Law and Compliance in France

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Business Contract

General Observation
You must define precisely the seller's obligations and the methods of quality control. .
Law Applicable to the Contract
France is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on international contracts. The French legal system is complex. It is not easy for a foreigner to understand French law, so it is recommended that international laws be used or an arbitration system be called upon. International laws are generally accepted in contracts draw up with French companies.
Advisable Incoterms
It is preferable to choose an incoterm FOB or CIF. Avoid EXW, if you do not want to have to take care of the transport in France which can be complicated.
Language of Domestic Contract
French, English or any other language is possible if both parties agree.
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
If French law is not used, the law of the other contracting party must be chosen.

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Independence of Justice
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
The Language of Justice
Recourse to an Interpreter
Legal Similarities
French law has various sources: the Constitution, laws voted by Parliament, ministerial decrees and orders, international conventions and treaties ratified by France.
Because France belongs to the European Union, national law conforms to the requirements of Community legislation.
There are legal similarities with all the countries whose law has come from Roman law.

The Different Legal Codes

Accounting regulations The 4th Community Directive, incorporated at the national level by the accountancy Act of 30 April 1983, integrated in the Code of Commerce and completed by the law of 31/12/1989 relative to the simplified regime for small companies.
The 7th Community Directive and the law of 3/01/1985 concerning groups of companies (consolidated accounts).
The doctrine.
Contract and property law Civil Code
Customs law Customs Code in conformity with Community law
Consumer law Code of consumption
Company law Code of Commerce
Civil Code
General Tax Code
Monetary and Financial Code
Investment law Monetary and Financial Code
Bilateral conventions
Labor law Labor Code
The Collective Agreements (interprofessional agreements conducted at the national level, local agreements containing the rules common to a profession, company agreements, or of an establishment, taking into account the characteristics of the company and its employees).
All practical information on Labor law, click here
Checking National Laws Online
The constitution in English
Other Useful Resources
Ministry of Justice
Information on French justice
Legifrance, List of Codes
Legal Portal
Country Guides
Country Guide Loyrette Nouel

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The Jurisdictions

Disputes with the State, the Administration, local administration concerning their decisions Tribunal Administratif (Administrative Tribunal)
Cours d’Appel Administrative (Administrative Court of Appeal)
Conseil d’Etat (Council of State)
Disputes relative to work contracts, disputes between employers and employees Conseil des Prud’hommes (Industrial Tribunal)
Commercial disputes Tribunal de Commerce (Commercial Tribunal)
Cours d’Appel (Court of Appeal)
Cours de Cassation – Section Commerciale (Supreme Court of Appeal - Commercial Section)
Third party liability and insurance, civil status of persons, real estate Tribunal d’Instance (Magistrate's Court) (< 10 000 EUR)
Tribunal de Grande Instance (County Court) (> 10 000 EUR)
Criminal liability (bankruptcy, misappropriation of funds, complicity, etc.) Tribunal de Police (contraventions) (Police Court) (fines)
Tribunal Correctionnel (délits) (Court of Summary Jurisdiction) (offences)
Cour d’assises (crimes) (Court of Assizes) (crimes)
Cours d’Appel annuaire des juridictions (Court of Appeal directory of jurisdictions)
Cours de Cassation – Section Criminelle (Supreme Court of Appeal - Criminal Section)

Court Officials

Avocat (Lawyer/Barrister)
The lawyer's first role is to inform his clients about their rights and obligations. Then he is able to represent and defend them in a court of law.
Expert judiciaire (Legal expert)
A judge appoints a duly authorized professional who will review information in order to clarify certain elements of a case.
Greffier (Clerk of the Court)
All during the procedure, he will write down the exchanges, declarations and observations.
Huissier (Bailiff)
He is a legal officer responsible for serving legal process and for enforcing court decisions.
Juge (Judge)
He is the one who decides if the law has been broken or not, as well as the penalties which ensue.
Procureur de la république (State prosecutor)
He is a magistrate who represents the Prosecution in the county court ( tribunal de grande instance).
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