Certificat de coutume (a statement or certificate issued to attest the content of a foreign law rule) – Practices in International Business Law – Conference, April 12, 2022, Conseil supérieur du notariat, Paris – in French

The Société de législation comparée is organising, in partnership with the French Conseil supérieur du Notariat, the universities of Nîmes, Strasbourg and Lyon and with the Institut des Usages (Montpellier), an international symposium dedicated to the Certificat de coutume.

The importance of the subject is major. Statement or written certificate on the content of a foreign law rule, the Certificat de coutume is subject to a heterogeneous practice both in terms of its establishment and its processing.

Ignored by many jurists, its reliability is often called into question due to a double insufficiency that it may conceal: with regard to the law attested when it is issued by a public authority, with regard to the impartiality when it is issued by a private person.

However, these criticisms are not insurmountable. In addition to the combination with other means of establishing the content of the foreign law rule in question, the Certificat de coutume does not avoid obliterate any contradictory discussion and the freedom of interpretation of the authority before which it is produced. The liabilities associated with the Certificat de coutume, whether that of the drafter, the counsel of the parties or the notary using such a certificate, constitute a formidable safeguard against tendentious approaches.

Above all, we must not ignore the virtues of empiricism, which could – in these times of debates regarding a future codification of French private international law – reveal important and good practices to be considered de lege ferenda.

The real added value of this project therefore lies in the desire to lift the veil on the Certificat de coutume, which currently constitutes a blind spot in private international law. Its name is certainly known to all, but its legal system still appears to be embryonic. The ambition of the symposium is to do constructive work and to offer concrete proposals, fruit of a collective reflection, bringing together the essential players in this field.

The symposium will be held in French on 12 April 2022 at the Amphitheater of the French Higher Council of Notaries (60 boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg – Paris, 7th).

Prior registration is required before April 7, 2022 by sending an email to: emmanuelle.bouvier@legiscompare.com

Conference validated as continuing education for lawyers.

Programme and description in French: https://www.legiscompare.fr/web/Certificat-de-coutume-Pratiques-en-droit-des-affaires-internationales-12-avril

The Programme is as follows:


Practices in international business law

Scientific direction

Gustavo Cerqueira, professor at the University of Nîmes

Nicolas Nord,  Secretary General of the International Commission on Civil Status

Cyril Nourissat, professor at Jean Moulin University – Lyon 3

Opening / 8:45 a.m.

Me David Ambrosiano, president of the Conseil supérieur du notariat        

Me Pierre-Jean Meyssan, 2nd vice-president of the CSN, in charge of legal affairs


Introduction / 9:00 a.m.

Certificat de coutume: historical and functional aspects

Bertrand Ancel, professor emeritus at the University of Paris II Panthéon Assas


I. Establishment of the certificat de coutume / 9:30 a.m.

under the chairmanship of Bernard Haftel, professor at the Sorbonne Paris Nord Univ.

9:30 a.m. The purpose of the certificate

Determination of the purpose of the certificate

Gilles Vercken, lawyer at the Paris Bar


Attestation of uses

Pierre Mousseron, professor at the University of Montpellier

Kevin Magnier-Merran, lecturer at the University of Lorraine


Articulation of the sources of foreign law

Gustavo Cerqueira, professor at the University of Nîmes


Coffee break

10:50 a.m. The writer of the certificate

The plurality of actors

Nicolas Nord, Secretary General of the ICCS


The challenges of choosing an editor

Karlo Fonseca Tinoco, lawyer at the São Paulo Bar


11:30 a.m. The certificate method

Developing the certificate – comparative approaches

Alejandro Garro, professor at Columbia University, NY


Editor’s discretion

Cyril Nourissat, professor at Lyon 3 University


II. The processing of the certificat de coutume / 2:00 p.m.

under the chairmanship of Laurence Usunier, professor at CY Cergy Paris Univ.

2:00 p.m. The interest of the certificate for the parties

Jacques-Alexandre Genet, lawyer at the Paris Bar


2:20 p.m. The value of the certificate for the authorities

Jean-Luc Vallens, honorary magistrate, former Pr. assoc. at Unistra

Louis Degos, arbitrator, managing partner KL Gates LLP – Paris

Pierre Tarrade, notary, rapp. general of the 115th congress of notaries of France


3:20 p.m. Certificate distortion control

Sylvaine Poillot-Peruzzetto, SE Advisor at the Court of Cassation


Coffee break

III. Certificat de coutume Responsibilities / 4:00 p.m.

under the chairmanship of Etienne Farnoux, professor at Unistra

4:00 p.m. The editor’s responsibility

Thibault de Ravel d’Esclapon, lecturer at Unistra


4:20 p.m.  The responsibility of the council of the parties

Olivier Berg, lawyer at the Paris Bar


4:40 p.m. The liability of the notary using a certificate

Marc Cagniart, first vice-president of the Chamber of Notaries of Paris


Conclusion: Perspectives de lege ferenda / 5:00 p.m.

Pascal de Vareilles-Sommières, professor at the University of Paris I