Debt Collection France
France is an important commercial country ranking at #5 world economy. Along with trading partners Germany, Belgium, Italy, China, the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, the European market cannot be imagined without France.
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When the deadline for payment expires you can send a first, and, if needed, a second payment reminder. Each payment reminder must state the exact amount remaining to be paid, the applicable statutory interest, and the deadline for payment.
In order to deal with defaulters, the French government has reminded French companies and foreign trading partners of the implementation of the Modernization of the Economy Act (LOI n° 2008-776 du 4 août 2008 de modernisation de l’économie (LME). This act shortens payment terms and increases the default interest rate.
Should your French customer not pay, you can upload your claim to Collections in Europe. We will then recommend some course of action. This is often serving a summons on the debtor or preparing a case file. It will also take account of the case’s chances of success, litigation risk, and the costs and benefits for you as the creditor.
Various judicial procedures are available in France, including an order compelling payment procedure and an action on the merits.
A. Extrajudicial collections
In an extrajudicial action, one of Collections in Europe’ French lawyers sends a demand for payment to the debtor. When the debtor does not pay, two more demands are sent, along with a draft summons. Should this produce neither response nor payment, Collections in Europe will telephone the debtor.
B. Court-ordered collections
Order compelling payment (French or European)
If your claim is not disputed, an order compelling payment-procedure is quick and relatively inexpensive. This can produce the enforceable order.
Interim relief – “référé provision”
By bringing preliminary relief proceedings we can obtain rapid judgment where claims are not seriously disputed. This is an accelerated procedure for emergency cases. In a short period of time (1 to 3 months) the judge in preliminary relief proceedings will hear the parties and render judgment.
Action on the merits
Where the case is complex an action on the merits is considered. These proceedings are relatively length, which is why they are started immediately by one or more of our attorneys.
Attachment – “saisie conservatoire”
Attachments without a judgment against the debtor are possible in France. An action on the merits must be brought within one month after the attachment, which here is a referred to as a prejudgment seizure. After the judgment is rendered, the creditor can recover from the attached assets. These attachments will become void once the debtor is declared bankrupt. Such an attachment makes sense in practice in only a few cases.
Pledge – nantissement
In some cases we can ask your debtor for a pledge on its property in order to obtain a preferred debt in case of bankruptcy but also to be paid from the sale price should your debtor’s property be sold surreptitiously.
Petition for bankruptcy
In France involuntary bankruptcy proceedings are used as the ultimate enforcement measure and frequently leads to bankruptcy. A petition for bankruptcy is therefore only possible after obtaining an enforceable judgment and is not an efficient collections measure.
Would you like more information about collections or bringing legal action in France? Fill out the contact form or call us: +44 (0)20 3808 5878.
Click here to upload your claim to us.