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6 essential conditions for the validity of a bailiff's act

6 essential conditions for the validity of a bailiff's act

If you are a judicial officer in Paris, you hold all the powers in the exercise of your function in the French capital. But, you must meet certain conditions to produce valid and indisputable documents.

Respect the regulations in the exercise of your power

To have a value of authentic deeds, you must act in compliance with French and Parisian regulations. However, the abuse of authority in the exercise of the function does not exclude the legality of the act. But, if you exceed the regulatory framework, the authentic nature of your act will remain doubtful. In any case, the judge is not bound to the act that you produce.

Maintain your honor

A bailiff must act with honor. In his work on the penalty, Jacques VAN COMPERNOLLE affirms: “it remains that, in the facts, the report of a judicial officer benefits from a great authority. Its value as an instrument of conviction for the magistrate is commensurate with the integrity of the bailiff who drafted it”.

Be specific in your findings

The acts you produce are left to the sovereign discretion of the judge. To have probative value in the Paris courts, you must be clear in writing your findings. Be as specific and detailed as possible in your writing. The clarity of your act takes into account two fundamental elements:

  • Lack of assessment of the acts observed: you must express reservations about the personal assessment in your findings. Do not leave margins for comments. When certain elements of the report require reports from an expert, do not substitute yourself for the latter.
  • The details of the elements observed personally: your role is descriptive. To convince the judge, describe the facts as you found them. Only a personal observation can fulfill this descriptive condition. Facts reported by others should not be your source of evidence.

Always look for witnesses

In the accomplishment of your mission, you can undoubtedly carry out the operations of the seizures. Your presence in private homes requires the presence of witnesses. Here, we are not only talking to you about witnesses that you will find on the banks of the Seine or Rue de Rivoli. Gilles CHIARO, in his manual of resistance to bailiffs, mentions that: the people likely to accompany the judicial officer in his operations are:

  • The borough mayor.
  • A member of the Council of Paris.
  • A municipal official delegated by the mayor.
  • A police or gendarmerie authority.
  • Two independent major witnesses.

Practice within the limits of your skill

The limits of your jurisdiction are clearly detailed, so you must respect the seizure period between the time allocated to the debtor to regularize his situation and the judge's injunction. Likewise, do not intervene at night and do not expel people during the winter break.   

Establish communication with the interested party

In the exercise of your mission, communication must not be excluded with the person who will be summoned. In addition to the presentation formalities, you must intervene in an atmosphere that reduces tensions. When the debtor presents resistance, do not exercise force without recourse to the authorities empowered to do so. Here are two ways to ensure communication:

  • The presentation of the enforceable title: to better exercise your powers, present to the interested parties the writs of execution issued by the court. The court order lets the debtor know that you have full power to act. If you do not present the writ of execution, the debtor may confuse your intervention with a simple injunction to pay. This last act is only a simple reminder of obligations.
  • Listening to the debtor: in terms of seizure, the debtor also has inalienable rights. It is by listening to him that you will understand the extent of his recognized rights. These are essential items for daily life.

The skills of a Paris bailiff are strictly regulated by the legislator. Do not exceed them if you wish to maintain the credibility recognized for your action in the application of Parisian court decisions.

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