Fondation pour le Droit Continental (FDC): A partner working with the Conseil National des Barreaux for global legal balance

The Conseil National des Barreaux is one of the founding members of the Fondation pour le Droit Continental, which was created to bolster the influence of continental law and contribute to ensuring global legal balance. Several families of legal systems can be identified, in particular the systems used in countries that practice Anglo-American law, or common law, and those that practice continental (also known as civil) law, such as France. Common law has a high-profile presence on the international stage, but continental legal professionals, regardless of nationality, are now organizing in order to participate fully in global competition.

Common law has a high-profile presence on the international stage, to the detriment of our legal and economic environment, and specifically in terms of international economic exchanges. This is a result of its distinctive characteristics, but it is also attributable to the power of the United States economy, the linguistic predominance of English, and the solid professional organization of American and British lawyers in the form of large law firms.

The continental legal system and similar hybrid systems represent approximately 60% of the worldwide GDP, while the common law system represents around 35%. This is why the influence of the continental tradition and the promotion of its benefits should be developed.

The multiple benefits of continental law

Continental law is an accessible legal system, largely because it is based on codified law. It is a legal system that is geared toward preventing lawsuits and lending legal certainty to transactions, in that it relies on rules established in advance rather than on rulings handed down a posteriori by a judge.

Continental law is characterized by its concern for striking a balance between the parties to an agreement, its flexibility and its openness to all sources of law. Lastly, it is a relatively inexpensive legal system, in terms of counsel fees and litigation costs. In addition, it allows for cutting down on legal expenses related to economic transactions.

The objectives of the FDC

- To promote the benefits of written and codified laws on the international stage in order to strike a balance between the diverse legal systems, based on innovative, high-quality research, and a wide-reaching policy of dissemination
- To generate a sense of solidarity among civil-law legal professionals as a means of orchestrating joint efforts to promote this legal system
- To implement a legal influence strategy at the international level in the interests of civil-law companies
- To enhance the expertise of legal professionals on a global scale
- To reinforce and develop the international presence of continental law stakeholders
- To provide training to civil-law legal professionals to make them more effective on the international level

How the FDC works

- The Office makes the decisions and implements the resources necessary to carry out the actions approved by the Board of Directors and fulfill the FDC's objectives. President Christian Charrière-Bournazel is the Secretary General (4 members).
- The Board of Directors decides on the FDC's affairs and, in particular, it establishes the guidelines for the actions developed by the FDC (18 members).
- The Founders Assembly gives its opinion on the FDC's affairs, particularly concerning the program of actions developed by the FDC (12 members).
- The Scientific Council is composed of 51 French and international members and correspondents from 29 countries. Thierry Wickers, who is the current Bar president and former president of the Conseil National, is a member.

The action programs of the FDC

The Foundation has structured its action programs in 6 areas of development:

1. Develop partnerships:
with companies, representatives from the public sector, legal, accounting and financial professionals, and academics from countries that use the same continental legal system. It has permanent offices in Brussels.

2. Train and disseminate:
Since 2009, the FDC has organized a Summer Continental Law University where students and professionals from more than 30 countries take bilingual courses to receive training in and deepen their knowledge of civil law. It has created 7 chairs in civil law in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Japan, Morocco, Mexico and Vietnam. It awards education scholarships and supports publications and legal translations. Either alone or in partnership, it organizes and participates in meetings intended to ensure the dissemination of civil law. Every year, it awards a Thesis Prize to two Chinese students.

3. Develop applied research in economic sector law:
Through its think tank, "Efficacité Economique du Droit" (The Economic Efficiency of Law), the FDC's objective is to demonstrate the competitive advantages of civil law in promoting the economy.

4. Provide legal expertise internationally:
In partnership with the French Embassy, the FDC is contributing its expertise to assist with the drafting of the Chinese Environmental Code. It is contributing to the unification of contract law in South America and Southeast Asia. The depth and breadth of knowledge of the members of its Scientific Council enabled the FDC to respond to an inquiry from the Commission on European Contract Law. It participated in drafting the initial proposed reforms to the Law of Obligations in West Africa. It organizes international meetings among legal professionals in cities such as Washington, Beijing, Paris and Yerevan. It also organizes the Convention of Mediterranean Jurists, the most recent event being held in Algiers on December 9-10, 2012.

5. Maintain an international presence:
In its activities, the FDC works with partners such as the World Bank, the People's Assembly of Egypt, the Consiglio Nazionale Forense, the Universities of Keio (Japan) and Diego Portales (Chile), the National University of Vietnam, the Royal University of Cambodia, the Getulio Vargas Foundation, the Escola de Administração de Empresas of São Paulo (Brazil), and the Hassan II University (Morocco).

6. Publish, translate and communicate on behalf of continental law:
The website of the Fondation pour le Droit Continental is a major communication medium. It offers up-to-date multilingual information on its activities. A collaborative electronic calendar of international events is available to all jurists.

Fondation pour le Droit Continental

This article has been translated into Spanish by Xplanation Language Services - www.xplanation.comPartner of the CNB
This article has been translated into English by Xplanation Language Services - www.xplanation.comPartner of the CNB
This article is also available in French

Mercredi 2 Janvier 2013