The bill of exchange is also called a “draft”. It is a commercial instrument subject to commercial law, under the terms of article L 110-1 of the commercial code which considers “acts of commerce between all persons, bills of exchange”. The bill of exchange is a formal act of commerce.
The commitments resulting from the bill of exchange are therefore governed by commercial law, even if they correspond to civil obligations subscribed by non-traders. The same is not true of promissory notes or checks which are civil or commercial depending on the nature of the principal obligation.
Jurisdiction over bills of exchange. is that of the commercial court, but above all the enforcement regime for bills of exchange is characterized by particular rigor.
Article L 313-13 of the Consumer Code provides that bills of exchange subscribed or endorsed by borrowers to repay consumer credit are null.
The bill of exchange is a title by which a person, called the “drawer”, conne to a debtor called the “drawee”, the order to pay on a specific date a sum of money to a third person, called the ” beneficiary “or” bearer “.
The bill of exchange regime is defined by articles L 511-1 to L 511-81 of the French Commercial Code.
Role and nature of the bill of exchange
The bankers of Athens or Romme issued securities for the payment of sums of money.
In the Middle Ages, the merchant asked his banker to provide him with the change in the foreign market where he was going. The letter noted a foreign exchange contract. The banker handed a letter to his correspondent in this place. The expression of draft marked this kind of exchange as being put back in a place. The merchant avoided the costly transport of coins.
The law of bills of exchange was customary, it was fixed in France by the Ordinance of 1673.
The bill of exchange, instrument of payment
The bill of exchange became an instrument of payment when it was considered to constitute a commitment distinct from the foreign exchange contract. A merchant holding drafts payable on a place to make his payments by delivering his letters.
This role of the bill of exchange as a payment instrument results from three characteristics
– the letter is written with a clause to order and it is thus transmitted by endorsement
– the payee is certain that the drawee is prepared to pay the draft by accepting the drawee
– the commercial law applicable to bills of exchange, the cambiary law, establishes the rule of the unenforceability of exceptions
The role of the bill of exchange in payments
The bill of exchange by becoming an instrument of payment had replaced money in commercial transactions.
The bill of exchange ceased to be primarily a payment instrument with the development of checks and transfers. However, it continues to play this role in international relations.
Moreover, it has become a credit instrument insofar as it is not payable immediately. The title represents the debt, and the cambiary law confers guarantees on the bearer of the bill of exchange. The seller discounts the bills of exchange.
Bills of exchange are thus used as commercial bills or as financial bills.
CREATION AND FORM OF THE BILL OF EXCHANGE
The bill of exchange contains:
1o The denomination of the bill of exchange inserted in the actual text of the title and expressed in the language used for the drafting of this title;
2o The pure and simple mandate to pay a specific sum;
3o The name of the person who must pay, referred to as the drawee;
4o Indication of the due date;
5o That of the place where the payment is to be made;
6o The name of the person to whom or to whose order the payment must be made;
7o The indication of the date and place where the letter is created;
8o The signature of the one who issues the letter called the drawer. This signature is affixed, either by hand or by any non-handwritten process.
II. – The security in which one of the statements indicated in I is missing is not valid as a bill of exchange, except in the cases determined in III to V of this article.
III. – A bill of exchange for which the due date is not indicated is considered to be payable on demand.
IV. – In the absence of any special indication, the place designated next to the name of the drawee is deemed to be the place of payment and, at the same time, the place of domicile of the drawee.
V. – A bill of exchange that does not indicate the place of its creation is considered to have been taken out in the place designated next to the name of the drawer.
The bill of exchange may be payable to the drawer himself.
It can be shot at the shooter himself.
It can be drawn on behalf of a third party.
It may be payable at the domicile of a third party, either in the locality where the drawee has his domicile, or in another locality.
In a bill of exchange payable on sight or at a certain time after sight, it may be stipulated by the drawer that the sum will bear interest. In any other bill of exchange, this stipulation is deemed unwritten.
The interest rate must be indicated in the letter; in the absence of this indication, the clause is deemed unwritten.
Interest accrues from the date of the bill of exchange if another date is not indicated.
A bill of exchange, the amount of which is written both in words and in figures, is valid, in the event of a difference, for the sum written in words.
A bill of exchange, the amount of which is written several times, either in full or in figures, is only valid, in the event of a difference, for the smallest sum.
Bills of exchange subscribed by minors are void with regard to them, except for the respective rights of the parties, in accordance with article 1312 of the civil code.
If the bill of exchange bears signatures of persons incapable of binding themselves by bill of exchange, false signatures or signatures of imaginary persons or signatures which, for any other reason, could not oblige the persons who signed the bill of exchange change, or the name of which it was signed, the obligations of the other signatories are no less valid.
