Introduction

The French legal system is characterised by a jurisdictional duality. Cases involving the application of public law (ie, reviewing a public act, ruling on a public law contract – such as a public procurement or contract for the delegation of a public service – or ruling on the liability of a public party) are usually heard by administrative courts, whereas other cases are heard by civil courts. This separation between administrative and civil jurisdictions can trigger practical difficulties in international arbitrations, especially when they involve the recognition and enforcement in France of arbitral awards that deal with issues of French administrative law.

On July 8 2015 the Cour de Cassation (France's highest civil court) rendered a long-awaited decision on this issue in Société Ryanair Ltd v Syndicat Mixte des Aéroports de Charente.(1) It held that civil courts have jurisdiction to rule on the recognition and enforcement of any foreign arbitral award, upholding the jurisdiction of civil courts in a case on the enforcement in France of an award which was rendered in London and involved a French public law contract.

The decision seeks to establish a unified enforcement regime under the jurisdiction of civil courts, which should be praised. However, uncertainty still remains. Granting civil courts exclusive jurisdiction to rule on the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards that deal with public law matters would further simplify enforcement proceedings in France and reinforce their predictability. However, although it is now clear that civil courts will be willing to accept jurisdiction when public law contracts are at stake, administrative courts are not bound by this decision. Administrative courts will continue to uphold their own jurisdiction over the enforcement or annulment of awards that deal with public law arbitrations.(2) Further developments should therefore be scrutinised carefully.

Facts

The Syndicat Mixte des Aéroports de la Charente (SMAC), a French public syndicate that is controlled by several regional administrative entities, owns Angouleme airport (a regional airport in Southwest France). On February 8 2008 SMAC entered into two five-year contracts: one with Irish company Ryanair Ltd and one with one of its subsidiaries, Airport Marketing Services (collectively, 'Ryanair'). The contracts were for the provision of frequent flight services from Angouleme airport to London Stansted airport and the promotion of this new flight route.

In exchange for providing various services, Ryanair was granted significant airport tax exemptions, and SMAC undertook to pay €925,000 for the first three years. The contracts, which were governed by French law, both contained an arbitration clause that referred to the rules of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).

However, the flight route was not as successful as expected and Ryanair requested a €175,000 subsidy from SMAC, which SMAC refused. On February 17 2010, around two years after the contracts were signed, Ryanair stopped carrying out the air services.

Ryanair commenced arbitration proceedings before a sole arbitrator under the aegis of the LCIA, claiming damages for the wrongful termination of the contracts. Simultaneously, SMAC applied to the Poitiers Administrative Court and contended that French administrative courts had exclusive jurisdiction to rule on the termination of the contracts as they constituted public procurements involving a French public entity. SMAC requested damages for the breach and wrongful termination of the contracts.

SMAC also requested that the arbitrator stay the proceedings until the Poitiers Administrative Court issued its ruling. Through a partial arbitral award rendered on July 22 2011, the arbitrator upheld his jurisdiction and dismissed SMAC's request to stay proceedings.

On June 18 2012 the arbitrator rendered a final award and held that Ryanair had rightfully terminated the contracts. He ordered SMAC to pay damages of €100,000. Ryanair then applied for the recognition and enforcement of the arbitral award in France, which was granted on May 21 2012 by an exequatur order of the president of the Paris Court of First Instance.

Starting parallel proceedings in this respect, SMAC applied to the Conseil d'Etat (France's highest administrative court) to set aside both the partial and final arbitral awards or – alternatively – to refuse to recognise or enforce the awards in France.

On April 19 2013 the Conseil d'Etat declined jurisdiction on the application to set aside. It held that, under Article L 321-2 of the Administrative Code of Justice, it enjoyed jurisdiction to rule on a request to set aside an arbitral award involving a public law contract between a French public entity and foreign company – as it implies reviewing the conformity of such an award with the mandatory rules of French public law which necessarily govern these contracts – except when the arbitral award has been rendered abroad. The Conseil d'Etat also stated that, under Article L 311-1 of the Administrative Code of Justice, the administrative courts of first instance enjoy jurisdiction to rule on the recognition and enforcement in France of such foreign arbitral awards, as their enforcement would not be authorised if it infringed public policy. As London was the seat of arbitration and SMAC was seeking the annulment of the arbitral award, the Conseil d'Etat declined jurisdiction. It also dismissed SMAC's subsidiary claim that the award should be refused enforcement in France. Observing that the awards had not yet been recognised by French administrative courts, the Conseil d'Etat held that such a claim was inadmissible because of its premature nature.(3)

As a consequence, following the decision of the Conseil d'Etat, the Poitiers Administrative Court held that it also lacked jurisdiction to rule on the case and dismissed SMAC's claims on June 20 2013.

