A codification of existing legislation, the French Code of Civil Execution Procedures entered into force on 1st June past, both as regards its legislative provisions (Order 2011-21895 of 19 December 2011), and regulatory provisions (Decree 2012-783 of 30 May 2012).

The notorious law 91-650 of 9 July 1991 reforming civil execution procedures, together with its implementing decree 92-755 of 31 July 1992, were abrogated.

This new Code aims at compiling all legal provisions concerning civil execution procedures, understood as “the coercive measures that a creditor may take against his debtor so as to recover a claim that has or will soon be established by an enforcement order, or to recover property that belongs to him” (Report by the Ministry of Justice dated 19 December 2011). This codification thus pursues two clearly identified aims, the first being to “give back its full scope to the law of 9 July 1991” and the second to “ensure better enforcement of court decisions by improving the visibility of the related provisions of law” (Report by the Ministry of Justice dated 19 December 2011).

This long-awaited Code is organised around six books: Book I, which sets the general framework; Book II on procedures for the attachment of moveable property; Book III on the seizure of immovable property; Book IV on eviction measures (carrying over the provisions of the French Building and Housing Code on the winter truce); Book V on interim measures and Book VI, which contains provisions on French overseas regions.

For the most part, the codified legal provisions stem, as regards the legislative section of the Code, from the Law of 9 July 1991 and Order 2006-461 of 21 April 2006 reforming the procedure for the seizure of immovable property and, as regards its regulatory section, the implementing decrees of the legislation cited above, i.e., respectively the Decree of 31 July 1992 and of 2006-936 of 27 July 2006.

In addition to this codification of existing legislation, Order 2011-21895 of 19 December 2011 and Decree 2012-783 of 30 May 2012 also introduce significant changes that are not featured in the new French Code of Civil Execution Procedures. Noteworthy among them is the uniformization of the tolling of the statute of limitations for interim measures and specific performance remedies (Article 2244 of the French Civil Code), the alignment of the rules applicable to the attachment of wages on the rules applicable to the attachment of bank accounts as regards the non-garnishability of an amount equal to the earned income supplement (revenu de solidarité active or RSA) (ArticleL.3252-3 of the French Labour and Employment Code) and the possibility given to the trial judge to decide on what is to be done with any movables left behind in abandoned premises (Article 3 of Decree 2011-945 of 10 August 2011).

The entry in force of this new French Code of Civil Execution Procedures is clearly a step in the right direction in terms of the consistency of the law and legal security. It can nonetheless be regretted that this Code does not directly integrate all of the legal provisions on the topic, such as the provisions on wages, which remain in the French Labour and Employment Code, or on the seizure of ships and aircraft, which remain in the French Transportation Code (the French Code of Civil Execution Procedures simply using the technique of incorporation by reference).