Paris District Court has sole jurisdiction over matters regarding parent companies’ duty of care
French judges and French legislators have recently recognized the jurisdiction of the Paris District Court regarding disputes related to the application of Law No. 2017-399 of March 27, 2017 on parent companies’ duty of care.
• In a case rendered on December 15, 2021 published in its official Bulletin, the French Court of Cassation put an end to the dispute regarding the Court - Commercial or District – having jurisdiction to enjoin a parent company to effectively implement a vigilance plan.
Court of Cassation’s Commercial Chamber struck down a previous decision from the Versailles Court of Appeals, which had ruled that the Commercial Court had jurisdiction. It also held that the vigilance plan, although directly related to the management of the company, was not a “commercial act.” Consequently, plaintiffs who are not considered as “businessmen” have an option between seizing the District Court rather than the Commercial one.
• The effects of such decision were however short-lived. Indeed, a few days later, the legislator definitively closed the debate by assigning all litigation relating to the duty of care to the Paris District Court by creating article L. 211-21 of the Code of Judicial Organization.