(Cass. Com. 16 October 2012, no. 11-23.623)

In a ruling of 16 October 2012, the commercial division of the French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) reviewed the formal validity of a personal guarantee given by an individual for the benefit of a professional creditor (bank) regarding the commitments of a legal person.

There are two practical lessons to be learned from this decision.

The first is that adding indications regarding the debtor (corporate form, share capital amount, registered office address and RCS registration number) to the mandatory handwritten phrase provided by Article L. 341-2 of the French Consumer Code (guarantee given to a professional creditor) does not insofar invalidate the guarantee.

The second validates the possibility of having a single signature in case of multiple handwritten phrases following one another. In this case, the phrase relating to the guarantee given to a professional creditor was immediately followed by the joint and several liability phrase provided by Article L. 341-3 of the French Consumer Code, with the signature of the guarantor below.