April 27, 2018


Pour lire la version française de ce document de travail, cliquer sur le drapeau français

The Judge, the Regulator and the Law

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

ComplianceTech©. To cite this working paper: Frison-Roche, M.-A., The Judge, the Regulator and the Law, 2018, http://mafr.fr/en/article/le-juge-le-regulateur-et-le-droit-in-la-justice-de//

Complete reference : Frison-Roche, M.-A., The Judge, the Regulator and the Law, 2018, http://mafr.fr/en/article/le-juge-le-regulateur-et-le-droit-in-la-justice-de//

In its French version, this working paper serves as a basis for an article published in the journal L'ENA hors les murs, whose the general topic is Le Droit et la Justice (Law and Justice).


Summary. Between Judge, Regulator and Law, it is rather the "Regulator" who comes first, but this pre-eminence sometimes came at the judge's order rather than at the autonomous decision of the State, even if it turns out that is always, and maybe first of all, to establish a relationship of trust that a Regulator is established (I). Instituted, the Regulator must behave in his ex post powers as a Judge (II). When the Regulator is in contact with the judges, obligatory link since the Regulator is subject to the Law, the agreement is more or less cordial (III) and it is the tension of the relations between Law and Economy which then transpires. But Europe is the space where conciliation can be made more easily, notably thanks to the power and authority of its Judges, as shown by Banking Union (IV). As Globalization has rekindled the map of powers and dangers, the purposes of the Law are today internalized in the companies themselves: the Law of Regulation is transformed into the Law of Compliance, by which the "crucial enterprise" becomes a structure which judges and applies, even to itself, global norms to achieve "monumental goals" expressed by States (V). In this sense, the "Struggle for  Law" could be done in a new game between the companies, the Judges and the Regulators.

I. Comes first the "Regulator": on the injunction of the Judge, but also to create a relationship of Trust between the State and those who observe it 

The French State instituted Regulators not only for the sake of good management, so that this administrative body is closer to the economic sector concerned (mechanism of the "agency"!footnote-1170)), but even more importantly because the State has chosen to preserve the control of a company (State company) on a sector open to Competition while it wanted to continue expressing the general interest!footnote-1172 through the power of regulating the sector!footnote-1199. This structural conflict of interests implicated the choice between privatization and creation of an Independent Administrative Authority (IAA)!footnote-1173.

In this, independence, which is only the condition of impartiality!footnote-1179, is not only a procedural asset of the Regulators, it is the very mark of their existence: mark of the public power (they are created by the Law ), they can constitutionally only be at a distance from the Government because they are born from the requirement of non-cumulation "Regulator / Operator". In this, they should not be able to elaborate "politics"!footnote-1174, which should be conceived only by the Legislature and the Executive!footnote-1175.

The first movement was therefore the threat to the French State of condemnations by the European courts for abuse of position on the regulated sectors, that of electricity for example via the position that EDF!footnote-1176 occupies there, so that the State accepts the creation of an Energy Regulator!footnote-1177 in order to maintain the public control of the public service operator.

Evolution has led to a broader conception of the conflict of interest, a core notion but a "negative" notion!footnote-1178 and which is not first. Indeed, the first French Regulator, the Commission des Opérations de Bourse - COB (French Financial Markets Authority) was created in 1967 and without a liberalization context. Positively, it is a question of establishing a "Trust link"!footnote-1180, a perspective adopted by the British: in a strategy of trust, the State going beyond a good management by agency and without aiming the extension of the principle of competition!footnote-1181, but establishing a bond of structural trust with those who observe it: businesses, consumers, the population, etc. (stakeholders)!footnote-1182. This is particularly relevant in banking and finance. Today is the challenge of digital!footnote-1183.

For this, the State must show both its "commitment" and its "impartiality", a ridge on which the Regulators managed to dance, attracting the confidence of stakeholders better than governments and politicians do. This exercise is vital for example for Central Banks which are Regulators.

But the Regulators have managed to create a relationship of Trust by justifying the credit they have received. This is a paradoxical result  because the Judges have forced them: by forcing them to behave like courts.


II. The "Regulator" is de jure equivalent to a judge 

Even though the European Commission and directives only obliged the French State to create independent Regulators in sectors newly open to Competition, the successive French laws of transposition systematically chose the institutional form of the Independent Administrative Authority (IAA). ) and elaborated a Repressive Administrative Law as a natural tool of Regulation!footnote-1194, preferring to abandon the ordinary courts and the ordinary legal rules.

The idea of ​​the administration as an arm of the State to act, even in an independent form, has thus prevailed over two other ideas, the first idea of the judge, yet the first expression of independence!!footnote-1185, and the second idea of the judicial judge as natural judge of economic activity!footnote-1186. This is less clear in the United States, where the courts retain exclusive jurisdiction over these matters, notably Competition Law. In this acronym that runs everywhere in the French Economic Law of "AAI" ("Autorité Administrative Indépendante), the second "A" for Administrative is central: it is still the Administration that speaks, even when it sanctions.

But it is the French judicial judge who in a saga starting in 1999!footnote-1184  about the financial markets Regulator said that the regulatory authorities are jurisdictions, qualification resulting from their activities, when they "punish" since they are then in "criminal matters" or when settling disputes that affect rights and assets ("civil matters"). Consequently, the Regulator must give to see its impartiality.

