France - World Arbitration Reporter (WAR) - 2nd Edition
Denis Bensaude is an International Arbitrator, based in Paris, member of the New York and Paris Bars.
Originally from World Arbitration Reporter (WAR) - 2nd Edition
I. INTRODUCTION: ARBITRATION IN FRANCE—HISTORY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
A. History and Current Legislation on Arbitration
1. Historical evolution of law relating to Arbitration
France has always recognized arbitration as a mean of settling disputes. Depending on the time period, arbitration was seen more or less favourably by the French courts or by the legislator. Frequently used in France during the middle-ages period, arbitration was made mandatory among merchants during the renaissance period and was very popular at the time of the French revolution where the right to arbitrate disputes was made a constitutional principle. Some hostility towards arbitration arose during the 19th century and eventually, arbitration was specifically authorized in the Code of commerce for settling business disputes in domestic matters in 1925. Arbitration has now for long been and still is considered in France to be the “normal mode of dispute resolution” in the field of international commerce, and the French arbitration community was among the promoters of the New York Convention of 1958 on the recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (the “1958 New York Convention”). The 1958 New York Convention entered into force in France on 24 September 1959. In the 1980’s, the French government codified by decree the French courts’ past rulings on arbitration, and modernised French arbitration law. In 2001, the French Civil Code (C. civ.) was amended to allow domestic arbitration for disputes concerning professional matters. On 1st May 2011, the French Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) was again amended and the provisions of the 1980’s decrees were replaced by those of decree No. 2011-48 of 13 January 2011. Again, this reform codified French court’s case law and modernized French domestic and international arbitration law. In 2016, the French civil Code was again modified to affirm a principle of validity of arbitration agreements in domestic disputes, including where parties do not act as professionnals.
2. Current law
The above-mentioned 2011 reform inserted the provisions of decree No. 2011-48 into Articles 1442 to 1527 of the CPC. This reform maintained French law’s distinction between domestic and international arbitration. The provisions of the 2011 decree are generally applicable as from 1st May 2011; however, the 2011 decree provides for a number of transitory provisions.