Statements and opinions expressed in articles, reviews and other materials herein are those of the authors; the editors and publishers.
While every care has been taken in the compilation of this information and every attempt made to present up-to-date and accurate information, I/we cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. Graham H Dooley or Anglo French research Ltd will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.
The information contained herein is provided for general information only and may not be accurate at the time of service in a particular case or country. Questions involving specific services should be directed to our office. Care should be exercised in choosing the method of service (formal/informal) if eventual enforcement of a judgment is anticipated in the country where the documents are to be served. No legal advice is intended in the statements contained herein. Assignments for international service of process are accepted on the basis that the assigning law firm has researched all applicable laws. Anglo French Research Ltd and its agents assume no liability for its actions in the course of any phase of the service of process assignment.
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Unless there is a specific request from the UK court that documents are to be served according to UK or Eire rules the following guide lines should be noted. I or my company will act as an intermediary between the client and the huissier. We will only serve documents if a translation of the documents is enclosed or requested, regardless of the nationality of the respondent. We can provide Court Translators for this service.
About Serving Process in France
Service of process in France is quite straightforward. The French Central Authority is functional, but not necessarily the most efficient avenue. Generally speaking, direct service via huissier de justice (court bailiff) is preferable.
Huissiers each cover a specific jurisdictional area, so great care must be taken in selecting the proper bailiff. As with any type of bureaucrat, some are highly motivated while others are not. Our relationships within the huissiers’ network allows us to select the most capable officers for assistance.
France requires an official translation into French of all documents to be formally served (that is, served by compulsion) pursuant to Article 5.1 or Article 10(b). Translation is not mandatory for service under Article 5.2 (voluntary service) or Article 10(a) (mail service); however, note that voluntary service is rarely successful and mail service is not recommended.
Even beyond France’s legal requirements, two issues make translation necessary in all but the rarest of cases: (1) Recipients have the right under French rules of civil procedure and under EU law to refuse any service not presented with a French translation (regardless of their understanding of the original language); and (2) the language of the documents must reasonably be understood by the defendant in order to fulfil certain countries Due Process requirements (in particular, for documents served upon a recipient who speaks neither English nor French, translation into a third language may be necessary).
Service through alternative channels
France does not object to service by postal channel and we can provide this service through our French office. The delivery is recorded by the "Facteur" ( Post person ) and notes are made as to whether or not delivery was accepted.
France likewise does not object to service by judicial officer. The judicial officer is the bailiff (huissier de justice) of the court of first instance in whose jurisdiction the defendant is domiciled.
Caveat: “Judicial officer,” “official” or “competent person” are terms defined under the laws of the destination state, not under the laws of the requesting state. In France, private process service is unknown, and only huissiers are empowered to serve process pursuant to Article 10. French attorneys, detectives, and private individuals are not so empowered, so service effected by such persons is may be deemed improper. Article 10(c) service is thus inoperative, despite the lack of France’s objection thereto.
Note that direct service through a huissier should not taint later enforcement of a judgment in France, although such enforcement is never guaranteed.