France - Attachment of Assets
Paul de Drée
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Paul de Drée, Avocat à la Courde DRÉE Avocats
Originally from Attachment of Assets
The attachment of assets in France is chiefly contained in the code of civil procedure of execution (hereafter the “CPCE”), which came into force on June 1st, 2012. The CPCE has codified most of the various statutes in this field including in particular Statute n° 91-650 of July 9, 1991, “reforming the civil procedures of execution” (hereafter the “1991 Statute”) and its implementing Decree n° 92-755 of July 31, 1992, “establishing new rules relating to the civil procedures of execution giving effect to Statute n° 91-650 of July 9, 1991, reforming the civil procedures of execution.”
The following questionnaire will mainly address provisional attachments pending the obtainment of an “enforceable title” (“titre exécutoire”), (hereafter “conservatory measures”, i.e., “mesures conservatoires”), bearing in mind that the discussion below focuses on the general conditions applicable to such conservatory measures.
1. What is the general nature and effect of judicial measures available for plaintiffs to obtain provisional relief affecting property of debtors to obtain security for judgments to be obtained (“attachments”)? Freezing property in place? Placing it in the custody of a third party, such as a court official, sheriff or marshall?
Under French law, assets may be attached on an interim basis for the purpose of securing the safety of the creditor’s endangered rights. There are two kinds of attachments, i.e., conservatory measures: conservatory seizures (“saisies conservatoires”) and judicial securities (“sûretés judiciaires”), which differ in nature (1) and effects (2).
(1) General nature of the attachments
(1.1) Conservatory seizures may be used against movable assets, whether material, e.g., a television set, or immaterial, e.g., patents, monies on a bank account and claims of the debtor against third parties, even where such assets are entrusted to a third party and even where they are subject to prior conservatory seizures (Articles L. 112-1, L. 521-1 and R. 521-1 of the CPCE).