A non-payer - What are our options if we live abroad?
Thread poster: Raya Mansour

Raya Mansour  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:34
Member (2009)
English to French
+ ...
May 14, 2013

Hi everyone,

I've been following the conversation on http://www.proz.com/forum/scams/248429-a_non_payer_what_are_our_options.html#2134165, and reading the advice.

Are these legal options available for someone who's not living in France?
Also, would you recommend any French lawyer and/or collection agency you have tried?

Thanks a lot!

Raya Mansour


Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:34
English to Polish
+ ...
Suing non-payers May 14, 2013

Dear Raya,

In a civil law system, a court doesn't normally care where you are from unless there's need to secure a local address for service of process (delivery of legal stuff) or get a claimant's deposit (cautio actoris) to cover expenses that would be hard to collect from an overseas claimant.

In some cases, you may be able to sue in your country rather than solely in the defendant's country, depending on your contract or the nature or place of performance of the relevant obligation, for which there is a minimum set of conflict of law rules common to all of the EU. In which case you still need to get that court order enforced abroad where the defendant lives (which is easier within the EU than in standard international procedures) to get that country's bailiffs to recover your money, but at least you have the order in your hand.

Please note, though, that litigation against a non-payer is rarely worth it for small claims. Lawyer fees are likely to exceed the value of the dispute. Your own time spent on the case is not something you're going to get back. Litigation is not the end of it: Even if you win despite all formalities and proof requirements, a non-payer that doesn't have the money just can't pay it.

If you do sue in France, remember that French law requires lawyers to associate local counsel if they aren't from the relevant court's district themselves. While the two guys shouldn't overlap too much, that's still two guys billing by the hour. Remember also to ask them how to proceed without their help next time you have a non-paying debtor there. It may well come down to filling in a couple of simple forms that's easy as pie once someone has told you what goes where.


Alain Alameddine  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:34
Member (2009)
English to French
+ ...
Thank you for the information May 15, 2013

Hi Lukasz,

Thank you for the information, that's interestingicon_smile.gif

I live in Lebanon. As you said, legal procedures are lengthy and costly from abroad. I was wondering if I could hire a lawyer in France and give him the legal capacity to represent me? This way I could sue the agency by proxy, and the lawyer will recover the money for me. Would this be possible?


[Edited at 2013-05-15 06:41 GMT]


Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:34
Member (2010)
English to French
Dear Raya May 15, 2013

as a first step you should send your client an international record delivery letter containing a reminder of your invoice; it is probably not enoughicon_smile.gif


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A non-payer - What are our options if we live abroad?

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