This qualification of Regulators who are like Judges when they exercise the same powers as these is now imposed on them by all French and European jurisdictions: the French Court of Cassation, the  French State Council!footnote-1187, the French Constitutional Council!footnote-1189, the ECHR!footnote-1188, etc.

It is therefore on the model of the Judge that the Regulator adjusts his behavior. Thus the State has retained its power of regulation only on the condition of wearing the tunic of Nessus of the Judge. But who put on him on the order of the Judge is not necessarily satisfied.


III. Disagreement and agreement between Judge, Regulator and Law

This evolution was not easy. First of all because the Judge has imposed himself as a model by cancelling the procedures, which is an unattractive way to do, litigation amounting each time a notch. In a dialogue often tense!footnote-1190, the Regulators have received the support of the Government most often to develop strong reasons to reject what is sometimes presented as a "handicap", that is to say the share of Law in a Regulation whose effectiveness should be the only concern: for example, what is the point of going from Criminal Law to Administrative Law if it is to regain all the procedural weight of the first, while speed is required in terms of Regulating sectors? ?

Thus, it is often in front of the French Constitutional Council that the swords crossed, for example in the case EADS where the Constitutional Council in its decision of March 18, 2015 imposed on France to make enforce by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (French financial markets Authority) the classical rule Non bis in Idem!footnote-1193.

Because in this game, the judge wins since it is before him that the appeals against decisions made by the Regulators are worn!footnote-1196. Admittedly, the IAA can suggest to the Government to modify the texts to break a case law solution!footnote-1191. The Regulators also rely on the French famous duality of orders of jurisdiction!footnote-1198, to be better understood by one or the other.

But they are more hiccups than a deep disagreement!footnote-1201. No doubt in terms of the law applicable to regulated sectors and competitive markets, it is more the tension between these two Orders that Law and the Economy are which is reflected.

Indeed, even in economic matters the Law retains its own logic and the Judge is its guardian. This is why an overly radical conception of the economic analysis of the law!footnote-1192 tending to make prevail without share a logic of public action without consideration for the legal logic is inadequate, even in this economic Law that one could say "hard" that are the Law of Competition and the Law of Regulation (transport, telecommunications, post office, energy, banking, finance, insurance, etc.).

In these branches of Law, which correspond to as many sectors on which the State has its hand, and to as many concerns (intellectual property, digital, etc.), the opposition between Law and Economy which aims to impose Efficacy principle like alpha and omega, is noticeable. The Law can not take refuge in the sole defense of the principles of procedure. Also directly involved are Property Law, Company Law or Contract Law, notions that the judge has always handled but which are now transformed by the Regulators. Who should have the last word? The question is open today!footnote-1221..


IV. Reconciliation between State, Judge and Law by Europe

Europe is a legal construction. It is in perpetual construction.

Regulators have a founding role, including the European Commission, which uses its sanctioning power to build a common space. The three authorities, ESMA - EBA - EIOPA, born of the financial crisis by three 2013 Regulations, weave the banking and financial network. The ECB activates a monetary policy that adjoins the economy.

The case-law of the Court of Justice has set the limits of the powers of the ECB in matters of sovereign debt!footnote-1200 and controls the power of control of Ex Ante and Ex Post in the supervision of banks. In this, the European institutional system has changed to a Check & Balance mechanism between the ECB and the political institutions, of which the ECJ holds the scourge.

When economists see salvation only in the Common Law (and the English language), perhaps it is also because of the lack of consideration for the solidity of this legal construction which takes place before our eyes, which is invented and which do not borrow.

Europe can all the more build that it is being unified, thanks to the Judges. Indeed, beyond the "dialogues", the "flexibility" vaunted but sometimes unreliable and discursive very expensive, it is no longer appropriate to oppose the 2 Europes: one that would be the Europe of Economics and Finance (the European Union) and the other which would be the Europe of human beings (the Council of Europe).

Indeed, not only the CJEU and the ECHR have brought their jurisprudence closer together, but it will become possible for the French courts to ask the ECHR for an opinion as they ask a preliminary question to the CJEU, but it is this one which has designed the 2014 Google Spain case law and the "right to be forgotten", key point of the data protection regulation transposed in 2018.

In fact, the Judge is in essence the protector of persons, the Judge of the Union, before which the Regulators converge, is just as much as the other judges. Its conception of an economic system whose person must be the center radiates beyond Europe.


V. Through the Compliance Law, Law transforms companies into Judges to better achieve the "monumental goals" set by Regulators

Finally, Globalization has often encouraged observers to present a new landscape whose States and Law would be erased!footnote-1203. Only a few private judges, the happy international arbitrators, would survive!footnote-1204. It's wrong. Is being born the Compliance Law Right of the Compliance!footnote-1205.

By this branch of this new law, prolongation of the Regulation Law, States formulate claims that could be said to be "monumental"!footnote-1206: the end of corruption, the saving of the planet from pollution, the elimination of child labor, the effective fight against international terrorism, etc.

To achieve these ends, new devices allow Regulators to enjoin global companies to structure themselves to prevent such scourges, to meet such expectations, internally and externally, without any consideration of borders, at their expense, otherwise astronomical fines are pronounced!footnote-1207. The whistleblowers are rewarded, the company becomes its own whistleblower, its own judge!footnote-1208, its own executioner, the one of those it must answer.

And if in a new world without borders and this new concern for others imposed or claimed by powerful organizations, the Law as protection of the person existed again?




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