File : Role of the Registries

Part 2

In the service of the legal system and of corporations

Registration of corporations with the RCS

At the crossroads between legal and economic worlds, commercial court clerks provide an efficient and modern public service. As veritable civil status officers at the service of corporations, they contribute to legal safety and transparency of economic life. The clerk is a key player at each important moment in the life of corporations.

Appointed by the degree of the Garde des Sceaux, commercial court clerks are State appointed delegatees of the public authorities. Their functions are overseen bythe public Minister.

Commercial court clerks arelegal professionals and specialists in maintaining legal registers.
Their experience, combined with efficient use of technological innovation,, is a considerable asset in the service of commercial law and corporations.

As professional independents, , the clerks have the power to invest, to collectively organise, to engage in business and to innovate in a service of corporations and persons subject to the law, while a providing a regulatory framework fixed by the law, as local providers of a public service.

The court clerk is a member of the commercial court, and is an integral part of it. He performs various legal functions:
•    in the service of persons subject to the law, and the Court
He provides assistance to the judges, ensures that deeds and archives are preserved; that documents are authenticated; he service copies of rulings.
•    of an economic nature, in the service of corporations
He is in charge of keeping and verifying the Trade and Companies Register, preservation of assets for security, publication and diffusion of legal and financial information concerning corporations.

The commercial Court clerks are under a double obligation:
• satisfying requirements of the State, on behalf of which the carry out certain prerogatives functions, and for which they have a duty of competence, loyalty and ethics;
• providing satisfactory service to the users of the commercial legal system, which they directly represent.

In the service of the legal system and of persons subject to the law

The legal brief carried out by the clerk, a member of the Court, covers litigation between corporations, and prevention and treatment of difficulties encountered by companies.
The commercial Court clerks every year process more than one million court rulings.

The hearing clerks (court officers) play an important role in legal debate. They assist the court judges by actively participating in organising litigation hearings such as insolvency procedures, and preparing and formatting the rulings handed down and explained by the judges.
They are also the direct interlocutors for lawyers and persons subject to the law.

Court clerks must be highly competent in procedures and drawing up documents; they must possess skills in organisation and communication. They are the custodians of original exemplars of court rulings and archives, which they are in charge of preserving; of delivering true copies of rulings to persons subject to the law, and keeping the seals and any sums deposited with the registry.

Court clerks are alsoa crucial source of information to committees and cells tasked with negotiating difficulties facing corporations.
Anticipating corporate difficulties is a very important function for companies to face and overcome such difficulties, with the help of the presiding judge, in charge of the case. For this purpose, any company director is invited to make an appointment directly with the commercial court presiding judge in his jurisdiction, through the registry, for purposes of considering, with the judge, the foregoing options before entering suspension of payments.

Court clerks also play a central role in monitoring and processing insolvency proceedings, especially as regards publication in legal journals, indispensable for providing transparency and information to third parties.

In the service of corporations

As players in economic life, commercial Court clerks provide control, safety and transparency for corporations.
In charge of maintaining legal registers, court clerks provide a privileged observatory of the economic world.
They make available the information contained in the registers, representing 60,000 to 80,000 legal documents per day. The Court clerks thus make it possible for any person to obtainreliable informationconcerning corporations and their directors, and to keep abreast of the economic and financial situation of a commercial partner.

Trade and Companies Register
The RCS is a veritable corporate civil register: it is an instrument for legal listing and publication for traders and all corporations.
The reliability of the information is guaranteed by verification of legality and regularity in the creation of corporations. Registration is of crucial importance: it requires the that the trader is registered (in the case of physical persons) and it ratifies legal entities (for companies).
The register is made up of an alphabetically ordered file of registered persons, individual files and appended files containing deeds, which the clerks draw up and preserve.
Publication of information in the RCS is performed using a Kbis abstract, veritable corporate identity documents.

Preservation of assets for security
Court clerks, as "keepers of security assets", perform registration of privileged assets claims and collateral filed by any creditors: taxes, URSSAF, banks, vendors etc.
These registrations serve as a guarantee to creditorswhile at the same time allowing businessmen to invest, to fund the purchase of commercial goodwill, to perform alterations and to invest in equipment and tooling.
These registers of legal publication play a major role in the funding of corporations.
They are maintained by the commercial Court clerks, public officers appointed by the ministry; the reliability of these registers and the know-how in making available, in electronic media, the information in the registers, contribute to economic transparency.

A public service that guarantees transparency and legal safety
Corporations require reliable, innovative and reactive interlocutors, who can provide the necessary legal safety for their development, and contributes to transparency in economic life.
Rapid diffusion of information and the large number of players on the Internet increase the need for a strong link between control of information and the legal value of the informationafter it has been distributed.

Court clerks control and centralise economic and financial legal information concerning corporations.
More than 70,000 updates are performed every day in the Trade and Commerce Register alone, in the registries.
The legal information on corporations is also diffused by clerks in the form of authenticated documents, Kbis extracts, inscription sheets, certificates and copies.
This role is becoming increasingly important because of the legal safety it provides, and thanks to the technical and IT tools developed by the clerks.
The Infogreffe national court clerks access portal in this way fulfils a central role in providing access to information locally contained in the registers of each registry.