From now on, any proceedings initiated before a court pertaining to civil, commercial, labor, social or rural matters or before an administrative court are subject to the payment of a fee of 35 Euros.

This “legal aid contribution” is payable when the proceedings are initiated. It is payable by the party initiating the proceedings. The General Tax Code provides for certain exceptions to the obligation to pay such contribution, namely:

  • proceedings initiated by persons receiving legal aid;
  • proceedings before the Commission for the Compensation of Crime Victims, the Children’s Court, the Magistrate for Custody and Detention and the Guardianship Court;
  • procedures dealing with the excessive debt of private individuals and corporate restructuring and judicial liquidation procedures;
  • actions initiated before an administrative court against any individual decision pertaining to a foreigner’s entry into, residence in or deportation from French territory and the right to asylum.

A Decree dated 28 September 2011 has amended the Code of Civil Procedure and the Administrative Justice Code, stipulating the conditions applicable to the implementation of such contribution. It stipulates in particular that the payment of the contribution, whenever it is due, shall constitute a pre-condition to the admissiblity of a claim. The Decree also sets out various clarifications in relation to the scope of application and the practical procedures by which a party subject to trial must demonstrate payment of the contribution or the grounds exempting him from doing so.

This Decree shall apply to proceedings initiated from 1 October 2011 onwards (Decree No. 2011-1202 of 28 September 2011 relating to the fees to be contributed to the remuneration fund for the profession of avoué [Appeal Court Counsel] and the legal aid contribution).