France: A Game of Asymmetries, Optional and Asymmetrical Choice of Court Agreements Under French Case Law

  • François Mailhé
Part of the Ius Comparatum - Global Studies in Comparative Law book series (GSCL, volume 37)


France has a long tradition of favour towards choice of court agreements, dating back long before the Code civil. Optional choice of court clauses, though, are a marginal part of its abundant case law. But these few cases have recently brought a particularly intense debate. While French courts have sometimes upheld interpretation of clauses as being “to the sole benefit” of one party, allowing him to unilaterally renounce their effect, a stream of cases has paradoxically restricted the use of expressly asymmetrical clauses: they are now deemed inefficient by some courts if their optional part does not provide for objective elements allowing for the designation of the judge in the circumstances. This controversy, having given rise to no fewer than five cases in 3 years before the Cour de cassation, now firmly opposes two chambers of the Cour. The restrictive position seems condemned in the long run, but its aim is worth considering.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • François Mailhé
    • 1
  1. 1.Picardy-Jules Verne UniversityAmiensFrance

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