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The court that is to decide in an opening judgement within the bankruptcy proceedings (“procédure collective”) of judicial liquidation ascertains that the conditions to open the procedure are fulfilled. That is to say that the debtor is a trader (natural person or corporate body), a craftsman or a private corporate body and is in a state of cessation of payments (id est he/she cannot pay his/her debts with the available assets. 

The court observes that the y has ceased or that the company’s recovery is impossible. If judicial liquidation y is decided during the observation period, the court observes that the company cannot introduce a recovery plan.

Judicial liquidation is immediately followed by the company’s dissolution. The legal entity will only exist for the needs of the liquidation until the closure accounts are published

  • Purposes:

The purpose of the court deciding judicial liquidation is not the company’s safeguard but the realisation of assets and the distribution of the remaining sums between the creditors. The court appoints the different bodies of the proceedings, requiring a particular organization and the intervention of several persons with specific functions and attributions.

The supervisory judge (“juge-commissaire”) and a judicial agent (“mandataire de justice”) are appointed as well as the creditors’ representative who is also the liquidator, representing the collective interest of the creditors and carrying out the distribution of the remaining sums among the creditors.

  •   Consequences:

As from the jugment deciding the judicial liquidation:

  • The company must immediately cease any y, unless a special authorization is delivered by the court for a maximum duration of two months, renewable once, in the interest or the creditors (to preserve stocks business assets). If the liquidation occurs during the observation period, the administrator remains in his/her functions until the end of the temporary continuation of the y.
  • The debtors has no more right to manage or sell his/her goods until the judicial liquidation is not closed by a court’s ruling. Only the liquidation agent (“mandataire liquidateur”, see thereafter) may do so.
  • All debts held by the creditors on the company are immediately due for payment, even if they have not reached their term yet.
  • The company’s goods are sold to pay back in whole or in part, as far as it is possible, the creditors.

The persons taking part in the procedure may be classified in three categories: judicial authorities, professional and non-professional lawyers and other legal personnel (“auxiliaires de justice”).


Judicial authorities 

  • Commercial court:

The recovery procedure is a judicial procedure under the supervision of the Commercial court. The court carries out the general direction of the procedure by exercising:


1- Its jurisdictional power, by delivering judicial decision.
The court makes all the important decisions in the recovery procedure. If applicable, the court can act as a supervisory judge in case of default or a lack of attendance.


2- A control over all the bodies in the procedure.
The court appoints, changes, modifies the mission or put an end to the functions of each body in the procedure (except for the public prosecutor – “le Procureur de la République”).

The court has a general jurisdiction over all disputes pursuant the judicial recovery. For the procedure to remains homogeneous, the Commercial court may deal with disputes that are not normally of its jurisdiction. However, the jurisdiction of other bodies must not be an exclusive attribution or constitute a public order statement that cannot be departed from. 

  • The supervisory judge (“juge commissaire”):

The supervisory judge’s mission is to make sure that the bankruptcy proceedings go smoothly and quickly and to protect the parties’ interest: id est. the interest of the employees, of the creditors as well as of the debtors.


1- The supervisory judge is part of the legal personnel (« auxiliaires de justice »).
The supervisory judge is a court’s member and must have been in office since at least two years. Thus, he/she is a privileged member of the court. He/she may request the court for a ruling on a modification of the bodies in the procedure.

The supervisory judge makes reports to the court before it rules. These reports often are a condition of the procedure’s validity and can be made orally or by written form.


2- The supervisory judge has a power of supervision
The supervisory judge has a jurisdictional power and issues orders. He/she gives authorizations concerning the different operations in the procedure, such as the pursuance of the contracts that were concluded before or after the ruling deciding the judicial recovery. He/she directly appoints the procedure’s controllers among the different creditors making an application.


If there is a dispute, he/she asks the court clerk to summon the debtor at the hearing, together with the liquidation agent, before (potentially) authorizing the sale.


He/she appoints directly the controllers of the proceedings among the creditors that apply to him/her.


He/she rules on the admission of the debts and on the creditors’ claims.

3- The supervisory judge has a general power of information
The different bodies in the procedure, in particular the judicial agents, have to draft reports concerning the development of the proceedings. He/she may ask any information to the economic and financial social partners of the company (who cannot raise professional secrecy).


The supervisory judge is at the debtor’s disposal. At any time in the proceedings, if the manager(s) is/are facing problems that fit in the supervisory judge’s missions and that cannot be settled by one of the judicial agents, he/she/they may contact their supervisory judge by a simple letter to the: tribunal de commerce de Paris, 1 Quai de la Corse 75198 Paris cedex 04.


  • The public prosecutor (« le ministère public »):

The public prosecutor is a magistrate appointed as prosecutor. He/she has a mission of protection of the economic public order at the Commercial court and he/she makes sure that economic relations take place under the strict application of judicial proceedings. The public prosecutor makes sure that the law is enforced.


