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The court delivers a judgment (“jugement d’ouverture”) of the opening of bankruptcy proceedings (“procédure collective”) of judicial recovery (“redressement judiciaire”). The Judge states that all the conditions to open such a procedure are fulfilled.

Id est that the debtor is a trader (natural person or corporate body), a craftsman or a private corporate body, and that he/she is in state of insolvency (state of cessation of payments). That is to say that he/she is not able pay its debts.

However, a company with difficulties can be saved and if so, can draft a recovery plan either by continuing the y or transferring all or a part of the company to a third party, to enable the company to pay its debts.


The court opens an observation period during which the company’s y is carried on under the assistance and the supervision of the different bodies of the procedure. The goal is to control the evolution of the economic, financial and social situation of the company. The recovery proceedings’ purpose is to diagnose the situation and propose a recovery plan to safeguard the company, maintain its y and all the jobs, and carry out the debts’ auditing (“apurement du passif”).

The court appoints different bodies, requiring a particular organization and the intervention of several persons with specific functions and attributions.

The supervisory judge (“juge-commissaire”) is appointed, as well as two agents:

A judicial administrator that will participate to the company’s management
A creditors’ representative representing the collective interest of the creditors.

The intervening persons can 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, replaces, 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 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. 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 Commercial court of Paris puts a particular procedure into place: a civic-minded meeting (“un rendez-vous citoyen”). The administrator has to make a report to the supervisory judge concerning the company’s situation within two months pursuant the opening of the procedure. For this purpose, at the court clerk’s request, the debtors, the employees’ representative (if one has been appointed), the judicial agents, the debtor and controllers if applicable are summoned to a civic-minded meeting. The goal is to establish a first-step check up of the bankruptcy proceedings, of its calendar and its prospects of evolution.


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. 




Professional legal personnel (« auxiliaires professionnels »)

Judicial administrator:

The judicial administrator is specialised in bankruptcy proceedings. His/her profession is regulated: the judicial administrator is part of a national professional list. 


1- The judicial administrator takes part in the company’s management according to the mission the court gave him/her. In simplified proceedings, the administrator’s appointment is not compulsory. The judge deciding the opening of judicial recovery proceedings appoints an administrator and gives him/her one of the following missions for an observation period.

1.    Controlling, this mission does not exist in a simplified procedure. In that event, the debtor’s powers are not narrowed but the administrator controls the debtor’s acts.

2.    Assisting, this is the most common mission. In that event, the administrator participates to the company’s management together with the debtor. In practical terms, his/her authorization and signature are necessary. However, the court may limit his/her competence.

3.    Representing, this mission is said to be a total mission. In that event, the administrator may manage the company on this own, on behalf of the manager. He/she represents the company. The debtor may however exercise the rights and claims that are his/her own. The observation period (starting from the opening judgement of the bankruptcy proceedings and ending on the day of the judgement deciding a recovery plan or the judicial liquidation) may last from at most 8 months in a simplified procedure to at most 20 months in a normal procedure. A distinction is made in the normal procedure between a company with more than 50 employees and a company with a turnover (without tax) superior to 3.100.000 euro. Below these figures, the companies will be under the simplified procedure. However, the court may depart from this rule when the application of the normal procedure leads to a extension of the observation period in order to make better propositions concerning the company’s recovery and payment of debts.


2- The judicial administrator assesses the company’s chances of recovery
The administrator, together with the debtor, must draw up the economic and social balance sheet of the company – assess its strengths and the reasons of its difficulties and, if it is possible, must consider its recovery by submitting a recovery plan to the court, before the end of the observation period.

If applicable, the judicial administrator draws up a recovery plan, based on a report addressed to the court.  

By drawing up propositions of payment and remissions of debts, to introduce a recovery plan through the pursuance of the company’s y, including the settlement of debts.

By receiving the applicants’ offers to take over the company, to introduce a recovery plan through a transfer.

The applicant must be 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.

The administrator also deals with the drafting of the documents that are required to carry out the transfer.

By receiving the applications for a takeover of the company’s assets, to introduce a transfer of production units, of certain ies or assets and the pursuance or liquidation of the remaining assets.

Or to introduce the transformation of the recovery procedure into a judicial liquidation. The administrator may, at any time during the observation period, draws up a report and seizes the court to decide the judicial liquidation, if the recovery appears to be impossible or if the debts born during the observation period remain unpaid.

The goal is to take an active part in the procedure. The sooner a diagnosis is made and recovery measures are carried out, the better the chances of success.


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.


If the debtor disagrees with the declaration of one of his/her creditor(s), objects to the debt in whole or in part, and if this objection remains after the notification of the objection by the creditors’ representative, the debtor will be summoned by the Registry (“le greffe”) to his/her supervisory judge’s hearing, in the presence of the creditor and of the creditors’ representative. The supervisory judge will settle the objection and issue an order to that end. This decision can be appealed before the Court of Appeal.

The supervisor of the plan’s performance:

Prior the adoption of the recovery plan, the court hears all the persons taking part in the procedure and the persons taking over the business, if applicable, and approves the plan.

The judgment determines the practical details of application of the plan and its duration. Moreover, he/she appoints the person who must carry out the plan and the supervisor of the plan’s performance, who makes sure that the plan is well carried out. In most instances, the administrator or the creditors’ representative is appointed to carry out this mission.


He/she bears witness of the good performance of the plan to the supervisory judge and to the prosecutor. In the absence of performance, he/she seizes the court to put an end to the plan and to open liquidation proceedings.

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 issue 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.



Non professional judicial personnel (« les auxiliaires de justice non professionnels »)


Appointing a controller guarantees the transparency of the procedure, by involving a non-professional protagonist in bankruptcy proceedings. The controller is a creditor appointed by the supervisory judge to assist him/her in his/her mission of supervising the company’s administration and to assist the creditors’ representative in his/her functions.


Even if the controller does not represent the creditors’ interest, he/she has some prerogatives:

1.    A general right of information over the documents submitted to the judicial agents.

2.    The possibility to seize the different bodies of the procedure:

o    The supervisory judge, to ask the court to rule on the modification or addition of a body.

o    The court, to decide the cessation of ies and the judicial liquidation.

o    The creditors’ representative to attend the checking of debts.

Employees’ representative:

The employees are partners of the company in difficulty. The future of the employment is linked with the future of the company. The employees’ contracts are maintained until a lay-off (“licenciement pour motif économique”) is made during the procedure and in any case, if there is a liquidation. That is the reason why an employees’ representative participates to the proceedings.


In the companies of certain dimension, some employees’ institutional representatives represent the employees: the staff’s delegates, works committee.

In small companies, the employees directly elect their representative.

The employees’ representative is elected by the works committee, the staff’s delegates or the employees to represent the employees’ interest.  The employees’ representative is consulted and summoned to the hearing to be heard and to give his/her opinion on the direction taken by the procedure.

He/she may take part in the checking of debts and may use legal remedies towards the most important decisions.


*Time period:


The company must, with the help of the administrator and within 10 days pursuant the opening judgement:

-          gather the works committee, or, failing that, the staff’s delegates, or failing that, your employees, to elect (by secret ballot), their representative in the bankruptcy procedure. Then, submit the receipt of the appointment to the Registry.

-          Or, failing an appointment, draft a statement of deficiency and submit it to the Registry of the court.


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Click here to access the Non-possessory Pledge Register (Le registre national des gages sans dépossession)