March 22, 2020


This working paper is the basis for an article in the French Law Journal Le Clunet.


When we compare the terms "Compliance" and "Extraterritoriality", it is often with dissatisfaction, even anger and indignation. On the momentum, after having expressed a principle of disapproval of such a merger, attention is focused on how we can fight against it, to break the link between Compliance and Extraterritoriality. But do we have to go so fast? Is this negative initial assessment correct?

Indeed, thus gone, it is frequently explained that the binding mechanisms of Compliance are suffered, that they come from abroad!footnote-1750, that they apply with efficiency but in an illegitimate way, without agreement of the one who must submit to it, whose resistance is therefore certainly ineffective but nevertheless justified. In the same spirit, when we start to shell the cases, like so many scars, sort of rosary, even crown of thorns, BNPP case!footnote-1718, Astom case!footnote-1717, etc., the wounds not yet closed turn into reproaches made against the rules, public authorities, even reproaches made against named people.

We are leaving this kind of complaint against X, which targets what would be this appalling "Compliance", this Law which would be both hostile and mechanical which would not have been able to stay within the limits of borders, Compliance being thus placed in contrast to sovereignty and protection, which presuppose staying within its limits!footnote-1716 and being able to protect companies from abroad. More concretely, this presentation targets more directly the United States, which uses "the legal weapon", slipped under what is then designated as "the artifice of the Law" with extraterritorial scope. But this effect would in reality be the very object of the whole: their hegemonic will to better organize at least a global racket, notably through the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and at best a world government through notably the embargoes.Those who believed otherwise would be naive or foolish. This silences the opponents because who likes this costume? So the world would be put in a ruled cut; what the mafia could not have done, Compliance Law would have obtained, offering the whole world to the United States thanks to the extraterritoriality of its national Law.

Compliance Law would thus become the very negation of Law, since it has the effect, even the purpose (barely concealed by strategic, powerful and shameless States), of counting borders for nothing, whereas Public International Law, in that it is built between the sovereign subjects of law that are the States presupposes the primary respect for borders to better exceed them while Private International Law takes the same postulate to better welcome foreign Law in situations presenting a foreign element!footnote-1726. Jurists believed in the force of Law; by Compliance, we would return to the sad reality that only the powerful, here the United States, dominate and - ironically - it is under the pretext of Law that they do it. It would be necessary to be well duped, or accomplice, to see there still legal where there is only the balance of powers. When one is more intelligent or skilful than that, one understands that the "small" can only be "subject" to the Compliance Law, one would have to be powerful to be the normative source and its enforcement agent. It is then towards this mis-named Department of Justice (DoJ) that the fearful, hateful and resigned glances turn. 

If you see it that way, what should you do then? The answer is obvious: react!

It is necessary to save the sovereignty, France, companies, the Law itself. If that is how the question is posed, how can we disagree? It is therefore necessary to destroy the Compliance Law and the extra-territoriality of American Law which had found this "Trojan horse", an expression so frequently used. This is the basis for the administrative reports available, for example the Berger-Lellouche!footnote-1719 parliamentary reports and the Gauvainfootnote-1720 report. Both of them broadly develop the two preceding claims, namely that the extra-priority of compliance mechanisms is illegitimate and harmful, since it is a mechanism invented by the Americans and harming the Europeans, or even invented by the Americans to harm Europeans, the description being made in much more violent terms than those used here. The description seems acquired, the reflections therefore relate to the remedies. The reaction is most often to "block" the Compliance Law in its extraterritorial effect.

But without discussing the effectiveness of the remedies proposed downstream, it is necessary to return to this description so widely shared made upstream. Because many elements on the contrary lead to affirm that ComplianceLaw first of all and by nature can only be extraterritorial and that it must be. Whether or not the State in which it was created has malicious intentions. The description which is made to us most often describes particular cases from which we draw generalities, but we cannot reduce Compliance Law to the already cooled cases, as BNPP case, or to the always hot case of the American embargo on Iran. Furthermore, one cannot take the issue of embargoes and draw conclusions, legitimate for it, but which would apply to the whole of Compliance Law. The fact that theCompliance Law is a branch of Law at the stage still of emergence can lead to this confusion which consists in taking the part for the whole, but it is very regrettable because what is justified for the embargoes does not is in no way relevant for all Compliance Law, of which precisely the Law of embargoes is only a small part, even an abusive use. This overlapping is not often perceived, because the definition of Compliance Law and its criterion are not clearly enough defined, namely the existence of a "monumental goal"!footnote-1725, which does not exist in an embargo decided unilaterally by an order decreed by the President of the United States, but which exists in all other cases and fully justifies extraterritoriality, extraterritoriality which is even consubstantial with Compliance Law (I).

Once we have distinguished the embargoes, as an atypical, sometimes even illegitimate part, of Compliance Law, we should continue this work of distinction by emphasizing that the United States has certainly invented Compliance Law!footnote-1721 but only developed a mechanical concept for the prevention and management of systemic risks. Europe has taken up this systemic conception of the protection of systems, for example financial or banking, but superimposed another conception, drawing on its deep humanist tradition!footnote-1722, whose protection of personal data is only an example and whose monumental goal is the protection of the human being. This primary concern then justifies the European use of Compliance mechanisms to interfere with global objects regardless of their location, especially the environment, and to block the entry onto the ground of objects that enter, which is contrary to Competition Law but builds a legitimate barrier under this Compliance Law, in the indifference of an extraterritorial origin (II).

