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📝Le droit processuel, prototype de l'Obligation de Compliance (General Procedural Law, prototype of Compliance Obligation), in 🕴️M.-A. Frison-Roche (dir.), 📕L'obligation de Compliance

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

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► Full ReferenceM.-A. Frison-Roche, "Le droit processuel, prototype de l'Obligation de Compliance"  (General Procedural Law, prototype of Compliance Obligation), in M.-A. Frison-Roche (dir.), L'obligation de ComplianceJournal of Regulation & Compliance (JoRC) and Dalloz, coll. "Régulations & Compliance", 2024, forthcoming.

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📝read the article (in French)

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🚧read the bilingual Working Paper on which this article was based, with additional developments, technical references and hyperlinks

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📕read the general presentation of the book, L'obligation de Compliance, in which this article is published

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► English Summary of this article: A number of ideas are beginning to emerge to describe the relationship that needs to be built up between General Procedural Law and Compliance Obligation, if only to take account of the emerging litigation in the field of Compliance Law.

At first sight, however, it would appear that Compliance Law does not give rise to any procedural obligation, since Compliance is designed to develop ex ante, in order to avoid the courts. Compliance by design should perfect this aim, the presence of any jurisdictional proceedings being a failure in itself and because of the delays and uncertainties that are associated with them by nature.

If we accept the presence of judges, lawyers and procedural rights and obligations, in particular the right of action and the rights of defence, for many it would be only in order to respect the Rule of Law, a tribute that must be paid, a dose of inefficiency within efficiency, thus pitting the disciplines against each other, in this case Law on the one hand and Economics and Management on the other. More often than not, we leave it at that, either to admit it and strike a balance, or to regret it and wait to see which logic will prevail, between procedural rights and obligations on the one hand and compliance rights and obligations on the other...

On the contrary, we must reject this logic of communicating vessels.

In fact, Compliance Law is an extension of Regulatory Law, which it extends beyond sectors and borders, and whose normativity is anchored in the Compliance Monumental Goals set by political and public Authorities, which aim to ensure that in the future systems do not collapse, or even improve so that the human beings who depend on them are not crushed by them but, on the contrary, benefit from them.

This gives rise to "systemic compliance litigation", which gives rise to specific procedural principles. First of all, it is important to clarify what a "systemic case" is, a concept that I proposed in 2021, and to which the cases that are now being brought before the courts correspond. The specific nature of these emerging systemic compliance disputes, which are objective disputes, similar to administrative disputes, which fully justifies the presence of the public prosecutor and raises the question of whether there would be a 'natural judge' for these systemic compliance disputes, have major procedural consequences, particularly on procedural rights and obligations: in particular the right to be a party to the proceedings, even if you are a party to the dispute, which is the case for the stakeholders.

The result is a new alliance between the Compliance Obligation and General Procedural Law, which gives rise to compliance obligations of a procedural nature within Compliance Law itself. It is no longer necessary to divide Ex Ante and Ex Post, but to borrow compliance principles and insert them into jurisdictional procedures, as envisaged by the Haut Conseiller François Ancel (moving from Ex Ante to Ex Post), while it is necessary to insert procedural principles into compliance obligations within companies (moving from Ex Post to Ex Ante), as shown in the book Compliance Jurisdictionalisation. This is particularly illustrated in relation to the Obligation of Vigilance, which is the spearhead of the Compliance Obligation. 

This is particularly relevant in relation to three procedural obligations which must now structure the compliance obligations in the behaviour of the companies and parties concerned, even independently of any jurisdictional proceedings, since the court may be called upon to verify their fulfillment on both sides and to promote them, which gives him/her an ex ante role: the obligation to discuss (adversarial principle), the obligation to provide information (evidentiary system) and the obligation to demonstrate (principle of the motivation).

This alliance thus changes both Compliance Law and Procedural Law, since it changes the role of the judge. But this question of the judge's office is the subject of a separate contribution for this book.

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