Whoever signs a bill of exchange as the representative of a person for whom he did not have the power to act, is himself obligated by virtue of the bill and, if he has paid, has the same rights that the alleged represented would have had. The same applies to a representative who has exceeded his powers.
The drawer guarantees acceptance and payment.
He may be exempt from the guarantee of acceptance; any clause by which he exonerates himself from the guarantee of payment is deemed unwritten.
The deposit must be made by the drawer or by the person on whose behalf the bill of exchange will be drawn, without the drawer on behalf of a third party ceasing to be personally liable towards the endorsers and the bearer only.
There is a provision if, at the maturity of the bill of exchange, the party on whom it is provided is indebted to the drawer, or to the person on whose behalf it is drawn, a sum at least equal to the amount of the bill. exchange rate.
Ownership of the provision is transferred as of right to successive holders of the bill of exchange.
Acceptance presupposes provision.
It establishes proof of this with regard to the endorsers.
Whether or not there is acceptance, the drawer alone is bound to prove, in the event of denial, that those on whom the bill was drawn had provision at the due date; otherwise, he is bound to guarantee it, even though the protest has been made after the fixed time limits.
Any bill of exchange, even not expressly drawn to order, is transferable by way of endorsement.
When the drawer has inserted in the bill of exchange the words “not to order” or an equivalent expression, the title is only transferable in the form and with the effects of an ordinary assignment.
The endorsement may be made even for the benefit of the drawee, acceptor or not, the drawer or any other party liable. These people can endorse the letter again.
The endorsement must be straightforward. Any condition to which it is subject is deemed unwritten.
The partial endorsement is void.
The “bearer” endorsement is valid as a blank endorsement.
The endorsement must be entered on the bill of exchange or on a sheet attached to it and referred to as an allonge. It must be signed by the endorser. The latter’s signature is affixed, either by hand or by any non-handwritten process.
The endorsement may not designate the beneficiary or consist of a blank endorsement consisting of the simple signature of the endorser. In the latter case, the endorsement, to be valid, must be entered on the back of the bill of exchange or on the extension.
The endorsement conveys all rights resulting from the bill of exchange.
II. – If the endorsement is blank, the holder can:
1o Fill in the blank, either with his name or with the name of another person;
2o Endorse the letter again in blank or to another person;
3o Give the letter to a third party, without filling in the blank and without endorsing it.
The endorser is, unless otherwise provided, the guarantor of acceptance and payment.
It can prohibit a new endorsement. In this case, he is not bound by the guarantee towards the persons to whom the letter is subsequently endorsed.
The holder of a bill of exchange is considered a legitimate holder if he can prove his right by an uninterrupted series of endorsements, even if the last endorsement is blank. Endorsements struck out are deemed to be unwritten in this regard. When a blank endorsement is followed by another endorsement, the person signing the latter is deemed to have acquired the letter by the blank endorsement.
If a person has been dispossessed of a bill of exchange by any event whatsoever, the holder justifying his right in the manner indicated in the preceding paragraph is only bound to relinquish the bill if he does so. acquired in bad faith or if, in acquiring it, he committed gross negligence.
Persons operated under the bill of exchange cannot set up against the bearer exceptions based on their personal relationship with the drawer or with previous bearers, unless the bearer, in acquiring the bill, has knowingly acted to the detriment of the debtor.
When the endorsement contains the words “value for collection”, “for collection”, “by proxy”, or any other mention implying a simple mandate, the bearer may exercise all the rights deriving from the bill of exchange, but he may not endorse it only as a proxy.
In this case, the obligees may only invoke against the bearer those exceptions which would be opposable to the endorser.
The mandate contained in an endorsement of power of attorney does not end with the death of the mandator or the occurrence of his incapacity.
When an endorsement contains the words “security value”, “pledge value” or any other mention implying a pledge, the holder can exercise all the rights deriving from the bill of exchange, but an endorsement made by him is only valid as an endorsement as a proxy.
The obligees may not invoke against the bearer exceptions based on their personal relationship with the endorser, unless the bearer, in receiving the letter, has knowingly acted to the detriment of the debtor.
An endorsement after maturity has the same effects as a prior endorsement. However, an endorsement subsequent to the protest for default of payment, or made after the expiry of the time limit fixed for drawing up the protest, only produces the effects of an ordinary assignment.
Unless proved otherwise, the undated endorsement is deemed to have been made before the expiration of the time limit fixed for making the protest.
It is forbidden to backdate hardly false orders.
The bill of exchange may be, until maturity, presented for acceptance by the drawee, at the place of his domicile, by the bearer or even by a simple holder.
In any bill of exchange, the drawer may stipulate that it must be presented for acceptance, with or without fixing a time limit.
He may prohibit presentation for acceptance in the bill, unless it is a bill of exchange payable to a third party or a bill payable in a locality other than that of the domicile of the drawee or ‘a letter drawn after a certain period of sight.
