April 16, 2018


It is about a particular case that one can rephrase the general questions. If the case is hot, it is even more important to return to the general questions, which are always colder (more boring, too).

Thus, Cambridge Analytica is a case of which everyone speaks a lot ... It is at the same time particular and very burning.

So we talk about it a lot, and with vehemence, and in a way often definitive, as well in attack as in defense.

For the prosecution, there are many advocacies, gathered for example in the Guardian's files.

For the defense, we find less. But one can read for example the article that has been published in early April 2018: Why (almost) everything reported about the Cambridge Analytica Facebook 'hacking' controversy is wrong.

The number of comments, and their more or less inflamed nature, in any case always definitive, does not mean anything in itself.

The regulators took the floor a little later, both in a more concrete way, the "group of 29" (bringing together all the European Regulators personal data) establishing the 11 April 2018 a working group on this subject and publishing April 10, 2018 new guidelines on the place that must be made to "consent".

But for the moment, if we loof at the media, it looks like a trial, because everyone claims to be entirely right and pretends that the other is entirely wrong. Trial to break the truth and virtue, say the accusers. Trial in witchcraft, says Facebook. And it's always up to us.

Because all this is probably due to the fact that we are no longer spectators: we are placed in the judge's position. The financial market was the first judge. It has already condemned. Without really trying to find out. This is because the public good of the financial markets is Trust, it is enough that one can even suspect the wife of Caesar, and so it is not really matter of truth of the facts and goof application of Rule of Law.

For the public opinion that we are, this is something else, because we could wait to know more. And we should, since we seek to remain a little attached to the "truth " of the facts and respect for the Rule of Law. However, this case is complex and is above all a matter of judicial analysis which will come and which we cannot lead ourselves, both in terms of the facts-which are complex-as well as the rules of law to be applied which are equally so.

What turns us into a court, an ordinary sociological phenomenon, is a new legal mechanism: the "whistleblower". By nature, it gives the bonus to the Attack

This logic of the legal mechanism of the whistleblower, a movement of fact to throw facts as one throws a buoy outside but one could also say stones on the firm that the insider denounces, logic today encouraged and protected by the Law, allows a person who knows something, most often because he participated, to let everyone know, without a filter. To denounce it. For the public good..

The successive texts on the whistleblower are nrms of a Compliance Law!footnote-1129 which seek, in particular in French Law, to ensure a balance between this "monumental goal"!footnote-1130 which is the respect of the truth, the fight against corruption, the protection of human beings, etc., and the risks to be endured by the company thus denounced.

The case is exemplary of this, since Facebook is  "denounced" only in second place, behind Cambridge Analytica, but the notoriety and power of the first makes that it is hit first. French law in the so-called "Sapin 2 Act " of 2016 has ensured to protect the company denounced, but British and American Law are more violent, probably because they encourage more the private enforcement.

Temporality is therefore favorable to the attack. The time of the defense is always slower. It is usually the people in situations of weakness who suffer it: slowness of justice, justice outside courthouses, etc. With Compliance mechanisms, it is probably the very powerful who will live this. It is not a matter of rejoicing: the misfortune of some (here the difficulty of a company hasty  "judged") does not console in any way the misfortune of others (the difficulty of ordinary beings accused or having only the right to protect themselves to reach concretely a judge and really get a judgment executed, even as they are in their right).

But if we go to general questions, since on the facts of this case we don't have the means to appreciate them, nor on the rules which apply to them, we cannot apply them in an adequate way until a court will have exercised its office?

However, the general perspectives highlighted by this singular case are two orders: Probationary order (I) and Accountability order (II).



Read below.







Frison-Roche, M.-A., Compliance Law, 2016.


On this notion, Frison-Roche, M.-A., From Regulation Law to Compliance Law, 2017.

Jan. 14, 2015


Oublions un instant l'objet même de l'arrêt AZF et limitons la lecture à la question procédurale tranchée par l'arrêt rendu par la chambre criminelle de la Cour de cassation le 13 janvier 2015.

Celui-ci est très remarquable et mérite pleine approbation en ce qu'il affirme l'obligation des juges de respecter l'impartialité de l'institution juridictionnelle, mise à mal si les personnes qui ont à faire à elle peuvent établir un "doute objectif" concernant l'impartialité d'un juge.

A travers cette affirmation, c'est un jeu de présomptions, la principale étant la présomption de l'impartialité du juge, que la Cour de cassation établit, mettant en juste mesure les charges et les objets de preuve en la matière.

Lire ci-dessous un commentaire développé de l'arrêt.




Updated: July 31, 2013 (Initial publication: Sept. 20, 2011)

Teachings : Les Grandes Questions du Droit, semestre d'automne 2011