The bailiff is a public and ministerial officer practicing a regulated profession. They have the sole duty of enforcing legal decisions and serving legal documents. At the same time they work on a competitive basis in other varied activities such as the recovery of debts by mutual agreement, drafting agreements between private parties, legal consultations, the administration of property and public auctions.


Since 1st January 2009, bailiffs have a territorial jurisdiction extended to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal de grande instance of their place of work.


The bailiff inevitably plays an indispensable role in economic and social life. Whether you are a business or a private individual, the bailiff can advise you in order to settle your difficulties.


*Serving judicial documents on parties concerned or extra-judicial documents which concern them (summons to appear in court, notification of judicial decisions such as in divorce proceedings or final warnings to pay before the commencement of legal proceedings etc.).

*Enforcement of judicial decisions and notarial documents (only a bailiff may seize personal property or real estate, freeze bank accounts etc.). In the case of enforcement of a court order, the bailiff may require the support of the police.

*Presence in court in order to ensure that court hearings run smoothly.

*Commercial lotteries (all regulations relating to Gaming and Competitions must be lodged with a bailiff).


*The taking of evidence at the request of a judge or an individual (for example the bailiff makes statements of fact, reports as to the condition an apartment, a progress report on advancement of construction work, of damage done etc.).

*Public sales, voluntary or judicial, of personal effects in place of an auctioneer in the bailiffs local area.

*Mortgage registrations.

*Amicable recovery of any type of debt by mutual agreement (rents, unpaid invoices, family allowances, condominium fees etc.).

*Representation of litigants (in proceedings in agricultural rent tribunals, commercial tribunals)

*Legal advice to businesses with which the bailiff has had contact for debt recovery.

Because of their economic and legal knowledge and their practical business experience, bailiffs are often the first legal professional that is consulted in the case of legal proceedings. As for other legal professions, the role of adviser to businesses has tended to develop because of the increased complexity of business affairs.


*Insurance agent
*Property manager


From the European viewpoint we are participating in the establishment of closer relations between the legal systems of different countries highlighting a real cooperation.

Our profession fits perfectly into this great European movement.

The activity of the bailiff has declined in Europe more and more in recent years as a self-employed, liberal activity.

Nominated by the Ministry of Justice, bailiffs practice their activity in a strictly regulated framework.

From a global viewpoint the bailiffs’ profession is represented by the International Union of Bailiffs.


Bailiffs have been involved for many years in the information technology and communications sector. From the beginning of the 2000 onwards, with the development of the internet and electronic support, the National Chamber of Bailiffs instructed the Association for Electronic and Communications Law (ADEC Association Electronique et Communication) to develop, set up, maintain, administer and promote all methods of electronic exchange, service products between studies and their different partners.

Then, in 2006, the website JEDEPOSE.COM came online, promoting two major products.

DépoMail gives a strong probative value to your emails and correspondence by replacing by in a few clicks most of your registered post.

Authentidoc allowing you to archive in complete security your contractual documents (order forms, invoices, contracts etc.), and to protect your literary and artistic works.

On 10 December 2008, the National Chamber of Bailiffs was awarded the Innovation and Trust Trophy (Trophée de l'Innovation et de la Confiance) by the Federation of Trusted Third Parties FNTC (Fédération Nationale des Tiers de Confiance) at the Paperless Salon (Salon Dématérialiser).
This first prize, in the private sector services category, was in recognition of the setting up of the internet site, an internet portal which gives, under the professional responsibility of a bailiff, access to certification and authentication tools and the archiving of electronic documents,


Activities resulting from the bailiffs monopoly are subject to a fixed fee under the Decree of 12 December 1996 Official Journal 13 December1996 : the text is included in the New Code of Civil Procedure, from a basic rate, proportional to the receivable amount.

In certain areas of the bailiffs work, the remuneration is agreed with the client : legal consultations, private contracts, certified reports etc.

Whatever the nature of the activity confided to the bailiff, s/he is able to give a free estimate. S/he is obliged to give the client a detailed breakdown of costs. A receipt will be issued for any payment made in cash.

Before providing assistance to a party the bailiff may request an advance to cover expenses. Bailiffs have the right to retain documents until payment of their costs and expenses.

When a request for payment results from a mutual agreed recovery, the bailiff shall not demand more than the sum due by the debtor. Save for specific clauses in the contract, the fees due shall be payable by the claimant.

If the action follows a court order, the enforcement costs, by law are payable by the debtor, unless s/he claims insolvency, in which case they are payable by the creditor.