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Small claims - France

1 Existence of a specific small claims procedure

In France, there is a simplified procedure for small claims before the district court (tribunal d’instance) and the local court (juridiction de proximité) known as a declaration at the registry and governed by the provisions contained in Articles 843 and 844 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The procedure is initiated by an oral or written statement made or addressed to the registry of the competent court. The registry summons the parties to the hearing by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. At the hearing, the judge will try to reconcile the parties and may, with their agreement, appoint a legal conciliator. If conciliation cannot be reached, the procedure continues. Legal representation is not compulsory. The parties may be represented by their spouse, cohabiting partner, the person with whom they entered into a civil solidarity pact, their parents, direct or collateral relatives or the persons they employ.

1.1 Scope of procedure, threshold

The claim must not exceed EUR 4 000 and fall within the jurisdiction of the district court or local court concerned.

1.2 Application of procedure

The declaration at the registry procedure is optional.

The declaration at the registry procedure cannot be transformed into ordinary proceedings.

1.3 Forms

The form is not mandatory, since the statement at the registry may be made orally. However, there is a form for referral to the court. The CERFA No. 10-0099 form is available on the website of the French civil service and in all the registries of district courts.

1.4 Assistance

Since this is a simple procedure involving amounts not exceeding EUR 4 000 and the parties are heard by the judge, no aid is provided for by the law.

1.5 Rules concerning the taking of evidence

The rules of evidence are similar to those under the ordinary procedure.

1.6 Written procedure

There is no purely written procedure in the context of such simplified proceedings.

1.7 Content of judgment

The rules applicable to the judgment are the same as those under the ordinary procedure.

1.8 Reimbursement of costs

The applicable rules are the same as for other procedures. However, as this procedure does not require the appointment of a lawyer or legal representation, the related costs are reduced.

1.9 Possibility to appeal

In view of the amounts concerned by such claims, there is no possibility of appeal. The judgment can only be set aside or referred for cassation.

Associated links

Link opens in new windowWebsite of the Ministry of Justice (Ministère de la Justice)

Link opens in new windowLegifrance website


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Last update: 06/02/2017