Edited by Jürgen Basedow, Giesela Rühl, Franco Ferrari and Pedro de Miguel Asensio
Preliminary Title. The Publication, Effects, and Application of Legislation in General
Statutes concerning public policy and safety are binding on all those living on the territory.
French law governs immovables, even those possessed by aliens.
Statutes concerning the status and capacity of persons govern French citizens even those residing in a foreign country.
An alien, even if not residing in France, may be cited before French courts for the performance of obligations contracted by him in France with a French person; he may be brought before the courts of France for obligations contracted by him in a foreign country towards French persons.
A French person may be brought before a court of France for obligations contracted by him in a foreign country, even with an alien.
Title V. Marriage
Chapter IV.bis. Conflict of Laws
The qualities and conditions necessary to be able to contract marriage are governed, for each spouse, by his personal law.
Nevertheless, two persons of the same sex may contract marriage when, for at least one of them, either his personal law, or the law of the State within which he has his domicile or his residence, permits it.p. 3209
A marriage is validly celebrated if it has been celebrated according to the formalities contemplated by the law of the State within which the celebration has occurred.
Chapter IV. Separation from Bed and Board
Divorce and separation from bed and board are governed by French law:
where both spouses are of French nationality;
where both spouses have their domicile on French territory;
where no foreign law considers it should govern whereas French courts have jurisdiction to hear a case of divorce or separation from bed and board.
Title VII. Filiation
Chapter I. General Provisions
Filiation is governed by the personal law of the mother on the day of the child’s birth; where the mother is unknown, by the child’s personal law.
However, should the child and his father and mother or any one of them have their usual common or separate residence in France, the possession of apparent status has all the consequences it produces according to French law, even when the other elements of the filiation might have depend upon a foreign law.
A voluntary acknowledgement of paternity or maternity is valid if it was done in accordance with either the personal law of his or her doer, or the child’s personal law.
Title VIII. Filiation by Adoption
Chapter III. Conflict of Laws Relating to Adoption and the Effectds in France of Adoptions Pronounced Abroad
The requirements for an adoption are governed by the national law of the adoptive parent or, in case ofadoption by two spouses, by the law which governs the effects of their union. An adoption however may not bedeclared when it is prohibited by the national laws of both spouses.
Adoption of a foreign minor may not be declared when his personal law prohibits such an institution, unless the minor was born and resides usually in France.
p. 3210Whatever the applicable law may be, adoption requires the consent of the legal representative of the child. The consent must be free, obtained without any compensation, subsequent to the birth of the child and informed as to the consequences of adoption, especially when it is given for the purpose of a plenary adoption, as to the full and irrevocable character of the breaking off of the pre-existing kinship bond.
The effects of an adoption declared in France are those of French law.
An adoption lawfully declared in a foreign country produces in France the effects of a plenary adoption if it breaks off completely and irrevocably the pre-existing kinship bond. If it does not, it produces the effects of a simple adoption. It may be converted into a plenary adoption where the required consents were given expressly and in full awareness.
Title XIII. The Civil Pact of Solidarity and Concubinage
Chapter I The Civil Pact of Solidarity
The conditions of formation and the effects of a registered partnership as well as the causes and effects of its dissolution are subject to the material provisions of the State of the authority that proceeded to its registration.
Title IX. Partnership
Chapter I. General Provisions
Any partnership whose registered place of business is located on the French territory is subject to French law.
Third parties may avail themselves of the registered place of business of the partnership but that place ofbusiness cannot be raised against them by the partnership if its actual place of business is located elsewhere.
Title XX. Extinctive Prescription
Chapter I. General Provisions
Extinctive prescription is subjected to the statute governing the right that it affects.
Code of Civil Procedure2
Book I Provisions Common to all Courts
Title I Preliminary Provisions
Chapter II Territorial Jurisdiction
The territorially competent court is, unless otherwise provided, that of the place where the defendant lives.
If there are several defendants, the plaintiff may, at his choosing, bring his case before the court of the place where one of them lives.
If the defendant has neither a known domicile nor residence, the plaintiff may bring his case before the court of the place where he lives or before the court of his choice if he lives abroad.
The place where the defendant lives means:
in relation to a natural person, the place where he has his domicile or, in default thereof, his residence,
in relation to a corporate entity, the place where it is established.
In real-estate matters, only the court of the place where the building is located has jurisdiction.
In matters of succession, until distribution has been completed, the following will be brought before the court of the district where the succession is opened:
actions among the heirs;
actions brought by the creditors of the deceased;
actions relating to the implementation of the dispositions causa mortis.
