Forum Shopping News: French Supreme Court Restates Rules on Jurisdiction, Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Decisions in Matrimonial Matters. A new chance for old cases.


Lawyers at the Paris Bar

Article to be published in June 2010 in the FAMILY LAW QUARTERLY.

An abstract for our readers :

US lawyers (and their clients) dealing with French cases have been infuriated for ages by the so-called “national jurisdiction privilege”, which thwarted enforcement in France of foreign decisions.

This two-century old line of French cases has disappeared and the result is good for American matrimonial lawyers. The French Cour de Cassation strongly limited the traditional judge-made interpretation of the law, upon which a French citizen always has a right to sue a foreign national and be sued by a foreign national in France solely on the basis of French nationality. This reading blocked enforcement of most foreign judgments.

The new rule is leading to a complex, and evolving, case law concerning recognition of judgments, lis pendens, and forum non conveniens, which may lead American practitioners to consider reviving former “hopeless” cases.