In principle, a foreign judgment can also be enforced in France. Enforceability is not automatic, however. The procedural “preliminary proceedings” in France, which have to be complied with so that the judgment can be enforced, depend primarily on the type of judgment involved (e.g. divorce decrees or actions for payment) and the country of the court that has passed the judgment.
Enforcement of a foreign judgment in France
In principle, exequatur proceedings must be conducted when a foreign judgment is enforced in France. As part of these exequatur proceedings, a French judge of the competent district court (TGI – court of first instance) examines whether the foreign judgment would be enforceable to begin with in the country of origin itself and additionally whether it contravenes mandatory French law and current understanding of the law (e.g. rights of defense, proportionality principle, etc.).
Enforcement of a European judgment in France
In accordance with article 509 ff. of the French Code of Civil Procedure (Code de Procédure Civile), simplified unilateral recognition proceedings have applied since January 2015 for European judgments (with the exception of Denmark), at least if legal payment claims should be involved (in divorce decrees, this depends on other circumstances). Exequatur proceedings are consequently not required for European judgments. A “constatation de la force exécutoire” (declaration of enforceability) is sufficient.
Enforcement of an uncontested European judgment in France
Should the claim additionally not even have been contested by the defendant in the country where it was originally asserted (a default judgment is already sufficient), a simple confirmation (certificat) from the judge in the country where the judgment was originally passed is even sufficient in court settlements (and notarized deeds) for this judgment to be enforceable in France. The judgment must of course be enforceable in the country of origin. The enforcement of this European judgment (European Enforcement Order) in France is then carried out by the competent bailiff (huissier). Divorce decrees, administrative law judgments, family and inheritance law judgments and judgments in insolvency proceedings, even if these have not been contested in the country of origin, are excepted from this, however.
This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice addressed to particular circumstances. You should not take or refrain from taking any legal action based upon the information contained herein without first seeking professional, individualized counsel based upon your own circumstances. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.
Information by ALARIS AVOCATS