1. Avocats (advocates)
      • The avocat has exclusive rights of audience in all courts of general jurisdiction:
        • Tribunaux de Grande Instance
        • Cours d'Assises
        • Cours d'Appel
        • Tribunaux Administratifs
        • Cours Administratives d'Appel
      • The avocat also has the exclusive right to represent a client in the pre-trial stage of a criminal case and may complete acts of procedure on his behalf.
      • Since 1992 (merger between the professions of avocat and conseils juridiques et fiscaux), the avocat has a monopoly of giving legal advice, though this new legal monopoly contains a long list of exceptions.
      • They are over 21,000 avocats (nearly half practises in Paris).
      • Entry into the profession requires a law degree and professional qualification.

    2. Notaires (notaries)
      • The notaire is a public officer appointed by the Garde des Sceaux, Minister of Justice. He has a monopoly on documents that must be authenticated by deed, i. e. wills, marriage, contracts, document dealing with transfer of real property, and conveyancing. Furtherthemore he is allowed to give advise in these fields, normally on a high and secure level. Although he is a public servant the notaire runs his office in his own economic responsibility as his enterprise. Since there are notaires spread over the whole country, they are considered as a good service of justice by the people. They act professional and show a unity and solidarity of the profession in the départments, regional and national.
      • He will typically assist those constructing properties:
        • in the purchase of land suitable for construction.
        • advise on the value of land
        • provide the appropriate legal form of tenancies
        • deal with mortgage arrangements
      • He also has some duties in the field of company law (as to declare the subscription of the capital of private companies).
      • There are 7,500 notaires.
      • Entry into the profession can be done by different routes and requires the completion of a professional examination process
      • Permanent education
      • Appointment and Conditions of Practice
      • Governing Bodies
      • Professional Activities
      • Multidisciplinary Activities
  1.    Huissiers (bailiffs)

    What are their basic functions?

     - to serve notice of something on somebody and to execute decisions rendered by courts and tribunals,

    - to obtain the repayment of debts,

    - to certify.

     The huissier de justice is an advisor:

             The Huissier de Justice solves conflicts between landlords and tenants, difficulties related to separation or divorce procedures.  For instance, he/she ensures that the access to the children is respected.

             The Huissier de Justice advises companies about their future partners.  He/she obtains the repayment of debts.

    The huissier de justice is an mediator:

             The Huissier de Justice attempts to find an amicable solution and to avoid lengthy and expensive procedures.

             The Huissier de Justice is a conciliator. He/she avoids the recourse to courts and tribunals.  He/she in some ways replaces the Justice of the Peace.


    1. Insolvency practitioners
      • Administrateurs Judiciaires (administrators) who are appointed by the Court the company when it goes into insolvency.
      • Representants des creanciers who are appointed by the Court to represent creditors.
      • Mandataires Judiciaires (liquidators) who are appointed by the Court to liquidate the company.

    2. Other Practitioners
      • Avoues pres les Cours d'Appel who are public officers appointed by the Minister of Justice and are attached to the Courts of Appeal only. Their function is to conduct the procedural stages of litigation in the Courts of Appeal, the oral pleadings being, in practice, the work of the avocat. The question whether or not the avoues should merge with the avocats has been raised, but so far, it will remain as an independent profession. It is compulsory to hire an avoue before the civil courts of appeal. The avoues are small in number (some 330 only). Entry into the profession is done by the completion of a professional examination.
      • Avocats aux Conseils who are public officers and have a monopoly of the function of both avoues and avocats before the two highest courts in France (Cour de Cassation and Conseil d'Etat).
      • Huissiers de Justice (bailiffs) who are appointed to serve documents to anyone. They tend to deal with local debt recovery. Entry into the profession is through completion of a professional examination.
      • Juristes d'entreprise (in-house lawyers) who have no particular legal status. They are regulated by the general labour laws, and are not covered by any legal privilege. They can join the profession of avocat if they have continuously practiced for at least 8 years. This possibility is extended to jurists having worked in a law firm for the same period of time.
      • Greffiers des Tribunaux de Commerce who are the Registrars of the Commercial Courts.
      • Commissaires-Priseurs who are licensed auctioneers.

Dr Julian Lonbay
Copyright © 1995-2008 J Lonbay. All rights reserved.
Revised: 30 September, 2008.
Comments and suggestions to improve this page are always welcome. Comment here.