Consistently rated as one of the top tourist destinations in the world, France has for many years been not just a popular holiday destination but also an attractive choice for UK citizens wanting to buy property, do business or retire abroad.
The huge volume of exchanges of all sorts between the two countries leads to very large number of contacts between UK citizens and the French legal system in one way or another, through property transactions, accidents, inheritance, debt recovery, commercial or civil disputes, failed property investments, running a business and many other varied circumstances.
Anyone encountering a question of French law needs a lawyer to help them with their French legal requirements.
France is a republic and a member of the EU. Its currency is the Euro.
Apart from its territory in mainland Europe, it has a number of overseas territories with varying stautuses: Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, La Réunion, Mayotte, French Polynesia, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Wallis-et-Fortuna, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélémy, New Caledonia
The French Legal system
It is widely understood that French law is "codified", and that its civil law is based on the Napoleonic Code, which has had such an important influence on the laws of many other countries, in Europe and throughout the world.
However, the notion of "codified" law is also widely misunderstood. French law is in fact made up of a substantial number of specific codes dealing with a wide variety of subjects, often overlapping. Also, many laws and other legal rules are not contained in codes but in separate laws or regulations. In addition, contrary to popular belief, much French law is contained in case law.
This means that the detail of French law can be complicated and not necessarily easily accessible to non-lawyers, particularly if they are more familiar with another legal system such as the UK Common Law system.
British people often assume that the legal system in France and the processes involved will at least be similar to that in the UK but there are often very significant differences, which means that obtaining advice can be crucial.
French lawyers are called “Avocats”. The legal profession in France is not "split", as in the UK, so the French Avocat is the equivalent of a UK Barrister and Solicitor combined.
A French Avocat is always a member of a local bar but contrary to a widely held belief among UK clients, in practice an Avocat can deal with cases anywhere in France.
In some areas of law, the French legal system accords great importance to another legal professional – the Notary. The use of a Notary is obligatory for the final conveyance of real property and they also have a key role in matters of wills and inheritance.
However, the presence of a Notary in a case is no substitute for having an independent lawyer, as they are rarely involved with the legal process from start to finish and their practical role in advising and assisting is often limited.
Why Judicare Law?
Judicare Law is a UK based firm of solicitors specialising in international law throughout the world. We are well equipped to understand and explain the differences and interactions between UK law and French law.
Judicare not only understands what the law says but also how to get things done for clients. We work with our lawyers on the ground and therefore you will have the advantage of having UK based Solicitors to speak to – in your own language – and guide you through the process whilst also having the advantage of local French lawyers in France doing what is necessary there on the ground.
Your contact will be with the office in the UK (a UK law firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulation in the UK) where we can explain things to you in terms that you understand whilst working with our colleagues on the ground in France. We can cover the whole of France in all matters.
Services we can help you with
Judicare can assist you with a wide range of different legal matters throughout France including
- The purchase or sale of properties in France. This can be either for use by you and your family as a holiday home, retirement home or to live in permanently, or as an investment to rent out or use as business premises. We can advise on related company, tax and inheritance issues that arise when purchasing a property in France
- Making a French will to make sure that your French assets are left to the correct people in the most effective and tax efficient manner
- Probate in France. We can help with inheritance of French assets whether there this is a result of an Italian will, a British will or no will at all (intestacy)
- Setting up a business in France (including setting up a company)
- Employment law
- Assisting clients with problems that they may have with French mortgages, either because they have difficulties in paying the mortgage or because the lender has started court proceedings for a forced sale of the property
- Property disputes, arising from failed property transactions or otherwise; construction disputes, as well as commercial dispute resolution generally (including mediation and arbitration)