On June 22 2013 SMAC appealed the exequatur order rendered by the president of the Paris Court of First Instance. On September 10 2013 the Paris Court of Appeal set aside the exequatur order.(4)

The Paris Court of Appeal held that Article 1516 of the Code of Civil Procedure (which provides that the president of the Paris Court of First Instance has exclusive jurisdiction to rule on the enforcement of foreign awards in France) had no influence over the principle of separation between the administrative and civil order.

The Paris Court of Appeal therefore decided that, pursuant to this principle of separation between the administrative and civil orders, civil courts lacked jurisdiction to order the enforcement of an arbitral award relating to a public law contract when this would involve:

"reviewing the conformity of the arbitral award with the mandatory rules of French public law with regard to the occupation of the public domain, or to the access to public procurement and applicable to partnership agreements and public service delegation contracts. These contracts being subjected to an administrative regime which is of public order, challenges against an arbitral award rendered in a dispute arising from the performance or breach of such a contract falls within the jurisdiction of the administrative courts."(5)

Finding that the contracts constituted public procurements within the definition set out in the Code of Public Procurements, the Paris Court of Appeal declined jurisdiction to rule on the recognition or enforcement of the awards.

Cour de Cassation decision

On July 8 2015 the Cour de Cassation reversed the Paris Court of Appeal decision.

The Cour de Cassation decided that the Paris Court of Appeal – by holding that Article 1516 of the Code of Civil Procedure had no influence over the principle of separation between the administrative and civil orders – had violated Articles III, V and VII of the New York Convention of 1958 and Article 1516 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The Cour de Cassation held that these provisions, which constitute the basis of "the international arbitral order", prohibit any discrimination between foreign and domestic awards, as well as any review of arbitral awards on the merits.(6)

The Cour de Cassation further held that "an international award, which is not anchored in any domestic legal order, is an international judicial decision, the validity of which is ascertained in light of the rules applicable in the countries where recognition and enforcement are sought", and that the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards that are rendered abroad imply no review of the merits of the case and would rest within the jurisdiction of the civil courts.(7)

Comment

The Cour de Cassation's decision is important for two reasons.

First, the Cour de Cassation unequivocally established the jurisdiction of civil courts to rule on the enforcement of any foreign arbitral awards, even in matters relating to French public law contracts between a French public party and a foreign company. In this respect, the ruling is particularly welcome as it aims to further simplify the enforcement regime for foreign arbitral awards in France.

Second, this decision derives from the French conception of arbitral awards as delocalised judicial decisions and reinforces the Cour de Cassation's doctrine in this respect. It even makes, for the first time, an explicit reference to the existence of an "international arbitral order".

Acknowledgment of civil courts' jurisdiction

Pursuant to Article 1516 of the Code of Civil Procedure, applications for the recognition and enforcement of an international arbitral award (an exequatur award) should be filed with the court of first instance. When the award has been rendered in France, the court of first instance where the award was rendered is competent to hear the enforcement application. When the award is rendered abroad, Article 1516 specifies that the Paris Court of First Instance enjoys exclusive subject-matter jurisdiction in this respect.(8)

However, until the ruling of the Cour de Cassation in Ryanair, there were two notable exceptions to this rule. When an arbitral award involved French public law issues:

  • the Conseil d'Etat enjoyed exclusive jurisdiction to rule on the recognition and enforcement of such an award, provided that it was rendered in France; and
  • administrative courts of first instance enjoyed exclusive jurisdiction to rule on the recognition and enforcement of such an award if it was rendered abroad.

