Feb. 9, 2024


🎤Préalable : ce qu'est un engagement (Prerequisite: the Commitment), in 🧮L'arbitrage international en renfort de l'obligation de Compliance

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

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► Full ReferenceM.-A. Frison-Roche, "Préalable : ce qu'est un engagement" ("Prerequisite: the Commitment"), in L. Aynès, M.-A. Frison-Roche, J.-B. Racine and E. Silva-Romero (dir.), L'arbitrage international en renfort de l'obligation de Compliance (International Arbitration in support of the Compliance Obligation)Journal of Regulation & Compliance (JoRC) and Institute of World Business Law of the ICC (Institute), Conseil Économique Social et Environnemental (CESE), Paris, February 9, 2024


🧮see the full programme of this event


🌐consult on LinkedIn a general presentation of this event, which links to a presentation of each speech (in French)


🧱consult the scientific direction sheet of this event, which gives an account of the various speeches made


🔲see the slides used to support the presentation (in French)


🎤see a presentation of the conference "Préalable : ce qu'est l'Obligation de Compliance" ("Prerequisite: what is the Compliance Obligation"), given at the same symposium


🎤see a presentation of the conference "Le renforcement des engagements de Compliance par le renvoi Ex Ante Ã  l'arbitrage international" ("Reinforcing Compliance commitments by referring Ex Ante to International Arbitration") which was finally not pronounced but will be the subject of an 📝article in the forthcoming book ðŸ“˜Compliance Obligation 


► Presentation of the conference: Having defined the Compliance Obligation in "Préalable : ce qu'est l'Obligation de Compliance" ("Prerequisite: what is the Compliance Obligation"), I set out to define what a commitment is.

No one doubts that commitments, as words, constitute facts that can engage the liability of companies if there are inconsistencies or lies. The question today is whether a commitment can constitute a legal act, binding in ex ante.

Companies make commitments either to fulfil their legal Compliance obligations, which is simply obeying the law, or to express their own wishes, either for themselves or for others. The cases are often confused, even though the scope is not the same.

If the commitment takes the form of a contract, Compliance is concerned if the contract is used as an Ex Ante Compliance Tool📎!footnote-3383, either if the entire contract has this purpose, or if a compliance clause is inserted, and an arbitration clause may be linked to it.

The commitment, a concept that comes more from the Economics of Regulation, was conceived between a Regulatory Authority and a Company: it is the unilateral decision of the Authority that gives legal force to the commitment. Case law confirms this (Conseil d'État (French Council of State)📎!footnote-3384 and Conseil constitutionnel (French Constitutional Council)📎!footnote-3385) and this is particularly clear in Competition Law, but it is also true of the convention judiciaire d'intérêt public - CJIP (French Judicial Public Interest Agreement).

If commitment is central to Compliance, particularly Vigilance, it is because Compliance Law is an extension of Regulatory Law📎!footnote-3386. The company is forcibly instituted by the Compliance regulator, particularly in value chains, or on digital spaces (DSA).

In drawing up a plan, the company is fulfilling its legal obligation. But if we were to consider that it is a commitment, then we would also have to consider that the plan is the result of its will, that it must consult the stakeholders in its preparation, but that the source of the plan is its will: the provisions are not stipulations, are not applications of the law, but unilateral voluntary provisions.

In this respect, and because its source is the will of the company (which does not prevent its co-construction), a plan could contain a "graduated offer" of arbitration.

This offer could be included in commitments that are less regulated by law, such as those made in the context of CSR.


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