are the judicial commissioners.
Article 3(4)(c) – Means of receipt of documents
Receipt can be by: post.
Article 3(4)(d) – Languages that may be used for the completion of the standard form set out in Annex I
France will accept the standard request form in Annex I if it is completed in French or in one of the following languages: English, German, Italian or Spanish.
Article 4 – Central body
The central body is the Department for mutual assistance, private international law and EU law (Département de l’entraide, du droit international privé et européen – DEDIPE)
Ministère de la Justice (Ministry of Justice)
Direction des Affaires Civiles et du Sceau (Civil Affairs and Seals Directorate)
Département de l’entraide, du droit international privé et européen (Department for mutual assistance, private international law and EU law)
13, place Vendôme
F-75042 Paris Cedex 01
Tel.: 00 33 (0)1 44 77 61 05
Languages: French and English.
Article 7 – Assistance in address enquiries
France does not have a competent authority to search for an address (7)(1)(a) or a population register (7)(1)(b).
Pursuant to Article (7)(1)(c), applicants are invited to consult the following information websites:
- For searches for a private individual’s address:
- public service
- telephone directory
- For searches for a company’s address:
For documents instituting proceedings and enforcement orders, applicants may also consult the competent judicial commissioners for the court of appeal in which the addressee had their last known domicile.
All information on judicial commissioners can be obtained from the National Chamber of Judicial Officers:
Pursuant to Article (7)(2)(c), France does not designate authorities to which requests for address searches are made.
Article 8 – Transmission of documents
France will accept the standard request form A in Annex I if it is completed in French or in one of the following languages: English, German, Italian or Spanish.
Article 12 – Refusal to accept a document
Article 13 – Date of service
French law does not, in general, prescribe a time limit within which judgments must be served.
However, judgments rendered in absentia or judgments deemed to be contradictory are null and void if they have not been notified within six months of their date (Article 478 of the Code of Civil Procedure). If necessary, the procedure may be relaunched with a new summons if the proceedings are not time-barred.
Article 14 – Certificate of service and copy of the document served
France will accept the standard request form K in Annex I if it is completed in French or in one of the following languages: English, German, Italian or Spanish.
Article 15 – Costs of service
The fixed fee for service by a bailiff (huissier de justice) is EUR 48.36 (Order (arrêté) of 28 February 2020). This fee must be paid when the documents are served, unless the applicant is receiving legal aid.
For documents to be served in the overseas departments and collectivies, pursuant to Article A444-10 of the Commercial Code, the fee is increased as follows:
- by 30% for the Wallis and Futuna Islands, Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Mayotte (i.e. EUR 62.87);
- by 29% in the departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique (i.e. EUR 62.38);
- by 27% in the department of Guyane (i.e. EUR 61.42);
- by 37% in the department of La Réunion (i.e. EUR 66.25).
Article 17 – Service by diplomatic agents or consular officers
France is opposed to another Member State serving judicial documents on French territory through consular or diplomatic channels unless the person to be served with the document is a national of that Member State.
Article 19 – Electronic service
National law does not allow the service of a document simply by email, however, pursuant to Article 19(2), France will accept electronic service subject to the following additional conditions:
- the procedure used must guarantee the reliability of the identification of the parties to the electronic communication, the integrity of the documents addressed, the security and confidentiality of the exchanges, the storage of the transmissions made and definitively establish the date of dispatch and the date of making available or the date of receipt by the recipient (Article 748-6 of the Code of Civil Procedure);
- in order to be valid, the document of service must state the addressee’s consent to electronic service (Article 662-1 of the Code of Civil Procedure) and the date and time at which the addressee of the document became aware of it (Article 663 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
Article 20 – Direct service
France is not opposed to direct service as provided for in Article 20(1). Such direct service shall be authorised where it is carried out by the judicial commissioners and the court registries, where that task is expressly entrusted to them by national law.
Article 22 – Defendant not entering an appearance
Where a document instituting proceedings or an equivalent document has had to be transmitted to another Member State for the purpose of service under this Regulation and the defendant has not appeared, judgment shall not be given until the conditions laid down in paragraph 1 are met.
Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1, a French judge may give judgment if all the conditions laid down in paragraph 2 are met.
Article 29 – Relationship with agreements or arrangements between Member States
Convention of 1 March 1954 on civil procedure
Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters
Agreement between France and Germany to facilitate the application of the Hague Convention of 1 March 1954 on civil procedure, signed on 6 May 1961
Convention on mutual judicial assistance in civil and commercial matters between France and Belgium of 1 March 1956, as amended by the Exchange of Letters of 23 and 30 August 1960
Agreement of 5 April 1967 between the Government of the Republic of France and the Government of the People’s Republic of Poland to facilitate the application of the Hague Convention of 1 March 1954 on civil procedure
Convention of 2 February 1922 to facilitate formalities in proceedings between persons residing in France and in the United Kingdom
Agreement between the Republic of France and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to facilitate the application of the Hague Convention of 1 March 1954 on civil procedure, signed in Belgrade on 29 October 1969
Convention between the Republic of France and the Socialist Republic of Romania on Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, signed in Paris on 5 November 1974
Convention on Legal Assistance and Cooperation between the Republic of France and the Republic of Austria supplementary to the Hague Convention of 1 March 1954 on civil procedure, signed in Vienna on 27 February 1979
Convention on Legal Assistance in Civil and Family Matters, on the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments between the Republic of France and the People’s Republic of Hungary, signed in Budapest on 31 July 1980
Convention between the Government of the Republic of France and Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic on Legal Assistance and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil, Family and Commercial Matters, signed on 10 May 1984
Convention on Legal Assistance in Civil Matters between the Government of the Republic of France and the Government of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, signed in Sofia on 18 January 1989
Article 33(2) – Notification on the early use of the decentralised IT-system
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