This question had been settled by the Tribunal des Conflits – the court that is empowered to settle the conflicts of jurisdiction between administrative and civil courts – in INSERM v Association Fondation Letter F Saugstad on May 17 2010. The Tribunal des Conflits held that:

"a challenge against an arbitral award rendered in France on the basis of an arbitration agreement contained in a contract entered into by a French public law entity and a foreign company, which…has been performed on the French territory and which concerns the interests of international trade, is to be brought before the [civil] court of appeal where the award has been rendered pursuant to Article 1505 of the Code of Civil Procedure even if the contract is to be characterised as administrative according to French domestic law."(9)

However, the Tribunal des Conflits added that:

"the situation is different where a challenge brought under the same circumstances implies that the award be reviewed according to French mandatory rules of public law on the occupation of the public domain or according to the rules governing public expenditure that are applicable to public procurement, to public partnerships or to delegation of public services, as such agreements are subject to a mandatory administrative regime that is of public policy. A challenge with respect to those contracts fall under the jurisdiction of the administrative court."(10)

This ruling was ambiguous and could be interpreted in two ways:(11)

  • it could be the nature of the argument made by the award debtor against the arbitral award which would constitute the jurisdictional nexus for either the administrative or the civil courts (ie, if no administrative law-based public policy argument was raised, civil courts would be competent to rule on the award's enforcement); or
  • it could be the characterisation of the contract at stake which would determine jurisdiction (ie, enforcement of awards relating to procurement contracts, public service partnerships, public service delegation contracts or contracts on the occupation of the public domain would fall under the exclusive realm of administrative courts).

It is this second interpretation which was followed by the Conseil d'Etat and the Paris Court of Appeal in their respective Ryanair decisions.

The INSERM decision gave rise to a great deal of criticism from the French arbitration community;(12) the French Arbitration Committee(13) especially condemned a particularity that it regarded as jeopardising the French arbitration forum.(14)

The dual enforcement regime that was coined by INSERM appeared even more unsatisfactory because administrative and civil courts had significantly different standards of review with regard to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.

Although French courts (either administrative or civil) are prohibited from reviewing foreign arbitral awards on their merits by virtue of the New York Convention (as mistakes in fact or in law that are made by the arbitral tribunal are not one of the limited set-aside grounds enumerated under Article V of the convention), they may still refuse to recognise and enforce a foreign arbitral award if such enforcement would violate French international public policy pursuant to Article V(2)(b) of the convention.

For the purposes of the enforcement of such awards, whereas the review exerted by French civil courts is circumscribed to the indulgent standard of the "[flagrant], actual and concrete" breach of international public policy,(15) it transpired from the INSERM decision (especially the conclusions of Mathias Guyomar, the public advocate in this case)(16) and the Conseil d'Etat decision in Ryanair that administrative courts were willing to carry out a significantly more extensive review of the awards, holding that they should not be enforced from the point at which they infringed mandatory rules of French public law.(17)

In light of the lenient position of French civil courts in this respect, it is arguable that the administrative courts' in-depth review of the conformity of the arbitral awards to international public policy may have been regarded by the Cour de Cassation as amounting to a review of their merits. This seems to be the rationale behind its Ryanair decision, as the Cour de Cassation affirmed the jurisdiction of French civil courts to recognise and enforce any foreign arbitral award, holding that to say otherwise would be tantamount to a review on the merits of the case prohibited by the New York Convention.

However, the other argument made by the Cour de Cassation – that the jurisdiction of administrative courts to review foreign awards involving a French public party would constitute illegal discrimination against foreign awards under Article III of the New York Convention – is questionable. The jurisdiction granted to administrative courts by the Tribunal des Conflits in INSERM was subject-matter jurisdiction (turning on the nature of the contract at stake) and prevailed regardless of whether the award was foreign or domestic. There was therefore no negative discrimination made against foreign awards. It is likely that the Cour de Cassation relied on the principle of non-discrimination that is set forth by the New York Convention because it needed to refer to a superior norm in order to bypass the precedent that was coined by the Tribunal des Conflits in INSERM.(18) In order to legitimise its position, the Cour de Cassation had to base it on an international instrument (eg, the New York Convention) which stands above decisions of the Tribunal des Conflits in the French hierarchy of norms. In this respect, since the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards rendered in France is not governed by such an international convention (whereas the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards is), it would be more difficult for the Cour de Cassation to uphold the civil courts' jurisdiction in relation to challenges against awards rendered in France that involve French public law contracts. If it were seized of this issue, the Cour de Cassation would arguably be barred from disputing the INSERM decision and these challenges would remain within the realm of administrative courts.

