France continues to be a leading seat of arbitration since adopting new arbitration laws in 2011, which has enshrined and modernised the country’s favourable and efficient domestic and international arbitral establishment. Numerous foreign arbitral providers are seated in the country and it hosts several important institutions, including the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). In this chapter, 75 individuals are singled out as leaders in the field.
In this chapter we identify eight leading lawyers who are spearheading the practice of asset recovery in France.
French environmental law is strictly observed, with authorities increasingly clamping down on both industrial and non-industrial entities. Legislation is also constantly evolving in the progressively eco-conscious society. In 2015, headline legislation, which requires rooftops on new commercial building to be at least partially covered in plants or solar panels, was approved. We have listed 17 leading lawyers in this section.
France has amended its finance bill for 2015 through an amendment in November 2015, to ensure that the county’s tax group consolidation regime aligns with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in its decision in the case Groupe Steria SCA v Ministère des Finances et des Comptes publics. Here it was held that French tax consolidation rules violate the freedom of establishment principle laid down in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, as tax-integrated parent companies with subsidiaries established in other EU member states cannot acquire the same tax benefits for dividends which a domestic tax group of French companies can obtain. Such continued changes in the French corporate tax regime have resulted in increased demand for legal tax advice and a burgeoning legal marketplace. This is reflected in our listing of 66 of the most outstanding French practitioners – up from 45 last year – as well as five leading corporate tax expert witnesses.
The French Competition Authority has continued to utilise its powers to full effect. A high level of antitrust enforcement and record fines were imposed on infringers last year. The authority signalled its continuing intent at the end of 2015 by fining Orange €350 million, the largest against a single company in the authority’s history. Meanwhile, 20 delivery companies were fined €672 million for coordinating price hikes and surcharges – the second highest fine by the authority in recent years.
The French banking sector is experiencing turbulent times. In August 2015, the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive was ratified into French law, which requires banks to show that they have the appropriate resources to maintain activities that are essential to financial stability. Forthcoming legislation from the French government is also expected to make changes to the pecking order of bank creditors in times of financial difficulty, improving depositor protection and generally reinforce the stability of the banking system overall. Amid legislative reform, shares for the bank Société Générale dropped by 12 per cent in a day, prompting fears that France could be the trigger of another recession in the Eurozone. Against this backdrop our research highlights 16 individuals below.
The trademark industry in France is set to undergo significant changes in the next few months. In December 2015 the European Trademark reform was approved by the European Parliament, which commentators consider will bring “some of the most important reforms to EU trade mark laws since the introduction of the Community Trade Mark in 1996”. The new rules will strengthen both the national and European trademark systems by creating increased protection for rights holders and preserving freedom of expression. Both national and EU trademark registration procedures will be reformed, including the introduction of a new tailored fee structure, facilitating cheaper and easier trademark registration and protection. Against the backdrop of such changes our research highlights 34 practitioners and 15 trademark attorneys.
In the last few years European M&A deal activity has been robust, with France being among the most active on the continent. However, the situation has deteriorated with a 41 per cent decline in transactions involving a French company during the first nine months of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014. Current economic unpredictability and concerns over the price of the euro are having a negative impact on confidence in the region. Against this backdrop we identify 19 M&A practitioners and eight due diligence accountants.
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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.