Paris, the Jurisdiction of Choice?

On January 17th, the President of the Paris Commercial Court (Tribunal de commerce) inaugurated a new international division.

The new division, which is in fact the 3rd division of the court (3ème Chambre), is to be staffed with nine judges who speak foreign languages, and will therefore be able to assess evidence written in a foreign language. For now, the languages will be English, German and Spanish, as one juge speaking Spanish and two speaking German are currently on the court.

In an interview to the Fondation de droit continental (Civil law initiative), the President of the Court explained that the point was to make French justice more competitive and attract international cases. It also made clear that France was following Germany’s lead, where several international divisions were established in 2009 in Hamburg and Cologne.

French Commercial Courts

It should be pointed out to readers unfamiliar with the French legal system that French commercial courts are not staffed with professional judges, but with members of the business community working part-time at the court (and for free). In Paris, however, many of these judges work in the legal department of their company, and are thus fine lawyers.

Also, French commercial courts (and French civil courts generally) virtually never hear witnesses, so the issue of the language in which they may address the court does not arise.

Some issues

So, the new international division will be able to read documents in several foreign languages. However, nothing suggests that parties or lawyers will be able either to speak, or to write pleadings, in any other language than French. Lawyers arguing these cases will still need to file their pleadings in French, and thus to translate them in English beforehand for their clients. Furthermore, the interview of the Court’s President seems to suggest that using a foreign language will not be a right for the parties. Quite to the contrary, it seems that it will not be possible if one of the parties disagrees, and demands documents be translated in French.

Will that be enough to attract additional commercial cases to Paris?

I wonder whether introducing class actions in French civil procedure would have been more efficient in this respect.

For the full interview of the Court’s President, see after the jump.



First Issue of 2021’s Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly

The first issue of Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly for 2021 features the following private international law articles:

Adrian Briggs, “A Conflict of Comity in the Enforcement of Judgments”

Patrick Dunn-Walsh, “Insurance Litigation under the Recast Brussels Regulation”

Anthony Kennedy, “A Place to Start”

Myron Phua and Serena Seo Yeon Lee, “Taxonomising “Quasi-Contractual” Anti-suit Injunctions” 

UK notifies that it considers the Brussels and Rome Convention to no longer apply to it

Steve Peers (University of Essex) has just published a series of Brexit-related documents on Twitter, two of which appear to confirm that by leaving the European Union, the UK also (believes to have) ceased to be a party to the 1968 Brussels Convention and the 1980 Rome Convention – which many have argued might revive between the UK and those EU Member States who are parties to them.

The two letters, sent by the UK Government to the Council of the EU, both contain the following paragraph:

The Government of the United Kingdom hereby notifies the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union that it considers that the [Brussels Convention] / [Rome Convention] ceased to apply to the United Kingdom and Gibraltar from 1 January 2021, as a consequence of the United Kingdom ceasing to be a Member State of the European Union and of the end of the Transition Period.

Book published on access to and knowledge of foreign law – in search of suitable cooperation instruments

Gustavo Cerqueira, Nicolas Nord (dir.), La connaissance du droit étranger: À la recherche d’instruments de coopération adaptés. Études de droit international privé comparé, Préface : Hélène Gaudemet-Tallon, Paris : Société de législation comparée, coll. “Colloques”, vol. 46, 2020, 268 p. Click here.

The authors’ foreword reads as follows (English translation):

On November 28, 2019, jurists from various backgrounds met at the french Cour de cassation in Paris to reflect on suitable instruments for international cooperation in establishing the content of foreign law.