12 June 2015

Recognition & enforcement of north american judgments

The recognition and enforcement of North American judgments in France is exclusively settled by French law. Indeed, France did not sign any treaty relative to mutual assistance in private legal matters with any of those countries.

A number of countries are concerned, in particular:

  • The United States of America,
  • Canada,
  • Mexico,
  • Bermuda,
  • Groenland,
  • Guatemala,
  • Nicaragua,
  • The Bahamas,
  • and many others…

Judgments originating from those countries will be subject to the provisions of article 509 of the French code of civil procedure as well as the conditions laid down by the famous Cornelissen case of February 20th, 2007. Essentially, the French judge will verify that the foreign judgment meets the following requirements:

  • The foreign Court has proper jurisdiction under French law,
  • The foreign judgment complies with French procedural and substantive public policies,
  • The foreign judgment was rendered without fraudulent forum shopping (evasion of the law)

As a matter of fact, in a recent case, the French supreme court (Cour de cassation) strictly applied the conditions of the 2007 case and refused to recognize the judgment in France because one of the conditions was not met (Cass. Civ 1ere December 17th, 2014 n°13-21365).

The enforcement of North American judgments on French territory is possible as long as the conditions laid down by French law are met. You can visit this page to learn more about the recognition process and this page to learn more about how to seize the assets of the debtor once the judgment is enforceable.

I have extensive experience in private international law matters and particularly with recognition and enforcement proceedings. You can use the Contact form if you have any questions or wish to enforce a foreign Judgment in France. You will receive a response within 24 hours.