How to recognize & enforce a judgment in France

You need to recognize and enforce a foreign judgment in France? Here is how you must proceed.

  • Contact a French attorney

The recognition and enforcement process, called exequatur, will have to be carried out by a French attorney. A lawyer won’t be enough since the proceedings will take place before the Tribunal de Grande Instance where the recourse to an attorney is mandatory.

  • Gather all the documents related to the judgment

French courts will not render a new judgment, they will only verify that the foreign judgment complies with a number of conditions. Those conditions are provided by international treaties and French law.

You will have to provide the Courts with the following documents:

  • An original copy of the judgment,
  • A certified translation of the judgment if it is not in French,
  • Proof that the judgment has been validly served to the other party (some international treaties provide the rules under which a judgment may be served in another country),
  • The enforcement certificate for recognitions between European countries,
  • A certificate of no-appeal (certificate stating that the judgment is now final),
  • Drafting of the exequatur subpoena

The attorney will then draft a summons and serve it to the other party with the help of a Huissier de justice (a public servant). The Court will then set a hearing date during which the parties will present their case. Since the French judge does not render a new judgment, the case will only revolve around how the foreign judgment was rendered. For instance, if the parties had the chance to defend themselves, if there was fraudulent forum shopping, if the foreign judgment complies with French procedural and substantial policies, etc.

If all goes well, the parties will receive an exequatur judgment. This judgment merely states that the foreign decision is enforceable on French territory. The attorney, with the help of a Huissier, will serve it to the other party. Starting from that point, it will be possible to enforce the foreign judgment and eventually, seize the assets of the other party.

As a French-American attorney, I am well versed in these kind of procedures. I can assist you and optimize your chances of success. If you need advice on your case, you can contact me by phone or use the Contact form at the bottom of the home page.