Procedures Guide

The Procedures guide allows entrepreneurs and decision-makers to have a reliable, precise and up to date overview of legal procedures and measures concerning commercial formalities to be undertaken. It is broken down into 6 sections in which you can find information and documentation required for formalities with Registry Offices at the Commercial Courts.

Referral to the first-instance court by summons

The legal proceedings are the act by which a litigant, the plaintiff, takes the initiative for a trial by submitting his claims to the judge. In contentious cases, as opposed to non-contentious cases where there are no opponents, there are at least two parties: the plaintiff and the defendant (the one who is tried and who is directly concerned by the proceeding or trial).

The proceeding can only be introduced according to the forms provided by the law, meaning by an act of referral submitted to the registry office or drafted by it, which shall contain the required particulars on pain of nullity. The principle is that only the parties shall initiate legal proceedings. Only they shall decide to act or not to act in court, excluding the cases (few in number and not challenging the rule) in which the law provides otherwise.

A commercial court may take cases by summons, by joint application, or by signature of a voluntary joint statement by the parties.

The summons is a a writ by which the applicant summons his opponent to appear before the judge (Article 55 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

The act is drawn up in two original copies (principle of the double original): the first is kept by the bailiff, the second is handed to the applicant (person on behalf of which the act is done). The recipient of the summons also receives a copy. The copy stands in lieu of the original for the person who receives it.

The summons is therefore an act that must be served, i.e. served by the bailiff. Materially, the notification consists of serving the copy of the legal instrument to the recipient. It must be done personally. If the recipient is a legal entity, the notification is served to its legal representative, or any person so authorised.

The contents

First of all, the summons contains, on pain of nullity, the mandatory elements which must be included in all the legal instruments of the bailiff (Article 648 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

- The date on which it was issued (day, month and year): in general, this date is written out in full, due to its importance.

- The applicant's full name: if it is an individual, their surname, first names, occupation, residence, nationality, date and place of birth; if it is a legal entity, their form, name, registered office and the body that legally represents them.
-The surname, first, residence of the bailiff and his signature: the bailiff's signature is what gives the legal instrument its authenticity.

- The name and domicile of the recipient or, if it is a legal entity, its name and registered office.

Next, additional elements are prescribed for all summons, still on pain of nullity, (Article 56 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

- The court before which the demand is referred.

- The subject of the demand with the pleas of fact and law.

The summons should indicate that, if the defendant is absent at the hearing, he shall risk a ruling being handed down against him based solely on the information provided by the opposing party.

- If applicable, references relating to the designation of the buildings required for the publication in the real estate file.

- The list of documents upon which the demand is based: these documents are listed on a slip which is annexed to the summons.

Finally, two other elements are also required, still on pain of nullity, for proceedings initiated before the commercial court (Article 855 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

- The place, day and time of the hearing at which the case will be called.

- If the applicant resides abroad, the surname, first names and address of the person with whom he establishes residence in France.

The summons also specifies the conditions under which the defendant may be assisted or represented (by any person of his choice; the representative, if he is not a lawyer, must justify having a special authorisation), as well as, if appropriate, the name of the plaintiff's representative.

The form of the referral and the time periods (Art. 856 through 858 of the Code of Civil Procedure)

A summons must be issued at least fifteen days before the date of the hearing.

Any demand is thereafter filed at the registry office. This operation is called the scheduling, enrolment, or placement.

To place a summons, file the second original of the summons at the registry office of the commercial court eight days at the latest before the date of the hearing.

The presiding judge of the commercial court may authorise the reduction of these two time periods (in maritime or aviation cases, in the event of an emergency).

The court clerk verifies the legal instrument and then proceeds with the scheduling of the legal demand in court, by recording it in the general docket of the jurisdiction's cases.


The rates presented below do not include the bailiff's fees, to be added in application of legal rules and local practices; cheques should be made payable to the order of the relevant GREFFE DU TRIBUNAL DE COMMERCE, and enclosed with the application.


Price, all taxes included

Judgement (2 parts) (1) and (3)


Judgement (3 parts)


Judgement (4 parts)


Judgement with calendar (2 parts)


Judgement with calendar (3 parts)


Judgement with calendar (4 parts)


Additional part to the judgement


Copy of the judgement (without postage fees)


Second enforceable copy (without postage fees)


Challenges to jurisdiction (without postage fees)


Warrants pertaining to expert assessments (2) 


Cancelling a judgement without calendar (2 parts)


Cancelling judgement with calendar (2 parts)


(1) Fees include the cost of a certified enforceable copy and a copy issued to each party.

(2) Added to the cost of the judgement in case of expertise.

(3) In case of cancellation before the issuance of a judgement, t 2/3 of the fee is allocated to the court clerk; except in the case where a fee has been specially collected for the referral to the court.