April 4, 2023

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

📧Face aux clauses de Compliance : le Juge (colloque du 7 avril 2023)

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

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► Full Reference: M.-A. Frison-Roche, "Face aux clauses de Compliance : le Juge (colloque du 7 avril 2023)" ("Facing Compliance clauses: the Judge (symposium of 7 April 2023)"), Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 4 April 2023.


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Compliance Law is starting to be known; mainly through two blocks:

Firstly the spectacular sanctions by which it made as its entry in Europe by the "BNPP sanction" of 2014.

🔴M.-A. Frison-Roche, 📝Le Droit de la Compliance, 2016

Secondly, the accumulation of tools, legal and non-legal, with which companies have equipped themselves: plans to detect and prevent breaches, internal investigations, mapping, ad hoc training, etc.

🔴M.-A. Frison-Roche (dir), 📘Compliance Tools, 2021


But what is the "compliance obligation" in the name of which these fearful and heavy sanctions are pronounced and these new and multiple tools are put in place?

We do not have a very clear idea.

That is why the Journal of Regulation & Compliance (JoRC) and its partner universities have chosen to focus on the topic of the Compliance Obligation in a series of symposiums held in 2023.

🔴JoRC, ðŸ—️L'obligation de compliance, 2023


It could be said that the company is "obliged" by Compliance because it is obliged by the Law, as Compliance would only mean obeying "regulations" (a term used to describe everything that is obligatory, from the Constitution to ethical charters, etc.). The English vocabulary "comply with" suggests this, as does the Chinese practice of Compliance. The difference would then only be the fact that the company shows its "stakeholders" that it does in fact respect all these texts that commit it.


But the practice and the jurist remember that what is sometimes considered as the heart of the Law, since Roman Law, is Obligations Law, having as its object Contract Law and Tort Law.


Yet, in practice, companies have put contracts concerning compliance everywhere, and they are relatively little studied.

🔴M.-A. Frison-Roche, 📝Contrat de compliance, clauses de compliance, 2023

These may be entire contracts whose very purpose is to entrust another with the task of fulfilling all or part of the compliance obligation incumbent on the company, with regard to personal data.

These may be clauses inserted in contracts with another purpose, for instance sales contracts in a value chain, where the company stipulates that the other company will also ensure compliance obligations for itself or for the other company, e.g. detect and prevent corruption, be vigilant, etc.

Contract Law has already taken on compliance in practice, especially in long-term economic transactions with an international dimension.

The judge has always been present in Obligation Law.


How is the triangle articulated: Judge - Compliance - Obligation?


The Judge has been present from the outset in the development of the Compliance Obligation through criminal liability, administrative liability and the obligation for the company to become a judge of itself, particularly through internal investigations.

🔴M.-A. Frison-Roche (dir.), 📘Compliance Jurisdictionalisation, 2023


The Judge is also present through Obligation Law stricto sensu, first of all through liability, which is transformed under the effect of the compliance system, which operates more in the logic of "accountability" and generates legal mechanisms of "ex ante liability".

🔴M.-A. Frison-Roche, 📝La responsabilité Ex Ante, pilier du Droit de la Compliance, 2022


In contractual matters, the Judge will intervene, in particular with regard to the stipulations which, in the contracts which form the architecture of the value chains, ensure the efficacy (and no longer only the effectiveness) of the duty of vigilance.

The Judge will then intervene under the French law of 2017, known as the "Vigilance Law",

🔴M.-A. Frison-Roche, 🚧Vigilance, Buts Monumentaux de la Compliance et "Société vigilante", 2023

but also, because the Judge is the "judge of the contract", he will intervene as such.


To identify the Obligation of Compliance, 

🔴M.-A. Frison-Roche (dir.), 📘Compliance Obligation, 2024

it is therefore necessary to analyse the way in which the Judge apprehends or should in the future apprehend contracts and compliance clauses.


That's why, in the above-mentioned cycle of symposiums, a symposium is being held on 7 April 2023. It is co-organised by the Journal of Regulation & Compliance (JoRC) and the Law Faculty of Perpignan, and has been designed under the scientific direction of Walid Chaiehloudj and Marie-Anne Frison-Roche.

🧮Le juge face aux clauses et aux contrats de compliance (The Judge facing clauses and contrats of compliance)


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