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Boundary marking (“Bornage”) pursuant to French law

What is boundary marking (“bornage”) pursuant to French law?

Boundary marking (“bornage”) consists in the delimitation of the separating line of two lands, with the help of material signs, the boundary markers.

How is boundary marking (“bornage”) defined in French law?

Boundary marking is a right of the owner to delimit his property adjacent to that of his neighbor. This right can only be exercised if there is a disagreement between the two parties.

Boundary marking can only be requested to delimit two contiguous properties and does not apply if the separation is already obvious, such as in the case of a public road or a natural boundary.

The right to boundary marking applies only to owners of separate private properties, which excludes co-owners or undivided co-owners. The demarcation is final and prevents any new application for the same purpose.

However, the demarcation does not preclude on the question of ownership, which may be the subject of a subsequent claim.

What are the modalities of the implementation of boundary demarcation in France?

The demarcation can be amicable or decided by a court claim (called “action en bornage”, i.e., “demarcation claim”) in the absence of an agreement.

This claim is imprescriptible but requires the consent of the undivided co-owners holding at least two-thirds of the undivided rights. It is governed by the rules of the real estate action and falls under the jurisdiction of the judicial court.

Prior to the demarcation claim, the parties must attempt an amicable resolution by conciliation, mediation or participatory procedure, with some exceptions.

The judge examines the documents submitted and asks for a survey to materialize the dividing line of the lands, at the expense of all parties concerned.

French legal texts governing demarcation :

- French Civil Code, art. 646

- French Code of Judicial Organisation (« Code de l'organisation judiciaire »), art. R. 211-3-4

Main French Court decisions:

- Civ. 3rd, Apr. 27, 2000

- Civ. 3rd, Nov. 19, 2015, no. 14-25.403

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