Debt collection in France
A company or an individual who has a debt against a debtor located in France may use several possibilities of debt collection, in order to recover it.
If you have a debt against a debtor located in France, like an unpaid invoice, there are steps where the assistance of a French lawyer (“avocat”) will be optional, and stages where you shall, under French law, have recourse to the services of a French lawyer.
Case n° 1: you already have a judgment or an arbitral award in your country against your debtor
If you have a judgment or an arbitral award obtained in your country which condemns your debtor to pay your debt, you will necessarily have to use the services of a French lawyer in order to enforce this foreign judgment in France.
Indeed, the enforcement of the foreign judgments and arbitral awards in France is subjected to a procedure named “exequatur”, which shall be introduced by a civil procedure before a French court named “tribunal de grande instance”, generally in Paris.
For this procedure of exequatur, as for any procedure before a “tribunal de grande instance”, the representation by a French lawyer is obligatory.
When you will have a judgment of exequatur granted by the “tribunal de grande instance”, you will have the right to enforce your foreign judgment against your debtor in order to proceed to the debt collection in France.
Indeed, with the exequatur, your foreign judgment will have the same authority that a French judgment.
Case n° 2: you do not have a judgment against your debtor
In this case, the debt collection in France can be made by introducing a procedure against your debtor before a French court, in order to have a French judgment which condemns him to pay you the debt.
This action can be brought before the “tribunal de commerce”, the “tribunal d’instance”, or the “tribunal de grande instance”, depending on the type of person your debtor is (company or individual) and the amount of the debt.
A procedure of urgency named “référé” is generally used. In this procedure, if the judge decides that the debt is certain and that there is not a serious contestation from the debtor about it, he will quickly condemn the debtor to pay the debt to the creditor. This procedure of “référé” is very efficient in order to proceed to a debt collection in France.
The advantages of the recourse to a French lawyer for a debt collection in France
Basically, if you have a direct recourse to the services of a French lawyer in order to proceed to your debt collection in France, you will have a direct and personal link with the qualified professional who can deal with all its aspects and who, in a way or another, will soon or late have to represent you in this debt collection.
The French lawyer can assist, advice and represent you in all the steps of the debt collection in France: the reminder to amicably pay the debt (“mise en demeure”, which generally has a strong psychological effect when sent by a lawyer), the summons before French justice if the debtor refuses to pay, your representation before the French court in order to obtain a judgment and the enforcement in France of the judgment which has been obtained in your favor.
Another advantage to use directly the services of a French lawyer is that you pay only one percentage on the debt that will be collected, instead of two if you hire a debt collection agency, who soon or late will hire the French lawyer for you in a disputed claim.
The power of debt collection agencies are, actually, limited to the amicable request of payment. As soon as the amicable debt collection in France will be refused by the debtor, and considering the French law rule of the monopoly of French lawyers for the representation of a party before a French court, the lawyer will have to intervene for you.
The practice of Esq. David MOTTE-SURANITI’s law firm in the debt collection in France: exequatur, litigation, investigation and debt collection
Esq. David MOTTE-SURANITI’s law firm, situated in Paris, has the practice and experience of debt collection in France and international litigation implying the application of private international law rules. He is fluently English-speaking and working.
The firm proceeds to the exequatur of foreign judgments and arbitral awards and represent its clients before the French courts in the all French territory in order to obtain a French judgment against the debtor and to collect the debt.
The finality of an exequatur or a French judgment is that you can enforce it against your debtor. In this aim, also, the firm has experience in the investigations about the debtor, so that you will have information about all the assets he owns in France: real estate, properties, bank accounts, movables, debt due to him by another debtor.
With this information, seizures can be performed on the assets owned by the debtor, so that the debt can be collected for you.