Huissier de justice

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Sign of hussier de justice in Angoulême, France

Huissier de justice is the French term, hence used in France, Luxembourg, Quebec, Suisse romande, and the French Community of Belgium, named gerechtsdeurwaarder in Dutch for the Flemish Community and the Netherlands, for a specific legal officer that also occurs in Greece, Italy and the three other language regions of Switzerland. The most common British English translation for huissier de justice is "bailiff" (and sometimes "sheriff officer", "marshal", or "judicial officer").

The officer is appointed by a magistrate of the court (or in France, by the Minister of Justice), and holds the monopoly right to serve and execute the decisions made by courts and enforceable instruments, as well as formally bear witness to events (constat d'huissier).

As a member of the legal profession, he acts in the service of process, responsible for delivering such documents and authenticating parties to whom they are delivered; proceeds in the enforcement and recovery of any court and legal claims, including bankruptcy, property claims, seizures, and evictions; issues court summonses (assignments and quotations); and performs other actions. He may also exercise authorizations of a Court of Appeals, and act in insurance and property actions. He has the monopoly right to call police hearings to guarantee execution of court orders, and to conduct non-monopoly activities such as amicable settlements, draft findings of private deeds, and offer limited legal advice. He also can authenticate character findings which may serve as evidence during litigation. Some elements of his statements can not be challenged except by way of improbation.

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