Even though its rationale may raise questions, this decision of the Cour de Cassation should be praised. By upholding the civil courts' jurisdiction to rule on the recognition and enforcement of any foreign arbitral award regardless of its nature, it further simplifies the enforcement landscape in France and enhances predictability and legal certainty.

However, although it is now clear that civil courts will not decline jurisdiction to rule on the recognition and enforcement of awards involving public law contracts, this decision contradicts the decision of the Tribunal des Conflits in INSERM and is moreover not binding on the Conseil d'Etat and lower administrative courts.

Therefore, if the solution conveyed by the Cour de Cassation decision in Ryanair is not accepted by these courts, they may still be seized of arbitration-related disputes and uphold their jurisdiction.

Further, as the Cour de Cassation is bound by decisions of the Tribunal des Conflits, which is vested with the power to define the boundaries of civil and administrative courts' jurisdiction, the Ryanair decision may be regarded as an invitation to the Tribunal des Conflits to reform its INSERM decision, rather than as a reliable precedent. Should the Tribunal des Conflits rule against it, the Cour de Cassation will then have to yield and decline jurisdiction to rule on these matters.

A new decision by the Tribunal des Conflits on this issue, following the precedent coined by the Cour de Cassation in Ryanair, is therefore highly desirable.

It is nonetheless noteworthy that since it is impossible for the debtor of a foreign arbitral award to apply for a declaration of unenforceability of such an award under French law (the only option being to lodge an appeal against the exequatur order once it is rendered), the choice of the forum in which recognition of the award will be sought (either the administrative or the civil courts) rests in the hands of the award creditor. This limits the risk of parallel proceedings being brought.(19) It is therefore likely that the vast majority of these enforcement cases will be brought before the civil courts, which have been rather lenient in their review of arbitral awards and have shown willingness to uphold their jurisdiction – even when public law contracts are at stake.

Conception of arbitral awards as delocalised judicial decisions

In order to reach its decision in Ryanair, the Cour de Cassation held that:

"an international award, which is not anchored in any domestic legal order, is an international judicial decision, the validity of which is ascertained in light of the rules applicable in the countries where recognition and enforcement are sought."

The Cour de Cassation here embraces a 'delocalised' vision of international arbitration(20) and endorses the transnational nature of international awards under French law.

The delocalised characteristic of international arbitration flows not from French statutory rules, but from several decisions of the Cour de Cassation; the case law relating to the recognition of arbitral awards that have been annulled or suspended by the authorities of the seat of arbitration is particularly relevant in this respect.

The adoption of this vision of international arbitration in France started in 1984 with Sté Pablak Ticaret Ltd Sirketi v Norsolor. In order to recognise in France an arbitral award which had been partially annulled by the Vienna Court of Appeal, the Cour de Cassation held that the validity of arbitral awards must be ascertained in light of the rules that are applicable in the countries where recognition and enforcement are sought.(21) This view was maintained by the Cour de Cassation nine years later in Polish Ocean Line v Jolasry.(22)

The Cour de Cassation went a step further in its 1994 Sté Hilmarton Ltd v Sté Omnium de traitement et de valorisation decision,(23) in which it held that arbitral awards are not anchored in the domestic legal system of the seat of arbitration, so that an award continues to exist even after being set aside by the courts of the seat.

This principle was reinforced by the Paris Court of Appeal which held, in its 2005 Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile de l'Emirat de Dubaï v Sté International Bechtel Co decision,(24) that:

"fundamental principles of [French] arbitration law…seek to eliminate obstacles to the international circulation of arbitral awards by refusing to consider the setting-aside of an award at the country of the seat as a ground of denial of recognition [in France]."

This trend culminated with the PT Putrabali Adyamulia v Rena Holding decision, where the Cour de Cassation decided that an arbitral award "is not anchored in any domestic legal order, [and constitutes] an international judicial decision".(25) It then concluded that "the validity of [such an award] shall be ascertained in light of the rules applicable in the countries where recognition and enforcement are sought" and decided that the arbitral award at stake, which had been partially annulled by the High Court in London, could be recognised in France.

