A legal notice is an advertisement that mentions the creation of a company.
These legal notices must appear in a journal authorised to publish legal ads (known as JAL in France), and which must be distributed in the district of the head office of the company (it can be a local, regional, or national journal).
The vast majority of legal notices concern the life of companies. They range from the small single-associate limited liability company (called EURL) to the big public limited company (known as SA), which is listed on the stock market. Posting a legal ad is not always mandatory, as in the case of individual companies. Such publication can sometimes be avoided, but most of the time, considering the formalities of company creation, it is necessary to inform third parties of the life of the companies.
When to publish a legal notice
The first publication of a legal advertisement by a company takes place when it is created, following the draft of its statutes. Whatever the chosen legal form (EURL, SARL, SASU, SCI...), the formalities to register the company include the publication of a legal ad in an authorized newspaper that is distributed, as mentioned above, at least on a weekly basis in the department of the head office of the company.
Other cases that involve the publication of a legal notice, which has to be made by the director of the company himself, or any person who represents him are, for example, a transfer of the registered address of the head office, a change of associates or directors, a modification of the activity of the company or its official name, etc.
It’s also mandatory to make two publications in an authorised journal for most of the processes that involve stopping the professional activity or closing the company. The first publication will be made to indicate that the activity is suspended whereas the latter is to inform about either the end or transfer of the company, or the decision to resume the activity. These procedures include, for example, the process of dissolution and liquidation or a “mise en sommeil”.
The legal ad can appear in national an authorised daily journal, such as Les Echos or Le Parisien, or in other regional ones like La Gazette du Val d’Oise, as long as the head office is located in the department. Many newspaper normally request the authorisation to publish legal ads, so a commission, under the control of the prefectural authority, meets every year to study and decide on the list of authorised newspapers for the following year. The list is then published every 15th of December and it can be found online.
Once your advertisement is published, you will receive two documents in your mailbox: a legal certificate of the publication in the journal of legal notices (this document is authentic and is the one that gives the announcement value for legal purposes), and a copy of the journal itself containing your legal notice.
The content of a legal notice
The mandatory information that must appear in any legal notice and which will make up its content in order to make a proper publication is, depending on the type of company, the following:
- The official name of the company, its acronym, and logo.
- The legal form.
- The amount of constitution capital.
- The address of the head office, which can be proven by means of a domiciliation agreement, a lease contract, etc.
- The activity that the company will carry out (to be presented in few words to reduce the cost of the legal notice).
- The duration of the company (normally up to 99 years at most).
- Identity of the Registry of Commerce and Companies (known in France as RCS) corresponding to the company in question.
- Complete names and addresses of the directors and other associates (in the case of SAS and SASU) who have the power to decide on the company.
The information to be included in the legal advertisement comes from:
- The statutes of the company.
- The decisions taken in the general assembly, or by the single-associate, depending on each case.
- Other legal documents at your disposal (the K-bis extract, for example).
As far as the appearance of a legal notice in the journal is concerned, the law stipulates a standard format, as it is not a commercial advertisement. Every legal ad adopts the style of the newspaper in which it appears. Each newspaper has a standard model that applies to the text when you enter it. The only possible customisation of a legal notice is the use capital letters and writing in bold some parts of the text like the name of the company.
The price of a legal ad is fixed by law, so it doesn't matter which journal you choose. However, the price of the publication does vary depending on its length (the price is per line of text, so the longer the text is, the more expensive is the legal notice). Generally, this cost is between 125 and 225 euros without including the taxes.