How to seize the assets of a debtor in France

A foreign creditor may seize its debtor’s assets if certain conditions are met.

If the creditor has a foreign judgment ordering the debtor to pay

In order to enforce it, the debtor will have to recognize the judgment in France with the help of a French attorney. You can visit this page to know more about the recognition and enforcement procedure and this page to check the documents you will need.

If the creditor does not have a foreign judgment against the debtor

The first step must be to obtain a judgement or any kind of court order against the debtor. The judgment can be obtained directly in France. You can visit this page to learn more about how to obtain a judgment against a debtor located in France.


If the Judgment is recognized or if the creditor has a French judgment, it will be possible to proceed with its enforcement. The French attorney will serve the judgment to the debtor with the help of a Huissier de justice (public servant). Whether the debtor accepts to receive the judgment or not is of little consequence.

Once the judgment has been served, the French attorney will request the Huissier to seize the debtor’s assets. It some cases, it will be wise to investigate the debtor to assess its financial situation and to ensure that it has assets in France (real estate, bank accounts, cars, etc). The attorney will ask the Huissier to garnish the debtor’s wages or bank account and have those funds turned over to the creditor to satisfy the judgment. It is also possible to auction the assets of the debtor.

The creditor will have to bear the costs of the attorney and the Huissier. Pursuant to article 700 of the French code of civil procedure, the creditor may recover those costs from the debtor. Not all courts accept to reimburse all the costs.

The creditor will also have to pay part of the Huissier’s costs. Most of the time, the costs are around 200€ to serve the judgment and deliver a payment order along with it. The creditor will also be able to recover these costs.

Finally, the creditor will have to bear the Huissier’s costs to seize the debtor’s assets. These expenses are not recoverable and will vary depending on the assets to be seized. These are statutory costs, the Huissier cannot modify them. The costs are as follows:

  • 12 % up to 125 euros ;
  • 11 % above 125 euros and up to 610 euros ;
  • 10,5 % above 610 euros and up to 1 525 euros ;
  • 4 % above 1 525 euros.

I have had extensive experience with debt recovery matters. I can optimize your chances of success whether you have a foreign judgment or need to obtain a French court order. If you need advice or assistance you can use the Contact form at the bottom of the home page.