Litigation, Expert Witnesses and Arbitration in France

Cross-border business relations with France may give rise to legal disputes with an international component.

As a rule, the first question that arises in a cross-border dispute is the issue of the competent jurisdiction with regard to both the subject matter and the location.

Specific procedural arrangements will apply if the dispute is brought before an arbitration tribunal in France or a court under French jurisdiction in application of the rules of contractual or international jurisdiction.

We provide consulting services on all procedural issues relating to litigation before French courts as well as to expert witness and arbitration proceedings in France.

In addition to legal consulting, our team of attorneys with intercultural experience will also help you with practical support in the following areas.

Services relating to French Procedural Law on Litigation, Expert Witnesses and Arbitration:

  • Recovery of debts and sale of collateral in France
  • Assertion and defence of claims against companies in French insolvency proceedings
  • Amicable resolution of disputes with opposing parties in France
    (negotiations, preparation and monitoring of the execution of settlements)
  • Representation before courts throughout France (civil court / tribunal judiciaire, commercial court / tribunal de commerce, court of appeal / cour d’appel)
    (Conciliation hearing, summary proceedings, pleadings, oral proceedings at first instance and on appeal)
  • Consulting and representation in French and international conciliation and arbitration proceedings
  • Expert opinions (expertise judiciaire) in France
  • Sworn translations of German and French documents

Did you know that in France…

  • the language of the court is exclusively French? This means that in France, pleadings and all evidence must be submitted to the court in French. Any German evidence that is to be submitted must be translated into French and certified by a sworn translator. Otherwise, the French court may reject the documents in question.
  • commercial courts in France, except in Alsace and Moselle, are composed of lay judges (generally French businessmen with many years of professional experience)? This has a major impact on the presentation of arguments in written pleadings and in oral argument before the French commercial courts.
  • witnesses in a French court case – unlike in Germany – are often not heard orally in France? In France, witness testimony often has to be written in a very specific form.
  • in principle, French courts of first instance do not set preclusive time limits for the submission of pleadings? As a result, court proceedings in France can take a relatively long time.
  • in French litigation, unlike in Germany, the plaintiff does not have to pay an advance on legal costs based on the value of the dispute?
  • Procedural law in France does not normally provide for any (or only very limited) reimbursement of costs to the party that wins the case?
  • judicial processes in France are served not by the courts but by bailiffs (huissier de justice)?

Our German-French Team for Litigation, Expert Witnesses and Arbitration in France

Michael Ott
Rechtsanwältin - Of Counsel