Edited by Frederique Dahan and John Simpson
Chapter 12: Recent Reform in France: The Renaissance of a Civilian Collateral Regime?
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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