March 24, 2023


🖥️Propos introductifs : Les buts monumentaux de la vigilance, in🧮La société vigilante

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

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► Full Reference: M.-A. Frison-Roche, "Propos introductifs : Les buts monumentaux de la vigilance" (Introductory remarks: The Monumental Goals of Vigilance), in La société vigilante ("The Vigilant Company"), Aix-Marseille University, Institut de Droit des Affaires, March 24, 2023.


This conference is done in French; read its English Summary below⤵️

🧮see the complete program of the manifestation (in French)


► English Summary of the conference: "Vigilance" is intriguing because, although it occurs in many branches of Law and is familiar in "banking compliance", in a form that is moreover reinforced since it is an obligation of vigilance on the part of the banker about a client whom he/she should "know", it is the "duty of vigilance" that made this notion famous. One could almost say scandalously famous because of a French law of 2017 that now bears its name, called the "Vigilance Law", whereas other laws bear the name of the minister who thought of it, which due diligence (vocabulary used for the European directive) does not erase.  

The current challenge is to take the right measure of what "vigilance" is.

Vigilance goes beyond the French Loi Vigilance, which is not enough to express what it is in its few dispositions. To say what it is in the legal system, to use it in practice, to propose the intellectuel legal exercice of qualification, Vigilance must be thought of in Compliance Law, of which it is both a "Tool" and the most advanced point, as shown by the European Directive, whose discussions during its elaboration show these design issues.

Thus, like the whole of Compliance Law, Vigilance is understood, deployed, analysed and exercised through what underpins and gives meaning to all these constantly changing regulations, powers, and obligations, through Compliance Monumental Goals which give it stability and simplicity. This is the least that can be done in a mechanism that has the ambition to organise the "sustainability" of economic relations.

But while Vigilance expresses and concretizes Compliance Monumental Goals, it must not go beyond measure.

In fact, to set up structures, use tools and behave in such a way that human rights and nature are effectively and extraterritorially protected, both negatively and positively, these obligations of the company, which is the natural subject of the "duty", more generally the natural subject of Compliance Law, see its legal powers increased, these means being required for the company to fulfil its new obligations, first legal, then contractual, soon to be unilaterally formulated.

Perhaps we should conceive of a "vigilant company" and not just a company that, beyond and through its economic activity, cares for others and the world, but a company that "watches over" everything and on everything would be to go beyond the measure, to make companies the "regents" of the world and the people who live in it.

Faced with this perspective to be excluded, the construction of a Europe of Compliance, which does not be reduced to corruption fighting or environment protection, and draws on its humanist tradition, distinguishing itself in this respect from the American and Chinese compliance systems, is the major challenge. 

Companies are not the alpha and omega, but they are one of the elements of an Alliance between the political Authorities and the population, its link, the one that allows us to escape from the limit of the territory, in what we call by this inadequate term of "extraterritoriality". It is rather a question of going beyond territories, required by the Compliance Monumental Goals of Compliance, of which Vigilance is the advanced point.


🚧read the English Working Paper, basis of this conference: "Vigilance, Compliance Monumental Goals, and "Vigilant Company""


📈see the slides created for this conference (in French)


📝read the article published after this conference


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