The activities carried out by commissioners of justice (formerly judicial auctioneers and court bailiffs), commercial court registrars, judicial administrators, judicial liquidators and notaries as a monopoly are subject to regulated tariffs. With regard to lawyers, only four areas of intervention are concerned: seizure of real estate, division, auction and judicial securities.
Law No. 2015-990 of 6 August 2015, known as the "Macron Law," recast the principles that governed the setting of these regulated tariffs. As recommended by the Autorité in its Opinion No. 15-A-02 of 9 January 2015, tariffs now take into account "the main costs of providing the service, while ensuring reasonable remuneration for professionals" (Art. L. 444-5 of the French Commercial Code (Code de commerce)). The tariffs will be revised every two years (Art. L444-2 and L444-4 of the same code).
Based on the overall profitability of the professions concerned, the new method for setting tariffs (Decree No. 2020-179 of 28 February 2020) defines reasonable remuneration by reference to an average (operating) income rate target (set by decree every two years), itself determined from a reference rate (set by decree in the French Administrative Supreme Court (Conseil d’Etat)). In addition, pursuant to Article L. 444-2 of the French Commercial Code (Code de commerce), for proportional rates, professionals may grant fixed and identical discount tariffs for all, within certain limits set by regulation. Since 2020, discounts cannot exceed 20% and only apply to the portion of the fee calculated above 100,000 euros.
In addition, the increases in fees in the French overseas territories, set by decree every two years, now depend on the particular characteristics and constraints of each territory and the resulting conditions of practice for the professionals established there.
Thus, for example, since 2020 the increase in tariffs has gone from 40% to 37% for notaries in La Réunion and Mayotte, and from 30% to 27% for court bailiffs in French Guiana.
This new methodology requires professionals to send the Ministries of Justice and Economy, as well as the Autorité de la concurrence, a certain amount of economic and financial data concerning their activity annually (main costs and revenues of monopoly activities, Art. L. 444-5 of the French Commercial Code (Code de commerce)). To this end, the professionals concerned are required to set up cost accounting (Art. R. 444-20 of the same code).