The plaintiff may bring his case, at his choosing, besides the court of the place where the defendant lives, before:
in contractual matters, the court of the place of the actual delivery of the chattel or the place of performance of the agreed service;
p. 3212in tort matters, the court of the place of the event causing liability or the one in whose district the damage was suffered;
in mixed matters, the court of the place where real property is situated;
in matters of support or contribution to the expenses of marriage, the court of the place where the creditor lives.
Where a judge or a representative of the law is a party to litigation within the jurisdiction of the court in the district of which he sits in office, the plaintiff may bring his case before a court sitting in an adjacent district.
The defendant and all parties to an appeal may likewise ask to remit the matter before a court referred to under the same conditions; Article 97 will then apply.
Any clause that departs, directly or indirectly, from the rules of territorial jurisdiction will be deemed non-existent unless it has been agreed between parties to a contract entered into as merchants and the same has been provided for in an explicit manner in the undertakings of the party against whom it will be enforced.
Book III. Specific Provisions Applicable to Certain Subject-Matters
Title I Natural Persons
Chapter V Procedure in Family Matters
Section I General Provisions
The territorially competent judge for family matters is:
the judge of the place where the family residence is located;
if parents live at different places, the judge of the place of the residence of the parent with whom the minor lives usually in the event of a joint exercise of parental authority, or that of the place of residence of the parent who exercises the parental authority alone;
in other cases, the judge of the place where the one who has not initiated the proceeding.
Where there is a joint application, the competent judge is, according to the choice of the parties, that of the place where the one or the other of them lives.
However, where the dispute concerns only matters of alimony, contribution to the maintenance and education of the children, the contribution to the household expenses or compensatory allowance, the competent judge may be the one where the creditor spouse lives or the one where the parent who assumes mainly the custody of the children, even the major ones, lives.
p. 3213The territorial jurisdiction is determined in relation to the residence on the date of the application or, in divorce matters, in relation to the residence on the date where the original petition has been brought.
Book II: Commercial Companies including Partnerships4and Interest Economic Groupings
Title 1: Preliminary Provisions
Article L 210–3
Companies whose registered office is located in France shall be subject to French law.
Third parties may rely for legal purposes on the registered office mentioned in the constitution or partnership deed. However, the company shall not be entitled to raise this against them if its actual office is located elsewhere.
Translation by David W. Gruning, Professor of Law, Loyola University, School of Law, New Orleans, Louisiana (USA); Revision by Juriscope (Expert Committee: Prof. Alain A. Levasseur, Hermann Moyse, Sr. and Henry Plauché Dart Professor of Law; Director, European Studies Program; Louisiana State University Paul M. Herbert Law Center, Fondation pour le Droit Continental, Conseil Scientifique, and Prof. John R. Trahan, Professor of Law, Louisiana State University, Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (USA)). The translation (Entry into force: 1 July 2013, last amendment translated: Act no 2013–404 of 17 May 2013) is reproduced from <www.legifrance.gouv.fr/content/download/7754/105592/version/4/file/Code_civil_20130701_EN.pdf> (last accessed on 26 January 2016). The editors wish to thank the Secrétariat Général du Governement for the permission to reprint the translation.
Translation by Juriscope with the participation of Yves-Antoine Tsegaye, Lawyer, Ph.D., LL.B.. The translation (Entry into force: 14 May 2005, last amendment translated: Decree no 2005–460 of 13 May 2005) is reproduced from <www.legifrance.gouv.fr/content/download/1962/13735/version/3/file/Code_39.pdf> (last accessed on 26 January 2016). The editors wish to thank the Secrétariat Général du Governement for the permission to reprint the translation.
Translation by Martha Fillastre, Amma Kyeremeh, Miriam Watchorn; Revision by Juriscope (Expert Committee: Dr. Jane Ball, Senior lecturer at Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University (United Kingdom), Prof. Michel Séjean, Professor of Private Law at Université de Bretagne Sud (France) and Prof. Anne Deysine, Professor at Paris Ouest Nanterre University, Director of a Master’ s Programme of International Business and Cross cultural Negotiation, Co-director of GGU Summer Law Programs, President of the MICEFA, a US/French consortium of academic cooperation. The translation (Entry into force: 1 July 2013, last amendment translated: Act no 2013–504 of 14 June 2013) is reproduced from <www.legifrance.gouv.fr/content/download/8016/107146/version/5/file/code_commerce_part_L_EN_20130701.pdf> (last accessed on 26 January 2016). The editors wish to thank the Secrétariat Général du Governement for permission to reprint the translation.
Translator’s note: The French term ‘société’ includes the equivalent of partnerships for which there is no separate legal term.