Secured Transactions Reform and Access to Credit

Secured Transactions Reform and Access to Credit

Elgar Financial Law series

Edited by Frederique Dahan and John Simpson

The chapters presented here provide, for the first time, a comprehensive and cutting-edge view of the subject – from both a legal and economic perspective. They start at the macro level of financial systems, moving towards the behaviours of lenders (commercial banks and micro-lenders), policy options for government and the mechanisms of collateral law reform.

Chapter 12: Recent Reform in France: The Renaissance of a Civilian Collateral Regime?

Marie-Elodie Ancel

Subjects: economics and finance, financial economics and regulation, law - academic, finance and banking law


Marie-Elodie Ancel 12.1 BACKGROUND ‘Impossible is not French’. That is what Napoléon replied (or is reputed to have replied) to one of his generals who considered a certain military manoeuvre to be impossible. For a long time, reforming French secured transactions law seemed unthinkable. A major change has finally happened with the Ordinance of 23 March 2006, which has created a Book IV dedicated to security rights and guarantees in the Civil Code.1 The purpose of this chapter is to present this reform’s main departing features from the former regime, as well as the processes which led to its adoption. Unsurprisingly, the reform was led (and misled in some aspects) by political forces which made the new regime far less rational and balanced than one would have liked. Yet this example of a civil law country reform may well provide some important lessons and inspirations to other countries, and also destroy some of the myths surrounding the so-called civil law tradition.2 12.1.1 Original Coherence French law was based on very strong and, seemingly, inflexible foundations which were laid down two centuries ago when the French Civil Code (FCC) was drafted. At that time, just after the Revolution, France was eager to recover peace and stability. So strict principles were adopted to take into account the interests of all stakeholders, based on the understanding of those interests at that time: 1 French Civil Code (FCC), art. 2284 et seq. Access to the FCC in French, English and Spanish is...

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