The terms used by the Cour de Cassation in Ryanair are identical to the ones it used in its landmark Putrabali decision in 2007.(26) Strikingly, the Ryanair decision goes a step further, as the Cour de Cassation makes an explicit reference to the existence of an "international arbitral order", whose constitutive statute is considered by the court to be the New York Convention.

The existence of such an "international arbitral order" has been the subject of ongoing scholarly debates,(27) but despite its apparent theoretical character, the conception of such an order – autonomous from the nations' own legal systems – has concrete consequences in practice. As explained above, from its finding that an international arbitral award does not belong to any domestic order, the Cour de Cassation consistently draws the conclusion that an arbitral award which has been annulled at the seat of arbitration may still be enforced in France.

In the same vein, the Cour de Cassation has coined a strong principle of prima facie validity of arbitration agreements.(28) French courts indeed consider that arbitration agreements enjoy their "own validity and efficiency"(29) and, embracing the conception of arbitration as a delocalised legal order, hold that their validity shall be assessed "without regard to any domestic law".(30)

For further information on this topic please contact Elie Kleiman or Yann Dehaudt-Delville at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer by telephone (+33 1 44 56 44 56) or email (elie.kleiman@freshfields.com or yann.dehaudt-delville@freshfields.com).The Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP website can be accessed at www.freshfields.com.

Endnotes

(1) Cass civ 1, July 8 2015, Société Ryanair Ltd v Syndicat Mixte des Aéroports de Charente (SMAC), No 13-25846. See P Cassia, "Exequatur des sentences internationales et dualisme juridictionnel : le grand bazar", Dalloz, 2015, 2241; A Brabant and M Desplats, "L'arrêt SMAC de la Cour de cassation : un colosse aux pieds d'argile ?", JCP G, 2015, 1164; J-M Pastor, "Exequatur d'une sentence arbitrale : la Cour de cassation contredit le Conseil d'Etat", Dalloz Actualités, July 20 2015; D Vidal, "L'exequatur en France d'une sentence rendue à l'étranger en matière administrative : vers un ordre arbitral international?", Lexbase hebdo No 623. See also M Audit, "L'arbitrabilité des litiges impliquant une personne publique française dans le nouveau contexte des affaires INSERM et Ryanair", Paris J Int Arb, 2015, 235; F Brenet, "Contrat administratif et droit international privé", AJDA 2015, 1144; M Laazouzi, "Quand droit administratif et droit international privé se rencontrent", AJDA, 2015, 1134; and F Lombard, "Arbitrage international et répartition des compétences juridictionnelles", AJDA, 2015, 1150.

(2) Unless the matter is settled by statute, if the administrative courts do not forfeit their traditional approach in favour of the jurisdiction of civil courts (which appears unlikely), France will offer parallel tracks for litigants that are involved in arbitration-enforcement disputes. Among other undesired developments, this may be the source of irreconcilable decisions.

(3) CE, April 19 2013, Syndicat mixte des aéroports de Charente v Sté Ryanair, Nos 352750 and 362020. See S Bollée, "Droit du commerce international", Dalloz 2013, 2293; S Braconnier, "Arbitrage international dans les marchés publics", RDI, 2013, 362; F Brenet, "Arbitrage et contrat administratif : l'incompétence toute relative du juge administratif", Dr adm, 2013, 49; P Cassia, "Sentence arbitrale internationale rendues à l'étranger à propos de contrats publics : quelle compétence pour la juridiction administrative française ?", Dalloz, 2013, 1445; X Domino and A Bretonneau, AJDA, 2013, 1271; M Guyomar, "Le Conseil d'Etat prolonge, s'agissant de l'arbitrage international, la jurisprudence INSERM du Tribunal des conflits", Gaz Pal, May 30 2013, 18; S Hul, "De l'art de la suite jurisprudentielle : triptyque contractuel"; AJ Collectivité Territoriales, "Le Conseil d'Etat énonce les règles de compétence de la juridiction administrative sans pour autant trancher la question de la légalité du recours à ce mode de règlement des litiges", 2013, 427; M Laazouzi, "Raffermissement et élargissement du contrôle des sentences arbitrales internationales en matière de marchés publics internationaux français devant les juridictions administratives", Rev Arb, 2013, 764; S Lemaire, "Sentences arbitrales rendues à l'étranger : le Conseil d'Etat innove mais ne convainc pas", JCP G, 2013, 761; E Loquin, "L'exequatur et le contrôle en France des sentences arbitrales internationales tranchant les litiges relatifs à un marché public françaist", RTD Com 2014, 326; M-C de Montecler, "Marchés publics (arbitrage) : compétence du juge administratif", Dalloz 2013, 1445; H Muscat, "Les recours devant la juridiction administrative en matière de sentences arbitrales internationales", JCP A, 2013, 2245; J Ortscheidt, "Droit de l'arbitrage", JCP G, 2013, 784; and B Seiller, "Précision sur la compétence juridictionnelle en cas de sentence arbitrale rendue dans un litige né de l'exécution d'un marché public", Gaz Pal, June 18 2013, 10.