To accomplish his/her mission, the public prosecutor is summoned at the court’s hearings and may make requisitions, which are oral or written observations.


The public prosecutor has a managing power over the judicial recovery: he/she can apply to the court to make a ruling in order to extend the observation period or to decide a cessation of the debtor’s operations (“cessation d’é”).


The public prosecutor has a general power of information. He/she is informed of all the decisions and may ask to be given any act or document related to the procedure. He/she is regularly informed of the progress of the procedure.


He/she has several means to appeal the court’s decisions or the supervisory judge’s decisions.  

  • The court clerk (« le greffier »):

The court clerk is a legal officer appointed by the public authorities and with the power to certify documents.

He/she registers the documents attesting the seizure of the court and issues summons to the hearings addressed to the parties, to the judicial agents and any person intervening in the procedure.


The court clerk assists the court during the hearing and carries out the secretarial work.


He/she certifies the court’s decisions and files them. Then he/she may issues some copies of them.


He/she publishes the decisions in the Trade and Companies Register (“RCS” or “Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés”) or in the Trade Directory (“Registre des metiers”) as well as in the judicial newspapers entitled to publish legal notices and in the BODACC (Official Bulletin of Civil and Commercial notices).


Before the hearing, the court clerk is at the disposal of the persons that will be heard. He/she can provide informations concerning the carrying out of the hearing. Talk to him/her in the courtroom before the hearing begins. Your presence will be taken into account and when your case will be called, you will be authorized to claim your requests.


Professional legal personnel (« auxiliaires professionnels »)


  • The creditors’ representative:

The creditors’ representative is a professional specialized in bankruptcy proceedings. His/her profession is regulated and is part of a regional professional list.


1- The creditors’ representative mission is to protect the collective interest of the creditors.
To that end, the debtor must give the representative a complete and certified list of the creditors (with their names and addresses), as well as the amount of the debts, within eight days pursuant the opening of the recovery procedure.


The representative may bring an action on behalf of all the creditors collectively (and not on behalf of one creditor individually).


2- The creditors’ representative mission is to take part in checking up the debts in order to settle the debts permanently.
All the creditors (unless there is a particular measure) have a general right to submit the declaration of their debts to the creditors’ representative, under penalty of losing their right. The representative will then check up the debts with the debtor’s help and the possible assistance of the employees’ representative, and one or more controller(s) appointed among the creditors by a supervisory judge’s order. The creditors’ representative then submits these declarations to the supervisory judge with his/her propositions of admission or rejection of the declared debts.


3- The creditors’ representative mission is to consult the creditors concerning the propositions of payment and remission of the debts.


The creditors’ representative drafts a statement with all the creditors’ answers. The statement is submitted to the administrator who draws up a report for the court. The representative is summoned to the hearings to be heard as a professional protagonist in the procedure.


You have to contact your creditors’ representative soon to prevent any delay in the checking of debts.

In any case, your interest is to take an active part in the liquidation procedure because of your knowledge concerning your capital, your creditors’ chattels real (“droits réels”)… 

1.    The creditors’ representative carries out the realisation of the assets
He/she sells the company’s goods constituting the capital. The sale’s reserve price, main conditions and publicity requirements are established by the supervisory judge (“juge commissaire”). The sales can be:

1.    Public auctions, at the civil trial court of general jurisdiction (“le TGI”)

2.    Amicable auctions at the “Chambre des Notaires” (Notaries’ administration)

3.    Tendering by private contract. That will be possible with the real assets only if the goods’ consistency, their location or the applications that were made enables an amicable takeover in the best conditions.

An application for a takeover must be made by a third party. Neither the debtor, nor his/her relatives (parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers…) can apply directly or indirectly to take over the company, under penalty of imprisonment and fines, the nullity of the acquisition and the payments of damages.

2.    The creditors’ representative distributes the sales’ profits according to the order as defined by law.

o    He/she establishes a report to assess whether or not the debtor made mistakes in the company administration’s management, giving a right to ask the court to rule on a possible sanction, among: personal bankruptcy (“faillite personnelle”), an interdiction to manage, the obligation to pay the debts in whole or in part, personal judicial recovery.

He/she asks the supervisory judge’s and the public prosecutor’s opinion. The creditors’ representative as well as the public prosecutor may seize the court. If the opinions given lean towards a sanction, the court clerk summons the debtor at the hearing together with the creditors’ representative.

In the best-case scenario, the closure of your liquidation will be achieved through the extinction of debts, if there is no more payable debts or if your liquidator is able to pay off the creditors.


Otherwise, the closure will be achieved through a lack of assets. In principle, the creditors won’t be able to sue individually the company or its managers allowing exceptions (such as: tax evasion, concealment of assets, personal or penal sanction towards them…)

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