E-note 2 – Enforcement process

Enforcement process


Enforceable titles and decisions

A set of conditions must be fulfilled in order to issue an enforceable title/decision. French law contains three categories of civil obligations:

  • Obligation to pay;
  • Obligation to do something or refrain from doing something;
  • Obligation to return.

Court rulings that are not subject to an appeal are enforceable as such. The appeal, however, suspends the enforcement process except where the first degree judgment grants a provisional enforcement to the creditor.

The following enforcement titles/decisions can be subject to compulsory enforcement measures:

  • Decisions by competent national courts ;
  • Foreign decisions declared enforceable by ruling ;
  • Extracts from official conciliation reports signed by the judge and parties ;
  • Notarial acts that contain a clause granting authority to enforce ;
  • Titles issued by a bailiff in case of non-payment of a cheque ;
  • Titles issued by corporate persons established under public law ;
  • Decisions which are granted, by the law, the same effects as judgments.

Furthermore, enforceable titles concern the debtor’s assets.

To become enforceable in France, a judgment must be notified to the debtor (to the unsuccessful party) so that he can be fully aware of the extent of his obligations. In practice, the debtor is notified by way of service.

Limitation periods

In order to ensure legal certainty, time limitation periods have been introduced.

The law provides a period of ten years for the enforcement of a judgment following the moment it becomes enforceable.

Moreover, a debt action cannot be brought after the expiration of a four years period following the date of the assessment notice.