(4) CA Paris, September 10 2013, Syndicat mixte des aéroports de Charente v Sté Ryanair, No 12/11596.

(5) Id.

(6) Cass civ 1, July 8 2015, Ibid.

(7) Id.

(8) See D Vidal, "L'exequatur en France d'une sentence rendue à l'étranger en matière administrative: vers un ordre arbitral international?", Lexbase hebdo No 623.

(9) Trib confl, May 17 2010, INSERM v Fondation Letten F Sausgstad, No C3754.

(10) Id.

(11) E Loquin, "Retour dépassionné sur l'arrêt INSERM", JDI, 2011, 10.

(12) See, for example Th Clay, "Les contorsions byzantines de Tribunal des conflits en matière d'arbitrage", JCP G, 2010, No 21, 1045; E Gaillard, "Masochisme français. Le Tribunal des conflits torpille le droit français de l'arbitrage", JCP G, 2010, No 21, 1096; E Loquin, "Retour dépassionné sur l'arrêt INSERM", JDI, 2011, 10. A Mourre, "The INSERM decision of the Tribunal des Conflits : a storm in a teacup?", Kluwer arbitration blog, June 7 2010; see contra F Lombard, "Arbitrage international et répartition des compétences juridictionnelles", AJDA, 2015, 1150.

(13) The Comité Français de l'Arbitrage is an influential French think tank founded in 1953 and composed of attorneys, judges, scholars and arbitration-users.

(14) Notice of the Comité Français de l'Arbitrage in INSERM c/ Fondation Letten F Saugstad, Rev Arb, 2010, 401.

(15) CA Paris, November 18 2004, SA Thalès Air Defence v GIE Euromissile, No 2002/60932, which established that relevant breach of international public policy must be "flagrant, actual and concrete" in order for an arbitral award to be set aside or refused recognition in France. This standard of review was also applied in Cass civ 1, June 4 2008, Sté SNF v Sté Cytec Industries BV, No 06-15320. However, three recent decisions of the Paris Court of Appeal suggest that the criterion of "flagrance" has disappeared and that the standard is now that the violation be "actual and concrete". See CA Paris, March 4 2014, Sté Gulf Leaders for Management and Services Holding Company v SA Crédit Foncier de France, No 12-17681; CA Paris, October 14 2014, Congo v SA Commissions Import Export, No 13-03410; and CA Paris, November 4 2014, SAS Man Diesel & Turbo France v Sté Al Maimana General Trading Company Ltd, No 13-10256.

(16) See M Guyomar "Conclusions sur l'arrêt INSERM", Rev Arb, 2010, 286: "in light of the very lenient review that they carry out in the framework of exequatur proceedings, civil courts are not in capacity to ensure that [administrative] mandatory rules are fully complied with."

(17) B Audit, "Le nouveau régime de l'arbitrage des contrats administratifs internationaux (à la suite de l'arrêt rendu par le Tribunal des conflits dans l'affaire INSERM", Rev Arb 2010, 269; S Bollée, Dalloz, 2013, 2293; S Lemaire, "Arbitrage international et droit public : le tribunal des conflits déçoit", Dalloz, 2010, 2637; E Loquin, "L'exequatur et le contrôle en France des sentences arbitrales internationales tranchant les litiges relatifs à un marché public français", RTD Com, 2014, 326; E Loquin, "Retour dépassionné sur l'arrêt INSERM", JDI, 2011, 10; and F Lombard, "Arbitrage international et répartition des compétences juridictionnelles", AJDA, 2015, 1150.

