Société Ryanair Ltd Et Société Airport Marketing Services Ltd v. Syndicat Mixte Des Aéroports De Charente (SMAC) French Court of Cassation, 8 July 2015 - European International Arbitration Review (EIAR) - Volume 4 - Issue 2
On 8 July 2015, the French Court of Cassation, in the landmark SMAC decision, quashed the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal and affirmed that the enforcement of a foreign award involving a public procurement contract fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the judicial courts as opposed to the administrative courts.
In France, arbitration in the context of administrative law and in particular of contracts subject to administrative law has been a recurrent subject of discussion. French law has traditionally been said to be restrictive in permitting arbitration for administrative law disputes. Article 2060 of the French Civil Code prohibits domestic disputes involving the State or public entities to be referred to arbitration. These disputes are thus referred to administrative courts – the highest court being the Conseil d’Etat – that apply administrative law.
Although the Court of Cassation has excluded international disputes from this provision , the administrative courts and a large number of French administrative law specialists remain reticent with respect to arbitration in the context of administrative contracts. Their driving concern is that the limited review of arbitral awards by national civil courts does not sufficiently safeguard French public policy.