Indeed, this branch of the new Law which is Compliance Law is not reducible to Competition Law!footnote-1723, any more than it is not reducible to a method. It is a substantial, extraterritorial Law because the "monumental goals" which give it substantial unity are extraterritorial. This can directly contribute to the future of a Europe which on the one hand will be able to pursue, in an extraterritorial manner, monumental humanist goals, in the field of the environment or the protection of personal information or access to the Law (in particular by the technique of compliance programs) and which, on the other hand, by the techniques of traceability of products!footnote-1724, will have the means not to bring in products manufactured in an indecent manner, except in countries which do not grant value than in Competition Law to enter the WTO.



Read the developments below.


Jan. 2, 2019


This working paper has served as a basis for an article published in French in the collective publication Pour une Europe de la Compliance in the serie Regulation & Compliance.



Compliance is often presented as a complex, technical, almost incomprehensible set, in that it consists only of empty and moving procedures, mechanical corpus about which the goal would be a question that would not arise.

The question of the purpose of these huge compliance devices might not even have to be asked. And this for two reasons.

Firstly it would only be a matter of following "processes", that is, mechanical and endless procedures. This conception of compliance is often called "kafkaes". Closer to closer, one thinks first of all of the book written by Kafka's The trial l and Welles' adaptation to the cinema in which the charcters are surrounded by walls that are narrowing around them, but it is rather to his novel In the penal colony that must be thought, that is to say to a procedural system of isolation which we do not understand the foundation, which makes it without foundation and without end but also which takes mainly the form of a machine in which the person is placed and which mechanically writes the Law on and under the skin of his back. This internalization of the rule in the body of the condemned - that the French legal system before the French Revolution associated only with "enormous crimes" - being the ordinary way of actual and ordinary application of the rules can correspond to a certain vision of the Compliance, detached from any purpose.

The question of the purpose of Compliance may also not have to arise for a second reason, almost the opposite: they would always be devices that are specific to particular sectors. Thus, the banking sector, the insurance sector, the drug sector, the agri-food sector, the telecommunications sector, the energy sector, etc. Then the opposite happens: too many goals! Since each of these sectors has specificities such that it includes purposes that are specific to each of them. For example continuity for energy, access information for telecommunications, control of systemic risk for banking and finance, protection and secret for private information, etc. Now, either these ends so diverse are indifferent to each other, or they can contradict each other. Therefore, to ask the question of the purpose of compliance mechanisms would be to move to the stitution of not even trying to understand "processes" to be exceeded by too many substantial purposes pursued at the same time and in contradictorily senses ... .

This is why the question of the purpose of the Compliance is not asked in a main way. Even less if it is superimposed with another goal that is the European construction ....

But on the contrary, if we confront this question of the aims of the Compliance Mechanisms by crossing it with another issue, older but also under construction, namely the question of Europe, it is possible to make an alliance of these two difficulties to transform them as an asset. That one can help the other. Indeed, both Europe and Compliance in their current states are two constructs with uncertain goals or behaviors most often only "reactive" (I). If we do not want to mobilize all our strength to limit our weakness, which leads rather to feed it, we can go draw on the unity of this Europe so diverse but which finds it unity in the protection of the human being by the very idea of ​​"person". However, Compliance Law can have the same unity, despite the diversity of sectors, and thus fill the meaning of these multiple procedures, providing the balance between information and secrets, circulation of data and conservation of that they concern, common and dialectic purpose that this European Compliance Law. in the process of being constituted can give the world an example in relying on the European tradition  (II)

June 27, 2018

Thesaurus : Doctrine

Updated: July 31, 2013 (Initial publication: Dec. 6, 2011)

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

La personnalité est certes abstraitement l’aptitude à être titulaire de droits et d’obligations, mais elle est aussi intime de l’être humain. Un système juridique de plus en plus soucieux de la vie, des corps et des être humains, concrétise la notion juridique de personne. Entre en balance la naturalité et l’artificialité de cette notion complexe de personne, à travers notamment le droit du corps humain, par exemple par la question de la maternité de substitution ou celle de l’identité sexuelle. Les personnes concrètes, analysées juridiquement en situation se voient reconnaitre des droits fondamentaux qui s’étendent et se multiplient et dont le cœur du système est « le droit au droit ». Mais les droits fondamentaux changent aussi de nature, en ce qu’ils se reconceptualisent à travers la catégorie des droits de l’homme altruistes.

Updated: July 31, 2013 (Initial publication: Sept. 13, 2011)

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

Updated: July 31, 2013 (Initial publication: Oct. 17, 2011)

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

Le cours a trait à la troisième Grande Question du Droit qui porte sur le juge. Il se concentre plus particulièrement sur la fonction politique et sociale de celui-ci, la question plus technique du procès et du jugement faisant l’objet du cours ultérieur. En ce qui concerne la fonction politique et sociale du juge, celui-ci apparaît tout d’abord comme un instrument de rappel à la légalité. En cela, il est un instrument de réalisation de la loi, d’autant plus s’il s’agit d’un juge pénal ou administratif, où l’intérêt général et l’ordre public interviennent. L’autre fonction du juge est de mettre fin au litige entre les personnes, ce qui est l’office traditionnel du juge civil. Mais l’intérêt général est également présent dans le droit privé et l’on cherche aujourd’hui en toute matière à développer les modes alternatifs de règlement des litiges.

Updated: July 31, 2013 (Initial publication: Nov. 8, 2011)

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

Le système probatoire est construit sur la détermination de qui prouve, quoi prouver, comment prouver et quelle recevabilité s’impose aux moyens de preuve. Une fois exposé le système probatoire, peut être étudiée la quatrième question du droit : la personne. Est ici analysée son aptitude à être responsable, la responsabilité ayant pu être analysée comme ce par quoi l’être humain est hissé au niveau de la personnalité. L’on distingue la responsabilité pour faute et la responsabilité pour la garde d’une chose ou d’une personne. Jadis centré sur la personne du responsable, le droit se soucie désormais davantage des victimes.

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

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

May 25, 2012

Thesaurus : Doctrine