It may also stipulate that presentation for acceptance cannot take place before a specified time.
Any endorser may stipulate that the bill must be presented for acceptance, with or without fixing a time limit, unless it has been declared unacceptable by the drawer.
Bills of exchange after sight must be presented for acceptance within one year from their date.
The shooter may shorten this last period or stipulate a longer one.
These time limits may be shortened by the endorsers.
When the bill of exchange is created in execution of an agreement relating to the supplies of goods and entered into between traders, and the drawer has fulfilled the obligations resulting for him from the contract, the drawee cannot refuse to give his acceptance as soon as ‘expiration of a period in accordance with normal commercial practice with regard to the recognition of goods.
Refusal of acceptance automatically entails the forfeiture of the term at the expense of the drawee.
The drawee may request that a second presentation be made to him the day after the first. The interested parties are only allowed to claim that this request was not granted if it is mentioned in the protest.
The holder is not obliged to relinquish the letter presented for acceptance in the hands of the drawee.
The acceptance is written on the bill of exchange. It is expressed by the word “accepted” or any other equivalent word and is signed by the drawee. The simple signature of the drawee affixed to the front of the letter constitutes acceptance.
When the bill is payable at a certain time after sight or when it must be presented for acceptance within a time fixed by a special stipulation, the acceptance must be dated on the day on which it was given, unless that the holder does not require that it be dated on the day of the presentation. In the absence of a date, the bearer, in order to retain his rights of recourse against the endorsers and against the drawer, shall cause this omission to be noted by a protest drawn up in good time.
The acceptance is pure and simple, but the drawee can restrict it to part of the sum.
Any other modification brought about by acceptance to the statements of the bill of exchange is equivalent to a refusal of acceptance. However, the acceptor is bound by the terms of his acceptance.
When the drawer has indicated in the bill of exchange a place of payment other than that of the domicile of the drawee, without designating a third party to whom payment is to be made, the drawee may indicate this upon acceptance. In the absence of this indication, the acceptor is deemed to have obligated himself to pay instead of payment.
If the bill is payable at the domicile of the drawee, the latter may, in the acceptance, indicate an address of the same place where payment is to be made.
By acceptance, the drawee undertakes to pay the bill of exchange on the due date.
In default of payment, the holder, even if he is the drawer, has against the acceptor a direct action resulting from the bill of exchange for all that may be required under Articles L. 511-45 and L. 511 -46.
If the drawee, who has endorsed the bill of exchange, has crossed it out before the bill is returned, the acceptance is deemed to be refused. Unless proved otherwise, the cancellation is deemed to have been made before the return of the title.
However, if the drawee has made his acceptance known in writing to the holder or to any signatory, he is bound to them in the terms of his acceptance.
The payment of a bill of exchange can be guaranteed for all or part of its amount by a guarantee .
This guarantee is provided by a third party or even by a signatory of the letter.
The endorsement is given either on the bill of exchange or on an allonge, or by a separate act indicating the place where it took place.
It is expressed by the words “good for downstream” or by any other equivalent formula; it is signed by the endorser.
It is considered to result from the only signature of the giver of endorsement affixed to the front of the bill of exchange, except when it concerns the signature of the drawee or that of the drawer.
The endorsement must indicate on whose behalf it is given. In the absence of this indication, it is deemed to be given for the shooter.
The backer giver is bound in the same way as the one for whom he has vouched for.
Its commitment is valid, even though the obligation it has guaranteed would be null for any reason other than a defect in form.
When paying the bill of exchange, the guarantor acquires the rights resulting from the bill of exchange against the collateral and against those owed to the latter by virtue of the bill of exchange.
A bill of exchange can be drawn:
1o At sight;
2o At a certain time of sight;
3o At a certain time limit;
4o On a fixed day.
II. – Bills of exchange, either on other maturities or on successive maturities, are void.
The bill of exchange at sight is payable on presentation. It must be presented for payment within one year from its date. The shooter may shorten this period or stipulate a longer one. These time limits may be shortened by the endorsers.
The drawer may prescribe that a bill payable on sight must not be presented for payment before a specified time. In this case, the deadline for presentation starts from this term.
The maturity of a bill of exchange at a certain time after sight is determined either by the date of acceptance or by that of the protest.
In the absence of a protest, the undated acceptance is deemed, with regard to the acceptor, to have been given on the last day of the time limit set for presentation for acceptance.
The maturity of a bill of exchange drawn at one or more months from date or sight takes place on the corresponding date of the month in which payment is to be made. In the absence of a corresponding date, the due date takes place on the last day of that month.
When a bill of exchange is drawn one or more months and a half from date or sight, the whole months are first counted.
If the deadline is set at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the month, these terms are understood to mean the 1st, 15th or last day of the month.
