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At a three-hour meeting in Paris on May 17, the commission resolved the deadlock that had emerged during the reform bill’s two readings in the Senate and Assemblée Nationale, and agreed on a final text for the new law.

The text was due to get the government’s rubber-stamp on May 22 before being submitted to both houses for ratification: on May 23 in the Assemblée Nationale, some time in June at the Senate.

If, as expected, those votes go through without a hitch, the reform will come into effect once the “decrees of application” are issued by the government, “probably by the end of the year”, according to the Chambre Nationale des Commissaires-Priseurs (national auction body).

Gérard Champin, president of the Chambre Nationale, admitted that he was “rather surprised” that the bicameral commission had reached agreement given the repeated modifications each house had introduced to the government’s original text during parliamentary readings.

He acknowledged that this new show of parliamentary unity would render an appeal to the Conseil Constitutionnel to block the reform on the grounds that it provided commissaires-priseurs with inadequate compensation more problematic, but not impossible. He said he still regarded the level of proposed compensation as inadequate, but that commissaires-priseurs would study the new text before deciding on further action.