The judicial officer carries out several important missions: serving legal documents (summons), enforcing court decisions, conducting amicable or judicial debt collection, making legal observations, and providing legal consultations.
They are ministerial officers with a public mandate and and as such have the privilege to execute decisions of the public authority (they can therefore establish authentic acts).
Since 1 July 2022, the professions of judicial officers and judicial auctioneers have been merged into the profession of judicial commissioners. As an accountant specializing in these professions, Houdart A&C accompanies its clients commissioners of justice in the conduct of the profound changes brought about by this merger.
In a broader sense, the chartered accountancy services provided by Houdart A&C address the challenges of the profession. Our knowledge of this sector gives us a deep understanding of the specific characteristics and issues related to to the profession of judicial officers, which are the following.
Characteristics of the judicial officer profession
A regulated profession
The judicial officers practice a liberal profession regulated by a statute contained in order no.-2592 of 2 November 1945, amended by several decrees until now.
They carry out their duties within a specific territorial area determined by decree, usually within the jurisdiction of the local court of their residence. The remuneration for their services is fixed by decree when they fall under the monopoly. They can be free or contractual for other acts.
The main responsibilities falling under the monopoly are:
- Serving legal documents,
- Enforcing court decisions,
- Assisting in the internal operations of courts and tribunals.
Legal consultations, administration of buildings, amicable recovery are examples of attribution that are not part of the monopoly.
The «Macron» Law of 6 August 2015 profoundly modified the professional practice framework, by the creation of interprofessional practice societies, the progressive end of the numerus clausus and merging the professions of bailiffs and judicial auctioneers under the designation of judicial officers.
Commissioners of Justice
On authorization of the “Macron” Law of 6 August 2015, an ordinance created the profession of commissioner of justice grouping the professions of judicial officer and judicial auctioneer. Judicial officers and judicial auctioneers were only unified within this new profession as of 1 July 2022.
The commissioners of justice are public and ministerial officers, as were the judicial auctioneers and the judicial officers.
This merger of the two professions, although somewhat theoretical due to the divergent training programs and technical skills required, leads to major changes for these professions, which our firm experiences on a daily basis as an expert accountant for both judicial officers and judicial auctioneers.
These changes primarily concern the wider scope of intervention. A judicial auctioneer can now carry out observations at the request of an individual or a judge, enforce a court decision, serve a judicial document, or implement recovery procedures. Likewise, a judicial officer can now organize public auctions for art objects, furniture, or equipment as prescribed by law or a court decision (judicial sale, distinct from voluntary sales).
These developments also concern the supervision of the two regulated professions, which are headed by the National Chamber of Commissioners of Justice.
Beyond the specificity of accounting entries and applicable tax rules, notably due to the complexity of VAT application for judicial auctioneers, each profession has its own software constraints linked to legal constraints (such as daily bank reconciliations and the transfer of fees on receipts from management to general accounting for judicial officers) or technical constraints (such as third-party accounts sorted by date of sale rather than by seller or buyer in the general accounting of judicial auctioneers). Without software adaptation in their respective fields, commisioners of justice will be compelled to use tools specific to each part of their activity.
Houdart A&C, as a chartered accountant specializing in these professions, is working with the representatives of the two professions and the various software providers for each of them, to support these changes.
A decree specifying the technical constraints to which judicial officer software will be subjected is expected.
Practicing professionals, whether judicial auctioneers or judicial officers, must undergo a training program called the “passerelle” provided by the National Chamber of Commisioners of Justice. This program allows them to acquire the qualification of commisioner of justice and and obtain the skills required to carry out missions they have not yet mastered. The training in question consists of 80 hours for judicial auctioneers and 60 hours for judicial officers.
As of July 1st, 2026, judicial offers and judicial auctioneers who have not undergone the specific training required to obtain the title of judicial officer may be prohibited from practicing. There are exemptions from the entrance examination, notably through validation of prior experience.
Specific accounting requirements for judicial officers
In addition to general accounting requirements, it is essential to differentiate, in the accounting records of operations carried out by a judicial officer, between funds managed on behalf of third parties and funds intended to be received as fees and disbursements.
Compliance with the financial balance, that is to say the financial coverage of funds belonging to third parties, is imperative. This balance, as well as the accounting records, are annually verified by the regional chamber of judicial officers. An attestation is also prepared by a chartered accountant to ensure compliance with these accounting obligations and regulatory formalities.