The expressions “eight days” or “fifteen days” do not mean one or two weeks, but a period of eight or fifteen effective days.
The expression “half a month” indicates a period of fifteen days.
When a bill of exchange is payable on a fixed day in a place where the calendar is different from that of the place of issue, the due date is considered to be fixed according to the calendar of the place of payment.
When a bill of exchange drawn between two places having different calendars is payable at a certain date, the date of issue is reduced to the corresponding day of the calendar of the place of payment and the due date is fixed accordingly.
The deadlines for presenting bills of exchange are calculated in accordance with the rules of the previous paragraph.
These rules do not apply if a clause in the bill of exchange, or even the mere words of the title, indicate that the intention was to adopt different rules.
The bearer of a bill of exchange payable on a fixed day or at a certain period of date or sight must present the bill for payment either on the day on which it is payable or on one of the two following working days.
Presentation of a bill of exchange to a clearing house is equivalent to presentation for payment.
The drawee may require, by paying the bill of exchange, that it be delivered to him paid by the bearer.
The holder cannot refuse a partial payment.
In the event of partial payment, the drawee may demand that this payment be mentioned on the bill and that a receipt be given to him.
Payments made to account on the amount of a bill of exchange are in the discharge of the drawer and endorser.
The holder is required to protest the bill of exchange for the remainder.
The bearer of a bill of exchange cannot be compelled to receive payment thereof before maturity.
The drawee who pays before the due date does so at his own risk.
Anyone who pays on the due date is validly discharged, unless there is fraud or gross negligence on his part. He is obliged to verify the regularity of the series of endorsements, but not the signature of the endorsers.
When a bill of exchange is stipulated payable in a currency not current at the place of payment, the amount thereof may be paid in the currency of the country, according to its value on the day of maturity. If the debtor is late, the holder may, at his option, request that the amount of the bill of exchange be paid in the currency of the country according to the rate, either on the due date or on the date of payment. .
The uses of the place of payment are used to determine the value of the foreign currency. However, the drawer may stipulate that the sum to be paid will be calculated according to a price determined in the letter.
The above rules do not apply
If the amount of the bill of exchange is indicated in a currency having the same denomination, but a different value, in the country of issue and in that of payment, it is presumed to have referred to the currency of the place of payment.
In the absence of presentation of the bill of exchange for payment on the day it is due, or on one of the two following working days, any debtor has the option of remitting the amount on deposit to the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, to the costs, risks and perils of the bearer.
Opposition to payment is only allowed in the event of loss of the bill of exchange or of reorganization or judicial liquidation of the bearer.
In the event of loss of an unsuccessful bill of exchange, the party to whom it belongs may continue payment on any subsequent bill.
If the lost bill of exchange is endorsed with acceptance, payment can only be demanded on any following by order of the judge and by giving surety.
If the person who has lost the bill of exchange, whether it is accepted or not, cannot represent any following, he can demand payment of the lost bill of exchange and obtain it by order of the judge by proving his ownership. by his books and by giving surety.
In the event of refusal of payment, on the demand made by virtue of the two preceding articles, the owner of the lost bill of exchange retains all his rights by an act of protest. This act must be done the day after the lost bill of exchange expires. The notices prescribed by article L. 511-42 must be given to the drawer and to the endorsers within the time limits set by this article.
The owner of the lost bill of exchange must, in order to obtain the next one, address himself to his immediate endorser who is bound to lend him his name and his care in order to act towards his own endorser, and thus by going back from endorser to endorser. up to the letter drawer. The owner of the lost bill of exchange bears the costs.
The surety’s commitment mentioned in Articles L. 511-33 and L. 511-34 is extinguished after three years, if, during this time, there have been no claims or legal proceedings.
RECOURSE FOR LACK OF ACCEPTANCE AND LACK OF PAYMENT
The holder may exercise his recourse against the endorsers, the drawer and the other obligees:
1o At maturity, if payment has not taken place;
2o Even before the deadline:
a) If there has been total or partial refusal of acceptance;
b) In cases of judicial reorganization or liquidation of the drawee, acceptor or not, of suspension of his payments even not established by a judgment, or of seizure of his property which has remained unsuccessful;
c) In cases of reorganization or judicial liquidation of the drawer of an unacceptable letter.
II. – However, the guarantors against whom an appeal is exercised in the cases provided for by b and c of I may, within three days of the exercise of this appeal, send to the president of the commercial court of their domicile a request to request delays. If the request is recognized as founded, the ordinance fixes the time at which the guarantors are required to pay the commercial instruments in question, without the time limits thus granted being able to exceed the date fixed for the due date. The order is not subject to opposition or appeal.
The refusal of acceptance or of payment must be recorded by an authentic instrument called protest for lack of acceptance or lack of payment.
