Pursuant to article 1424-1 ff. of the French Code of Civil Procedure (Code de Procédure Civile), the European order for payment procedure is a simplified European and consequently French court application procedure which can be selected by a claimant in cross-border contractual pecuniary claims as an alternative to traditional proceedings in order to enforce their claims in France.
It is a requirement that the claim is a contractual pecuniary claim under civil or commercial law (settlement and acknowledgment of a debt is also sufficient, however) and additionally that the claimant and the defendant – simply put – live in two different European countries. Actions under tax law, administrative law, family and inheritance law, insolvency law and labor and social law are excepted.
Should the debtor have their residence (or corporate headquarters) in France, the claimant must under procedural law, if they wish to operate a European order for payment in France, first fill out an application for a European order for payment using an existing form, which is provided by the French administration free of charge online at www.service-public.fr/professionnels-entreprises/vosdroits/R37275 and then send it by mail to the competent French court.
Should the French court come to the conclusion following a summary examination after it has received the application for an order for payment that the pecuniary claim exists, a European order for payment is issued within 30 days of receipt of the application. Documentary proof does not have to be provided by the claimant. The claimant then has to have this judicial order for payment served in accordance with the French regulations governing service (by means of a “huissier” (bailiff) in France).
Should the defendant not lodge a statement of opposition with the court that has issued the European order for payment within 30 days of receiving the judicial European order for payment (a statement of opposition form is sent with the order for payment), the order becomes enforceable. A French enforcement order is subsequently issued on the basis of the uncontested order for payment upon a new application by the claimant. If a statement of opposition is lodged, on the other hand, the order for payment proceedings are referred back to the French court competent for these proceedings.
The objective of the proceedings to begin with is to persuade the debtor to pay the claim. The European order for payment procedure ends up, however, within the French enforcement order should a statement of opposition not have been lodged by the defendant in due time.
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.