Institute of Global Law

French Legal News - Commercial Law

On 9 November 2004, the Criminal Division of the Cour de cassation rendered a decision on economic discrimination. A French firm had accepted to certify, within the framework of a documentary credit, that the goods sold to another firm established in the United Arab Emirates had no Israeli origin and would not be transported via Israel or by an Israeli company. Those documents had been signed by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Court considered that the French firm did not commit any discrimination with respect to the certification of the goods’ origin. But it judged that the document relating to the goods’ transport constituted a discrimination.

On 18 October 2004, M Canivet, the first President of the Cour de cassation, passed the report on the relationship between industrialists and supermarket distribution to Mr Sarkozy, the then Finance Minister. The purpose of this report is to limit the price of household goods.

On 5 October 2004, the ECJ condemned the French legislation prohibiting remuneration of sight accounts on the grounds that it constituted a restriction to the freedom of establishment and to the activity of the other Member States’ company subsidiaries set up in France.

On 11 February 2004, the Commercial section of the Cour de cassation held that the spouse of a person registered as commerçant cannot be included in insolvency proceedings against his/her spouse.

A government paper on insolvency has been published (www.justice.gouv.fr). This is the first step towards a major reform of French insolvency law, expected for 2004. The government paper extends insolvency proceedings to free-lance professions (“professions liberals”). It is also suggested in the paper that judicial administration could occur when insolvency is anticipated in the short term (before it actually takes place). A simplified procedure (up to a maximum of one year) is finally envisaged for simple cases.

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