Protest for lack of acceptance must be made within the time limit set for presentation for acceptance. If, in the case provided for in the first paragraph of Article L. 511-16, the first presentation took place on the last day of the deadline, the protest can still be made the next day.
Protest for non-payment of a bill of exchange payable on a fixed day or at a certain period of date or sight must be made on one of the two working days following the day on which the bill of exchange is payable. In the case of a bill payable on sight, the protest must be drawn up under the conditions indicated in the preceding paragraph to draw up the protest for lack of
Protest for lack of acceptance dispenses with presentation for payment and protest for lack of payment.
In the event of cessation of payment by the drawee, acceptor or not, or in the event of the seizure of his property having remained unsuccessful, the holder may exercise his recourse only after presentation of the bill to the drawee for payment and after making a protest. .
In the event of reorganization or judicial liquidation of the drawee acceptor or not as well as in the event of reorganization or judicial liquidation of the drawer of an unacceptable bill, the production of the declaratory judgment is sufficient to allow the bearer to exercise his remedies.
When the bearer agrees to receive in payment either an ordinary check, or a money order transfer to the Banque de France, or a postal check, the check or money order must indicate the number and due date of the bills thus paid. However, this indication is not required for checks or money orders created for the settlement between bankers of the balance of transactions carried out between them through a clearing house.
If the payment is made by means of an ordinary check and if the latter is not paid, notification of the protest for non-payment of the said check shall be made at the domicile of payment of the bill of exchange within the period provided for in article 41 of the decree-law of October 30, 1935 unifying the law in matters of checks and relating to payment cards. The protest for non-payment of the check and the notification are made by one and the same exploit, except in the case where, for reasons of territorial competence, the intervention of two ministerial officers is necessary.
If the payment is made by means of a money order and if it is rejected by the Banque de France, or by means of a postal check and if it is rejected by the postal check center holding the account to be debited, non-execution is the subject of an act of notification to the domicile of the issuer of said money order or postal check within eight days of the date of issue. This deed is drawn up by a bailiff or a notary.
When the last day of the period granted for the completion of the act of notification of the non-execution of the money order or postal check is a legal holiday, this period is extended until the first working day following the date. ‘expiry. Intermediate holidays are included in the calculation of the time limit. Legal holidays are assimilated to days on which, under the terms of the laws in force, no payment can be demanded or no protest made.
The drawee of the bill of exchange who receives the notification must, if he does not pay the bill of exchange as well as the costs of notification and, if necessary, of the protest of the check, return the bill of exchange to the ministerial officer. The latter immediately lodges a protest for non-payment of the bill of exchange.
If the drawee does not return the bill of exchange, an act of protest is immediately drawn up. The lack of restitution is noted there. The third party holder is, in this case, exempted from complying with the provisions of Articles L. 511-33 and L. 511-34.
Failure to return the bill of exchange constitutes an offense punishable by the penalties provided for in articles 314-1 and 314-10 of the penal code.
The holder must give notice of the default of acceptance or of payment to his endorser within four working days following the day of the protest or that of the presentation in the event of a free return clause.
Notaries and bailiffs are required, under penalty of damages, when the instrument indicates the name and domicile of the drawer of the bill of exchange, to notify him within forty-eight hours of the registration, by the by post and by registered letter, the reasons for the refusal to pay. This letter gives rise, for the benefit of the notary or the bailiff, to a fee, the amount of which is fixed by regulation in addition to the postage and registration costs.
Each endorser must, within two working days following the day on which he has received the notice, notify his endorser of the notice he has received, indicating the names and addresses of those who gave the previous notices. , and so on, going back to the shooter.
The deadlines indicated above run from receipt of the previous notice.
When, in accordance with the preceding paragraph, notice is given to a signatory of the bill of exchange, the same notice must be given within the same time limit to his guarantor.
In the event that an endorser has not indicated his address or has indicated it in an illegible manner, it is sufficient that the notice be given to the endorser preceding it.
Anyone who has advice can do so in any form,
He must prove that he gave the notice within the allotted time.
This period is considered to have been observed if a missive letter giving the notice has been mailed within the said period.
Anyone who does not give the notice within the period indicated above does not incur forfeiture; he is liable, if any, for the damage caused by his negligence, without the damages being able to exceed the amount of the bill of exchange.
The drawer, an endorser or a guarantor may, by the clause “return free of charge”, “without protest” or any other equivalent clause inscribed on the document and signed, exempt the holder from having a fault protest drawn up in order to exercise his remedies. of acceptance or lack of payment.
This clause does not exempt the holder from presenting the bill of exchange within the prescribed time limits or from the advice to be given.
The proof of non-observance of the deadlines is incumbent on the party who invokes it against the holder.