(18) Under Article 55 of the French Constitution of October 4 1958, international treaties prevail over statutes and therefore a fortiori over decisions rendered by the Tribunal des Conflits.

(19) See above: in its decision of April 19 2013, the Conseil d'Etat dismissed SMAC's subsidiary claim that the court should declare the arbitral awards unenforceable in France, holding that an exequatur order had not yet been rendered by the administrative courts, and that the claim for unenforceability was therefore inadmissible.

(20) J Paulsson, "Delocalisation of International Commercial Arbitration: When and why it Matters", ICLQ, 1983, 53-61.

(21) Cass civ 1, October 9 1984, Sté Pablak Ticaret Ltd. Sirketi v Norsolor SA, No 83-11355.

(22) Cass civ 1, March 10 1993, Polish Ocean Line v Jolasry, No 91-16041.

(23) Cass civ 1, March 23 1994, Sté Hilmarton Ltd v Sté Omnium de traitement et de valorisation, No 92-14920. See also CA Paris, Chromalloy v République d'Egypte, January 14 1997, No 95-23025, Rev Arb, 1997, 395.

(24) CA Paris, September 29 2005, Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile de l'Emirat de Dubaï v Sté International Bechtel Co, No 2004/17635.

(25) Cass civ 1, June 29 2007, PT Putrabali Adyamulia v Rena Holding, No 05-18053, Rev Arb, 2007, 507.

(26) Id.

(27) See, for example, L Degos, "La consécration de l'arbitrage en tant que justice internationale autonome (à propos des arrêts Putrabali du 29 juin 2007)", Dalloz, 2008, 1429; E Gaillard, "Aspects Philosophiques du Droit de l'Arbitrage International", Collected course of the Hague Academy of International Law, Vol 329, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008; E Gaillard, "Souveraineté et autonomie : réflexion sur les représentations de l'arbitrage international", JDI, 2008, No 4; E Gaillard, "L'ordre juridique arbitral : réalité, utilité et spécificité", McGill L J Vol 55, 2010, 89; D Hasher, "The Review of Arbitral Awards by Domestic Courts – France", in Emmanuel Gaillard, The Review of International Arbitral Awards, IAI Series on International Arbitration, No 6, Juris Publishing, 2010; J D M Lew, QC, "Achieving a dream : Autonomous Arbitration", Arbitration International, Vol 22, No 2, 2006, 179-204; J H Mance, speech at Freshfields Lecture at Queen Mary University of London, November 23 2015 (publication forthcoming); J Paulsson, "Arbitration in Three Dimensions", London School of Economics and Political Sciences Law, Society and Economy Working Papers 2/2010, 2010; Ph Pinsolle, "L'ordre juridique arbitral et la qualification de la sentence arbitrale de décision de justice internationale", Gaz Pal, 2007, No 326, 14; and J-B Racine, "Réflexions sur l'autonomie de l'arbitrage commercial international", Rev Arb, 2005, 305.

(28) See Cass civ 1, January 5 1999, Zanzi v J de Coninck, No 96-21 430, Rev Arb, 1999, 260; and Cass civ 1, June 7 2006, Jules Verne v American Bureau of Shipping II, No 03-12 034, Rev Arb, 2006, 945.

(29) CA Paris, April 20 1988, Sté Clark International Finance v Sté Sud Matériel Service, Rev Arb, 1988, 439 and 570; CA Paris, November 30 1988, Sté Korsnas Marma v Sté Durand-Auzias, Rev Arb, 1989, 691; CA Paris, February 14 1989, DMF, 1989, 598; CA Paris, November 28 1989, Cie Tunisienne de Navigation (COTUNAV) v Sté Comptoir Commercial André, No 88/13921, Rev Arb, 1990, 675.

(30) CA Paris, December 13 1975, Menicucci v Mahieux, Rev Arb, 1977,147; CA Paris, November 9 1984, JDI, 1986, 1039; CA Paris, January 20 1987, Rev Arb, 1987, 482; CA Paris, March 26 1991, Comité Populaire de la Municipalité d'El Mergeb v Sté Dalico Contractors, Rev Arb, 1991, 456. See also Cass civ 1, 20 December 1993, Comité Populaire de la Municipalité d'El Mergeb v Sté Dalico Contractors, No 91-16.828, Rev Arb, 1994, 116.

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