On February 7th, 2018, the protocols establishing the International Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Paris ("CICAP" in French) were signed in the presence of the Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet, the President of the Paris Bar Marie-Aimée Peyron, and Chantal Arens and Jean Messinesi, presidents of the Court of Appeal and the Commercial Court of Paris.
The competence to judge international disputes
CICAP has jurisdiction to hear appeals from decisions in international commercial and financial disputes. In particular, it can decide appeals from judgments pronounced in first degree by the international chamber of the Commercial Court of Paris. This first degree of jurisdiction, in place for almost ten years and aligned with CICAP, is working well.
A hybrid procedure, inspired by certain common law mechanisms
The procedure before CICAP is designed to introduce the use of the English language while following the requirements of the 1539 Edict of Villers-Cotterêts which mandates the use of the French language in courtrooms. Though pleadings and judgments will be drafted in French, English-language exhibits may be produced in court without translation and the Registry will be responsible for translating judgments.
In addition, though hearings will as a general rule be held in French, simultaneous interpretation by an interpreter appointed by the court may be organized. Parties appearing before the judge, witnesses and technical specialists, including experts, who are foreigners, may speak in English if they wish. Simultaneous translation into French will also be provided to respect the public nature of hearings.
Moreover, the protocols welcome the use of §435 of the Code of Civil Procedure by the parties, which authorizes the holding of hearings in chambers. In such cases, translation solely motivated by the public nature of hearings can be avoided along with the related costs if the parties do not express the need for a translation; the judges are, in such cases, specially selected for their ability to understand and speak in English.
Beyond language, the proceedings before CICAP address some of the criticisms pointed out by common law lawyers. Unlike a common practice, the court will have to allow sufficient time for the parties to present the evidence and arguments they consider relevant in support of their case. In addition, the parties will have the opportunity to question the opposing party and witnesses and experts using the model of...