If the clause is entered by the drawer, it produces its effects with regard to all the signatories; if it is entered by an endorser or a guarantor, it produces its effects only in respect of the latter. If, in spite of the clause entered by the drawer, the holder causes a protest to be drawn up, the costs remain at his expense. When the clause emanates from an endorser, or an endorser, the costs of the protest, if one is drawn up, may be recovered against all the signatories.
All those who have drawn, accepted, endorsed or endorsed a bill of exchange are jointly and severally liable towards the bearer.
The holder has the right to act against all these people, individually or collectively, without being obliged to observe the order in which they are obliged.
The same right belongs to any signatory of a bill of exchange who has reimbursed it.
The action brought against one of the obligated does not prevent action against the others, even after the one who was initially prosecuted.
The holder may claim from the party against whom he exercises his recourse:
1o The amount of the bill of exchange not accepted or not paid with interest, if so stipulated;
2o Interest at the legal rate from the due date;
3o The costs of the protest, those of the notices given as well as other costs.
II. – If the recourse is exercised before the expiry date, a discount is made on the amount of the bill. This discount is calculated according to the official discount rate set by the Banque de France as it exists on the date of the appeal at the place of domicile of the holder.
Whoever has reimbursed the bill of exchange may claim from his guarantors:
1o The full amount he has paid;
2o The interest on the said sum, calculated at the legal rate, from the day he paid it;
3o The costs he incurred.
Any party against whom an appeal is exercised or who is exposed to an appeal may demand, against reimbursement, the delivery of the bill of exchange with the protest and a cleared account.
Any endorser who has repaid the bill of exchange may strike out his endorsement and those of subsequent endorsers.
In the event of a recourse being exercised after partial acceptance, the person who reimburses the sum for which the letter was not accepted, may demand that this reimbursement be mentioned on the letter and that he be given a receipt thereof. The holder must also give him a certified copy of the letter and the protest to allow subsequent recourse to be exercised.
After the expiry of the fixed deadlines:
1o For the presentation of a bill of exchange at sight or at a certain deadline at sight;
2o For the making of the protest for lack of acceptance or lack of payment;
3o For presentation for payment in the event of a free return clause,
the holder forfeits his rights against the endorsers, against the drawer and against the other obligated parties, with the exception of the acceptor.
II. – However, forfeiture only takes place with regard to the drawer if he can prove that he made a provision on the due date. The holder, in this case, retains action only against the one on whom the bill of exchange was drawn.
III. – In the absence of presentation for acceptance within the period stipulated by the drawer, the holder forfeits his rights of recourse, both for default of payment and for lack of acceptance, unless this results from the terms of the stipulation that the drawer intended to be exempt only from the guarantee of acceptance.
IV. – If the stipulation of a time limit for presentation is contained in an endorsement, the endorser alone may avail himself of it.
When the presentation of the bill of exchange or the making of the protest within the prescribed periods is prevented by an insurmountable obstacle such as the legal prescription of any State or any other case of force majeure, these periods are extended.
The holder is required to give, without delay, notice of the case of force majeure to his endorser and to mention this notice, dated and signed by him, on the bill of exchange or on an extension. For the rest, the provisions of article L. 511-42 are applicable.
After the cessation of force majeure, the holder must, without delay, present the letter for acceptance or payment and, if necessary, have the protest drawn up.
If the force majeure persists beyond thirty days from the expiry date, the remedies may be exercised, without the presentation or the making of a protest being necessary, unless these remedies are suspended for a period of time. longer period, by application of article L. 511-61.
For bills of exchange at sight or at a certain period after sight, the period of thirty days runs from the date on which the holder has, even before the expiry of the time limits for presentation, given notice of force majeure to his endorser. For bills of exchange after sight, the 30-day period is increased by the sight period indicated in the bill of exchange.
Facts purely personal to the bearer or to the person responsible for presenting the letter or making the protest are not considered to constitute cases of force majeure.
Independently of the formalities prescribed for the exercise of the action in guarantee, the bearer of a bill of exchange protested in default of payment may, by obtaining the permission of the judge, seize the movable effects of the drawers, acceptors and endorsers conservatively.
Forms of protests
Protests for lack of acceptance or payment are made by a notary or by a bailiff.
The protest must be made by one and the same act:
1o At the domicile of the party to whom the bill of exchange was payable, or at his last known domicile;
2o At the domicile of the persons indicated by the bill of exchange to pay it if necessary;
3o At the home of the third party who accepted by intervention.
In the event of a false indication of domicile, the protest is preceded by an act of search.
The act of protest contains the literal transcription of the bill of exchange, the acceptance, endorsements and recommendations indicated therein, the summons to pay the amount of the bill of exchange. It states the presence or absence of the one who has to pay, the reasons for the refusal to pay and the inability or refusal to sign.
