New French time limitations

New time-limitations in French civil matters.

Changes have recently been introduced to French law as regards time-limits that apply to any claim and/or litigation.

These changes stem from the Time Limitations Act of 17 June 2008, which came into force on 20 June 2008.

The main consequence is that standard (default) legal time-limit for pursuing claims or invoking a right, which until now was 30 years, has been reduced to 5 years.

Personal civil actions or legal actions relating to movables are now becoming barred after five years. This applies to claims for professional negligence against barristers too (Article 2255 of the Civil Code). The time-limit that applies to business litigation/disputes is also reduced to 5 years instead of 10, pursuant to Article L110-4 of the "Code de Commerce".

Legal actions regarding real estate issues become barred after 30 years from the day the holder of a right knew, or should have known, the event(s) allowing him to exercise his or her right. The limitation period required to acquire property through simple possession remains 30 years, but whoever acquires in good faith and holds a valid Title acquires property after 10 years only new Article 2272 of the Civil Code).

Liability arising from an event which led to an injury, e.g. RTA, is now time-barred 10 years after the date the victim’s injuries are stabilized. Where the victim’s injuries are worsening, such time-limit does not start until the day the victim’s worsening has fully stabilised.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fabien Cordiez, French lawyer and UK solicitor
Mr. Cordiez specializes in providing legal services to English-speaking clients from around the world. The Firm's main language is English and we have many years of experience dealing with French law.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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