Can the French small claims court (infogreffe) appoint its own laywers to a trial?
Thread poster: Jason Willis-Lee

Jason Willis-Lee  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 21, 2008


This post is aimed at colleagues who work in France and are familiar with the infogreffe small claims system.

I am considering pursuing a small claim from a non-paying customer in France that will lead to a trial (the claim has already been opposed). Since I would prefer not to attend the trial personally (I live in Spain, the customer in France), I would like to know whether the French small claims court would in this case appoint one of its own lawyers to the trial or whether it is the claimant's own responsibility to find their own legal representation.

Any advice gratefully received,


Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:36
French to English
find your own May 21, 2008

If I understand where you're at, you have already obtained the injonction de payer, and the debtor opposed it, so now it's going to be judged by the tribunal de commerce.

I suspect you would need to appoint your own lawyer... but I am not entirely sure. In cases that I have been involved with, my company always appointed its own. But I'm not sure that it's even required to have a lawyer present.

Why don't you call the greffe to see what they suggest?


CFK TRAD  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:36
English to French
+ ...
It's your responsibility May 21, 2008

Hello !

I do not know whether your action will be brought before the Tribunal de Commerce or the Tribunal d'Instance - it depends on the legal form of the client (individual / company and, if it's a company, what type of company ??).

But anyway :

* A legal representation may not be mandatory in your case (depending on the cause, on the claim), but if you decide not to take a lawyer you HAVE to appear personally - and to express your point of view in French, of course.

* NO court will ever appoint one of "its" lawyers : if you want an officially appointed lawyer, you've got to ask the Bar Chamber of the Jurisdiction. What the court does in this case, it's merely the role of the mailman. They forward you request. They have not the power to chose a lawyer for you ;

* To have an officially lawyer appointed, you must live in France AND your wages must be under 1,300 Eur per month ;

I assume these conditions do not apply to your case, so it's your responsibility to find a lawyer.

The "greffe", Lori, is not allowed to give legal advice : this is a monopoly of lawyers in France, so they'll problably advice... to call a lawyer !

I do not know where you live in Spain, but in middle-size and big cities, most law office do have partners in several countries throughout Europe. Maybe, you'll find one in the city you live. This is easy, because you give them evidences, etc., and they reach French lawyers and do everything.

I hope this may help...

Best regards



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Can the French small claims court (infogreffe) appoint its own laywers to a trial?

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