No act on the part of the bearer of the bill of exchange may substitute for the act of protest, except in the cases provided for by articles L. 511-32 to L. 511-37 and by articles L. 511-40 and L. . 511-41.
Notaries and bailiffs are required, on pain of dismissal, costs, damages towards the parties, to leave an exact copy of the protests. Under the same penalties, they are also required to deliver against receipt to the clerk of the commercial court or the high court ruling commercially from the domicile of the debtor, or to send him by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt, an exact copy of the fault protests. for payment of accepted drafts and promissory notes. This formality must be completed within two weeks of the act.
Publicity of protests
The clerk of the commercial court keeps regularly up to date according to the denunciations made to him by the notaries and bailiffs, a nominative statement and by debtor of the protests for lack of payment of the accepted bills of exchange, promissory notes and checks as well. as certificates of non-payment of postal checks which are reported to him by the postal check centers. This report includes statements, the list of which is fixed by decree.
After the expiration of a period of one month from the day of the protest or of the establishment of the certificate of non-payment of the postal check and for one year from the same date, any applicant may be issued, at its expense, by the clerks of the aforementioned courts, an extract from the nominative statement provided for in article L. 511-56.
On deposit against receipt by the debtor of the instrument and the protest of the postal check and the certificate of non-payment or a receipt recording the payment of the check, the clerk of the commercial court makes, at the expense of the debtor, on the statement drawn up in application of Article L. 511-56, the cancellation of the notice of protest or the certificate of non-payment.
The documents filed may be withdrawn during the year following the expiration of the one-year period referred to in Article L. 511-57, after which the clerk is discharged.
Any publication, in any form whatsoever, of the statements drawn up under the provisions of this subsection is prohibited on pain of damages.
Extension of time limits
In the event of the mobilization of the army, public scourge or calamity, interruption of public services managed or subject to the control of the State or local authorities, decrees in the Council of Ministers may, for all or part of the territory, to extend the time limits within which protests and other acts intended to preserve remedies for all negotiable securities must be made.
Under the same circumstances and under the same conditions the maturities of negotiable securities may be extended.
Any person having the right to exercise a recourse may, unless otherwise stipulated, be reimbursed by means of a new letter called pension drawn on sight from one of his guarantors and payable at the domicile of the latter.
The pension includes, in addition to the amounts indicated in articles L. 511-45 and L. 511-46, a brokerage fee and the stamp duty of the pension.
If the retreat is drawn by the holder, the amount is fixed according to the rate of a bill of exchange at sight, drawn from the place where the original bill was payable at the place of domicile of the guarantor. If the pension is drawn by an endorser, the amount is fixed according to the course of a sight letter drawn from the place where the drawer of the pension has his domicile at the place of the domicile of the guarantor.
The replacement is regulated, for mainland France, uniformly as follows: 0.25% on the capitals of departments, 0.50% on the capitals of arrondissements, 0.75% on any other place.
In any case, there is no replacement place in the same department.
Spares cannot be combined. Each endorser supports only one and the drawer.
The drawer, endorser or guarantor may indicate a person to accept or pay as needed.
The bill of exchange can be, under the conditions determined below, accepted or paid by a person intervening for any debtor exposed to the recourse.
The intervenor can be a third party, even the drawee, or a person already bound by the bill of exchange, except the acceptor.
The intervenor is required to give, within two working days, notice of his intervention to the person for whom he intervened. In the event of failure to observe this deadline, he is liable, if necessary, for the damage caused by his negligence without the damages being able to exceed the amount of the bill of exchange.
Acceptance by intervention
Acceptance by intervention may take place in all cases where recourse is open before the bearer maturity date of an acceptable bill of exchange.
When a person has been indicated on the bill of exchange to accept or pay it if necessary instead of payment, the holder may not exercise before expiry his rights of recourse against the person who affixed the indication and against the subsequent signatories, unless he has presented the bill of exchange to the designated person and the latter having refused acceptance, this refusal has been evidenced by a protest.
In other cases of intervention, the holder may refuse acceptance by intervention.
However, if he admits it, he loses the remedies which belong to him before the expiry date against the one for whom the acceptance was given and against the subsequent signatories.
Acceptance by intervention is mentioned on the bill of exchange; it is signed by the speaker. It indicates on whose behalf it takes place; in the absence of this indication, the acceptance is deemed to have been given to the drawer.
The acceptor by intervention is obligated towards the bearer and towards the endorsers subsequent to the one on whose behalf he intervened, in the same way as the latter.
Despite acceptance by intervention, the party for which it was made and its guarantors may demand from the bearer, against reimbursement of the sum indicated in article L. 511-45, the delivery of the bill of exchange, the protest and ‘a cleared account, if applicable.
Payment by intervention
Payment by intervention may take place in all cases where, either at maturity or before maturity, recourse is open to the bearer.
