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Commercial litigation: conduct of a case before the commercial court

Verified 01 janvier 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Proceedings before civil, social and commercial courts

From 20 November 2020, civil, social and commercial courts may amend the rules of procedure applicable to the cases they are handling, in order to continue their activities during the state of health emergency. Changes may include:

  • Access by the public and lawyers to courts and courtrooms
  • Information by any means of parties who are assisted by a lawyer or who have agreed to receive communications by electronic means
  • Transfer of a case to another court of the same jurisdiction
  • Use of the single judge procedure
  • Conduct of the hearing or hearing by audiovisual means of telecommunication
  • Use of the procedure without hearing

These possibilities for amending the rules of procedure are provided for in Order No. 2020-1400 of 18 November 2020 and decree n°2020-1405 of 18 november 2020 .. They will cease one month after the end of the state of health emergency, on 16 March 2021.

The commercial court judges disputes between traders or between individuals and those concerning acts of trade. The commercial court may be seised by subpoena and joint application. The parties must have a lawyer unless otherwise provided. In the departments of Alsace-Moselle (Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Moselle), the commercial chamber of the court is competent.

General case

The Commercial Court is responsible for judging disputes between traders or between private individuals and traders. It also judges all disputes relating to trade documents (e.g. bill of exchange).

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General case

Unless otherwise provided, the parties shall be exempt from legal representation where the application concerns an amount not exceeding € 10,000.

Companies in difficulty

The parties shall be exempt from legal representation where the application relates to an amount not exceeding € 10,000 in the context of the proceedings for safeguarding, reorganization and liquidation of the court.

Parties may present themselves in person or be represented by any person of their choice. That representative must have a special power.

CBI litigation

The parties are exempt from legal counsel for disputes relating to the maintenance of the Register of Trade and Companies (RCS)

Parties may present themselves in person or be represented by any person of their choice. That representative must have a special power.

Gage

The parties shall be exempt from legal representation in matters of pledge of stocks and pledge without dispossession.

Parties may present themselves in person or be represented by any person of their choice. That representative must have a special power.

The method of referral to the commercial court depends on whether you want to reach an amicable agreement with your opponent.

If the parties agree on the solution of the dispute they have found and ask the judge to validate it, they may initiate a mutual agreement procedure..

If the parties agree to go before the judge to settle the dispute, they shall joint request.

If the parties do not agree on the solution of the dispute or if only one of them wants to go before the judge, the procedure is done by assignment in court.

Agreement

If you wish to negotiate, you must, together with your opponent, bring the matter before the court.

This is a joint motion in which your dispute is exposed.

The competent court is the court of your home or that of your opponent. If the dispute concerns a contract, the competent court is also the court of the place of performance of the contract (for example, the place of delivery).

Who shall I contact

Assignment

If the negotiation is not possible, the commercial court must be seised by filing a assignment to transplant..

The competent court is your opponent's. If the dispute concerns a contract, you have the choice between the court of your opponent or the court of the place of performance of the contract (for example, the place of delivery).

Who shall I contact

Where legal representation is compulsory, the summons shall be drawn up by the lawyer.

In other proceedings without representation, the subpoena is written by the applicant himself.

In order to be admissible, it must contain:

  • Identification of parties: name, contact details, legal form (SA, SARL ...), head office and body that legally represents it (CEO, Director...)
  • Court concerned
  • Subject of the application with a statement of arguments
  • Indication of the defendant's appearance
  • Enumeration of the documents on which the application is based accompanied by a statement
  • Name, first name, domicile, and signature of the judicial officer
  • Day and time of the hearing to which the case will be called, information you will obtain from the Registry of the Commercial Court

The filing of the summons is done by a judicial officer. He will indicate in the summons the date and time of the hearing. These dates are usually indicated on the website of the commercial court concerned. The summons must be issued to the opposing party at least 15 days before the hearing date. The commercial court shall be validly seised when a copy of the summons is delivered to the Registry at the latest 8 days before the date of the hearing. After this period, the assignment is no longer valid.

Judicial officers

  Warning : The rules of procedure must be observed in order for the commercial court to be properly seised. The case may not be tried if the court has not been properly seised.

Joint Query

Joint motion is possible when the parties agree to have their dispute tried before the commercial court.

The parties must file a joint motion setting out the dispute and their respective arguments.

Who shall I contact

A judge is appointed in the court to hear the case and prepare the hearing. It organizes exchanges between the parties to the dispute and between the parties and the court. The judge investigating the case shall, where appropriate, establish the existence of a compromise between the parties and may even appoint a judicial conciliator to facilitate such a solution. In the absence of conciliation between the parties, the case is remitted to a hearing to be tried once the investigation is concluded.

At trial, lawyers represent the parties.

If your case is without a required lawyer, the parties may appear in person or designate any person of their choice. The representative must appear at the hearing with a special written authority that confers this status on him.

The cost of the proceedings varies depending on the method of referral to the court and the type of dispute. You can find out more on the website of the court concerned.

For a dispute whose value does not exceed €5,000, the only remedy available is the appeal in cassation, which must be brought before the Court of Cassation..

For litigation whose value exceeds €5,000, you can appeal against the decision of the commercial court.

Alsace-Moselle

There is no commercial court in Alsace-Moselle (Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Moselle). This is the commercial room of the court (Colmar, Mulhouse, Strasbourg, Sarreguemines, Metz, Thionville and Saverne) who exercises the jurisdiction of the Commercial Court in these three departments.

The Chamber of Commerce is responsible for judging disputes between traders or relating to trade documents, disputes between partners and collective proceedings (safeguard, reorganization and judicial liquidation).

The parties must take a lawyer, unless otherwise provided (for example, where the application relates to an amount less than or equal to € 10,000 or the bankruptcy).

If the lawyer is not required, the parties may present themselves or be represented by a third party designated by them.

The Chamber of Commerce may be seised by filing a subpoena at the Registry or by joint application.

The filing of the summons is done by judicial officer. In the subpoena, he will indicate the date and time of the hearing.

The trial is between the parties, the plaintiff (the person who initiates the proceedings) and the defendant (the person who is attacked).

The competent court shall be that of the defendant's domicile. If the dispute concerns a contract, the competent court may choose the court of the defendant's domicile or the court of enforcement (for example: place of delivery).

The procedure is free.

Other fees may be added: lawyer, bailiff .....

If your resources are insufficient, you can benefit from legal aid to cover all or part of these costs.