A Comparative Law Approach
Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture series
Edited by Jean-Bernard Auby, Emmanuel Breen and Thomas Perroud
Chapter 10: Is (French) continental law efficient at fighting conflicts of interests?
The question may sound peculiar. Peculiar, on the one hand, because continental law is surely not a monolithic bloc - and neither is the common law: although there are main lines of forces identifying the civil law legal system, each civil/continental law country has a different, and a singular approach to this system and to the enforcement of legal rules. The question may also sound peculiar, on the other hand, because 'fighting' or, better put, 'managing' conflicts of interests, although necessarily requiring the adoption of specific rules, is also and maybe rather the result of an organizational culture and of the voluntary implementation of conflict of interest policies specifically designed for public officials and for the civil service. And, on that score, the distinction between legal systems might sound irrelevant. Nonetheless, the question of whether continental law is efficient at fighting conflicts of interests was inferred in France in 2011, although only incidentally, during the course of the elaboration of a draft statute for the prevention of conflicts of interests - which was finally adopted in 2013. This statute is the result of intense researches and thinking of an ad hoc commission - the State Commission looking at the prevention of conflicts of interests - chaired by the vice-president of the French Council of State (Conseil d'Etat) and composed of two other judges - one civil and one financial. This Commission handed its report, entitled 'For a New Public Ethic', to the French President of the Republic at the end of December 2010.
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