Purchasing:  buying real estate in France is
very different from the purchase of real estate

in England in that the sale contract becomes binding on the parties at a much earlier stage.

The French notary is in charge of conveyancing,  Avocats intervene to ensure that their clients’ interests are correctly represented when the final deed of sale is executed.


The language barrier and unfamiliarity with the French system are often the source

of difficulties that arise with local tradesmen “artisans” and property developers.

If litigation is initiated, a French court will appoint an independent expert to assess

the damage and establish liabilities.  Bright Jones assists during all stages of the

contentious procedure in order to ensure that the expert’s report is as favourable

as possible.

Obtaining planning permission or negotiating with the local authorities can also be problematic, requiring expert legal advice and assistance.


Most investors in France are aware of the concept of the hereditary reserve whereby

a certain percentage of a person’s assets are vested in the children on death by operation of law.  This can cause difficulties where one parent has remarried and wants to ensure that the surviving spouse will have peaceful enjoyment of the residence in France.


Different techniques can be used to try to improve the situation of the surviving

spouse and to limit tax exposure:  e.g. 
drafting a will for assets in France, setting
up a property holding company, entering
into a marriage contract in France, building
a “tontine” clause into the purchase deed, etc.

No solution is perfect and each case must be carefully analysed in order to determine the technique the best adapted to the case in question.


France has not always attracted investment in this domain due to relatively high corporation tax, the 35-hour working week, high social security contributions and stringent labour law.

However, France is at the forefront of certain cutting-edge technologies (IT, aeronautics, telecommunications, etc.) and is attracting
more and more foreign investment.

Recent changes in legislation have facilitated
the setting-up of companies, in particular

by allowing investors to set up a private limited company with only nominal share capital.


If you do intend creating a company in France and possibly employing people, you should

be aware of the statutory obligations incumbent upon the employer and / or company director.




This branch of law mainly concentrates on divorce or difficulties which occur after a divorce concerning contact with children or financial support.

French Courts will generally entertain jurisdiction if both parties are resident in France.