Emmanuel Gaillard is head of the international arbitration group of Shearman & Sterling and managing partner of the firm’s Paris office. He is also a professor of law at the University of Paris XII. Jenny Edelstein is an associate of Shearman& Sterling, based in the Paris office.
Some people think that the use of alternative dispute resolution methods in France is something of a novelty. But, according to authors Emmanuel Gaillard and Jenny Edelstein, this is not the case. In fact, ADR use in France has survived the past two centuries, and currently there is a resurgence of interest in conciliation and mediation among French disputants and the judiciary. Gaillard and Edelstein review recent laws that serve to promote further use of these processes in France today.
In France today, ADR is regularly promoted by the authorities and legal scholars alike as a means of relieving the burden of the courts, and resolving disputes in a faster, simpler, and cheaper manner. Moreover, recourse to ADR in France carries with it a fashionably progressive, American connotation. This impression is, however, deceptive. In fact, a long tradition of alternative dispute resolution exists in France. Indeed, the principle of optional or mandatory conciliation as a preliminary to litigation has appeared in French legislation at various intervals and in varying forms over at least the past two centuries. There is also a relatively long-standing practice in France to use mediation to resolve disputes.