France- Adoption bill for growth, activity and equal economic chances by the National Assembly

The French National Assembly finally adopted the bill “for growth, activity and equal economic opportunity” last July 10, 2015.This adoption puts an end to the parliamentary process which began 1 year ago with Mr. Montebourg press conference during which he said he wanted to reform the law of the regulated professions.

One could fear at the time the implementation of a reform which would have strongly affected the French bailiffs. For the record, the first options considered were :

  • A National competence for all activities of French bailiffs
  • The end of the service of documents for French bailiffs, performed by a single operator
  • Total freedom of installation
  • Authoritarian and significant decrease of the tariffs, without prior consultation
  • The total financialisation of capital offices
  • The removal of the right of presentation

Since then, the hard work of persuasion and pedagogy done by the National Chamber with the Government and Parliament has helped to completely dismiss these specific threats. The choice was made to accompany the reform by responsible proposals while preserving the basic principles of the profession on which it was not about to negotiate.

Unlike other professions concerned by this text, this resolute and constructive engagement has resulted in substantial progress for the benefit of French bailiffs. They should in particular take advantage of new fields of competency – small business liquidations and the simplified recovery of small claims – which is not always the case for the other reformed professions. The creation of a new profession the “Commissioners of Justice” (including bailiffs, judiciary auctioneers) has also been endorsed by the Parliament, thus allowing opening new fields of expertise and consolidating the territorial network for the future. Furthermore, if the extension of the territorial jurisdiction has been adopted despite the efforts of the National Chamber, its entry into force has been pushed back on 1 January 2017.

This vote does not definitively close on the bill. In accordance with Article 61 of the Constitution which limits the right of referral, the parliamentary opposition has already applied to the Constitutional Council, in particular on some of the cross-cutting provisions on regulated professions: price, installation conditions or age limit.

At this stage, no definitive conclusion can be made on this decision, that should be taken within one month from the official referral. The law could then be enacted.

The principles enshrined in the law will have to be implemented through multiple orders and decrees provided by the text. This phase will be as important as the one that is completed. The National Chamber will make every effort to ensure that these texts are consistent with the spirit of the law and the interests of the profession and litigants.

The full text of the adopted law is available (in French) on the following link: http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/ta-pdf/2934-1-art_49-3.pdf

 

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