The payment must include all the sum that would have to be paid by the one for which it takes place.
It must be made at the latest the day after the last day allowed for the making of the protest for non-payment.
If the bill of exchange has been accepted by parties domiciled at the place of payment or if persons domiciled in the same location have been indicated to pay as needed, the holder must present the bill to all these persons and have them drawn up. , if necessary, a protest for lack of payment at the latest the day after the last day allowed for the making of the protest.
In the absence of a protest drawn up within this period, the party who indicated the need or on whose behalf the letter was accepted and the subsequent endorsers cease to be bound.
The holder who refuses payment by intervention loses his recourse against those who have been released.
Payment by intervention must be evidenced by an acknowledgment given on the bill of exchange, with an indication of the person for whom it is made. In the absence of this indication, the payment is considered as made for the drawer.
The bill of exchange and the protest, if one has been drawn up, must be delivered to the payer by intervention.
The payer by intervention acquires the rights resulting from the bill of exchange against the party for whom he has paid and against those who are liable to the latter by virtue of the bill of exchange. However, he cannot endorse the bill of exchange again.
The endorsers subsequent to the signatory for whom payment has taken place are released.
In the event of competition for payment by intervention, the one that operates the most liberation is preferred. Whoever intervenes knowingly, contrary to this rule, loses his recourse against those who have been released.
PLURALITY OF COPIES AND COPIES
Plurality of copies
The bill of exchange may be drawn in several identical copies.
These copies must be numbered in the text of the title itself; otherwise, each of them is considered a separate bill of exchange.
Any holder of a letter not indicating that it was drawn in a single copy may demand at his expense the delivery of several copies. For this purpose, he must contact his immediate endorser who is required to take care of him in order to act against his own endorser and so on, going back to the drawer. Endorsers are required to reproduce endorsements on new copies.
Payment made on one of the copies is final, even though it is not stipulated that this payment cancels the effect of the other copies. However, the drawee remains liable for each copy accepted for which he has not obtained the return.
The endorser who has transferred the copies to different persons, as well as subsequent endorsers, are liable for all copies bearing their signature and which have not been returned.
The person who sent one of the copies for acceptance must indicate on the other copies the name of the person in whose hands this copy is found. The latter is required to deliver it to the legitimate bearer of another copy. If it refuses to do so, the holder can only exercise recourse after having made a protest notice:
1o That the copy sent for acceptance has not been returned to him at his request;
2o That the acceptance or the payment could not be obtained on another specimen.
Any holder of a bill of exchange has the right to make copies thereof.
The copy must reproduce exactly the original with the endorsements and all other particulars appearing therein. It must indicate where it stops.
It may be endorsed and endorsed in the same manner and with the same effects as the original.
The copy must identify the holder of the original title. The latter is required to deliver the said security to the legitimate bearer of the copy.
If he refuses to do so, the holder may not exercise recourse against the persons who have endorsed or endorsed the copy until after having made a protest notice that the original was not delivered to him at his request.
If the original title, after the last endorsement which occurred before the copy was not made, bears the clause: “from here on, the endorsement is valid only on the copy” or any equivalent form, an endorsement subsequently signed on the original is zero. ALTERATIONS
In the event of alteration of the text of a bill of exchange, the signatories subsequent to this alteration are bound by the terms of the altered text; the previous signatories are signed in the terms of the original text.
All actions resulting from the bill of exchange against the acceptor are prescribed by three years from the date of maturity.
The actions of the bearer against the endorsers and against the drawer are prescribed by one year from the date of the protest made in good time or from the expiry date, in the case of a free return clause.
The actions of the endorsers against each other and against the drawer are prescribed by six months from the day on which the endorser reimbursed the bill or from the day on which it was himself actuated.
The prescriptions, in the event of legal action, run only from the day of the last legal action. They do not apply if there has been a conviction, or if the debt has been recognized by separate deed.
Interruption of prescription only has effect against the party in respect of whom the interrupting act was made.
Nevertheless, the alleged debtors are required, if they are required to do so, to affirm, under oath, that they are no longer liable, and their surviving spouse, their heirs or assigns, that they believe in good faith that there is nothing more due.
Payment of a bill of exchange which is due on a statutory holiday can only be demanded on the first following working day. Likewise, all other acts relating to the bill of exchange, in particular presentation for acceptance and protest, may only be made on a working day.
When one of these acts must be completed within a certain period, the last day of which is a statutory holiday, this period is extended until the first working day following its expiration. Intermediate public holidays are included in the calculation of the time limit.
Statutory holidays are assimilated to days on which, under the terms of the laws in force, no payment can be demanded, nor any protest made.
Legal or contractual deadlines do not include the day from which they start to run.
No day of grace, neither legal nor judicial, is allowed except in the cases provided for by articles L. 511-38 and L. 511-50.