What is a auctioneer or a commissioner of justice

Although the historic term “commissaire-priseur”, or auctioneer in English, is commonly used in French, the profession has, in fact been divided into two distinct professions since 1 July 2022 (following the Macron law of 6 August 2015):

  • The profession of commissioner of justice unites the former professions of judicial auctioneers and bailiffs. Commissioners of justice are ministerial officers appointed by order of the Garde des Sceaux who conduct judicial sales, i.e. those prescribed by law or court order.
  • Auctioneers conduct voluntary sales, i.e. sales of goods freely entrusted for sale by their owners. They work in commercial companies (Société de Ventes Volontaires or S.V.V.).

During auctions, the auctioneer or commissioner of justice sell the lots to the highest bidders. They include all bidders, whether they are present in the auction room, on the phone or online. They may also bid on behalf of absent bidders who have left fixed purchase orders.


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The Chambre Nationale des Commissaires de Justice is the representative body for this profession.
More information on the CNCJ website: https://commissaire-justice.fr/ 

The Conseil des Maisons de Ventes (CMV) is the regulatory authority for these voluntary sales operators.
More information on the of the CMV website: https://conseilmaisonsdevente.fr/fr

The Syndicat National des Maisons de Ventes Volontaires (SYMEV) is a professional organisation representing public auction houses. Its main purpose is to promote the principle of auction sales, to lobby the French and European public authorities and to implement institutional communication operations aimed at improving the image of public auctions.
More information on the of the SYMEV website: http://symev.org/ 

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