In their practice software, accounting is maintained according to the “accrual accounting” model. They can be reprocessed to present a tax return prepared on a cash accounting basis, if the activity is carried out under a legal form involving taxation of profits under the BNC rule.
Legal specificities of judicial officers
The profession of a judicial officer can be practiced individually or within a civil professional society (SCP) or a professional corporation (SEL), such as SELARL or SELAS. Since the Law of August 6, 2015, judicial officers have the option to be associated with multidisciplinary financial professional corporations (SPFPL).
This “Law for Growth, Activity and Equal Economic Opportunity” also introduced a regulated freedom of installation with a location map revised every two years, revised the regulated tariffs applicable by the profession, modified the jurisdictional area for certain activities, and initiated a convergence with the profession of judicial auctioneers by expanding their fields of competence.
Tax specificities of judicial officers
The activities of judicial officers are subject to the regime of non-commercial profits for individual operators or partners in civil professional partnerships, which are fiscally transparent. Professional corporations, except for single-member SELARL, but that can opt, are subject to corporate income tax.
All acts that can be carried out by judicial officers within the scope of their ministry are subject to a flat-rate tax. Certain acts performed at the request of individuals benefiting from partial or total legal aid, as well as acts carried out on behalf of DGFIP (Direction Générale des Finances Publiques), social security, or certain associations, are exempt from this tax. Exemptions are also provided for in specific texts.
Services performed by judicial officers in the context of their specific activity are subject to VAT. They are also liable for VAT when they carry out transactions that go beyond the scope of their specific activity (activity of real estate administrator, intermediary in real estate transactions, etc.).
Houdart A&C’s technical expertise as a chartered accountant for judicial officers’offices
Houdart A&C has many clients judicial officers and a thorough understanding of the issues they encounter daily, both in accounting and in tax and social matters.
Our structure, thanks to its knowledge of the two professions that are judicial auctioneers and judicial officers, supports its clients in managing the changes resulting from the merger of these two professions within the profession of commissioner of justice.
In accounting, our mission covers both the preparation of annual accounts and the monitoring of taxation and social management. We set the salaries of in-camera study employees
As chartered accountants, our mission covers the preparation of annual financial statements, tax monitoring, and social management. We handle payroll for judicial officers’s firms and and master the specificities of the specific collective agreement applicable to this profession.
Common questions relating to judicial officers (commissioners of justice)
What legal form can be used to practice as a judicial office (commissioner of justice) ?
The activity of judicial officer can be exercised either as an individual (EI, EIRL, EURL), or within a professional civil partnership (SCP) private practice company (SEL, SELARL, SELAS).
How to value a judicial officer’s right of presentation ?
The evaluation of the right to present a bailiff’s office is based on the application of multiples of turnover, profit, and EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization), which are commonly used and recognized in the profession. It is important to distinguish the evaluation of the right to present as an intangible asset from the evaluation of the net assets of the legal structure that holds it. However, before applying these multiples, care must be taken to reprocess non-normative elements that could bias this assessment.
What is a Société de Participation Financière des Professions Libérales (SPFPL) ?
A Société de Participation Financière des Professions Libérales (SPFPL) is a form of holding company dedicated to regulated liberal professions, allowing the ownership of one or more stakes in sociétés d’exercice libéral (private practice companies) (SEL). The “Services” Directive of 2006 and the Law of March 28, 2011 paved the way for the capitalistic interprofessionality of SPFPLs, which are a legal tool for grouping together multi-professional liberal studies..
What is the collective agreement applicable to the activity of a judicial officer ?
The national collective agreement of the personnel of the judicial officers of 11 April 1996 (no. IDCC 1921) applies to all employees working for a judicial officer, including judicial officers exercising their profession as employees, inside or outside the offices, groups and professional bodies of judicial officers, as well as the staff of statutory bodies of the profession.
What types of services can our firm provide for judicial officers ?
We master the specificities of the regulated professions and in particular of the judicial officers, with whom we intervene as chartered accountants or statutory auditor.
As chartered accountants, our mission our mission goes beyond the review of annual accounts, preparing tax returns, and establishing financial statements in collaboration with internal teams. We assist the judicial officer in selecting a legal status that aligns with the office’s development plans and complies with regulatory requirements. We inform managers of accounting and tax changes affecting their profession and in choices involving the partners’ assets. Additionally, we can handle payroll preparation for the office.
As a statutory auditor, within the scope of a legal audit, we implement a constructive approach based on the review of your internal control and the conduct of substantive tests.