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Concept of sovereign immunity
What is the general approach to the concept of sovereign immunity in your state?
Before 1929, French courts applied the concept of absolute state immunity, thereby completely shielding foreign states from a forum court’s jurisdiction. Since then, French case law has applied a restrictive approach to sovereign immunity such that courts consider the nature of the act performed, and not the nature of the entity performing the act, when determining the basis for jurisdictional immunity. Jurisdictional immunity remains the rule, but case law has progressively sought to identify several exceptions to this rule. Consequently, a state (or state organ) engaged in an act that does not constitute a sovereign act may not be covered by jurisdictional immunity concerning that specific act.
Regarding sovereign immunity from enforcement, absolute sovereignty has equally been replaced by a restrictive approach, whereby state assets that are allocated to performing sovereign acts or a public service are immune from enforcement, while those allocated to a purely commercial or economic activity arising from private law are not.
What is the legal basis for the doctrine of sovereign immunity in your state?
French law on sovereign immunity has historically been developed through case law. It is the French Court of Cassation that first established the rule that a government cannot be subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign state. This concept was developed via the courts’ interpretation of international principles of immunity and international comity, and, in some recent cases, customary international law. Following the codification of customary international law through the 2004 United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property (the 2004 UN Convention), courts have also relied on this instrument, although it has not yet entered into force.
The French parliament has contributed little by way of statutory provisions governing sovereign immunity. The Sapin II Law, and specifically articles L.111-1-1 to L.111-1-3 of the French Civil Enforcement Proceedings Code (the CEPC) and article 153-1 of the French Monetary and Financial Code, constitute, however, examples of recent statutory contributions.
Is your state a party to any multilateral treaties on sovereign immunity? Has the state made any reservations or declarations regarding the treaties?
France is party to several multilateral treaties on sovereign immunity. It is a signatory to the 2004 UN Convention, despite having made no reservations or declarations. Although the 2004 UN Convention is not yet in force, since fewer than 30 countries have signed it, French case law has already referred to some of its provisions as customary international law (see question 2).
France has signed the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, but not the 1972 European Convention on State Immunity.
France has also entered into over 40 bilateral and multilateral consular agreements providing immunity and privilege to diplomatic agents and personnel, as well as several host agreements conferring legal personality on international organisations and granting them with immunity from suit and enforcement, subject to the exceptions expressly provided in these agreements.
Describe domestic law governing the scope of jurisdictional immunity.
French law recognises the jurisdictional immunity of states, their organs and their instrumentalities in proceedings before a court. This immunity is not, however, absolute. French law does not generally grant such immunity to sub-national entities, such as regions and cities, unless, by way of exception, immunity is granted by way of a letter from the Foreign Ministry. The province of Quebec is one example.
As France uses a restrictive concept of sovereign immunity, it is not the nature of the entity performing the act, but rather the act that gave rise to a dispute that is the decisive factor in determining the scope of jurisdictional immunity. French case law considers, therefore, that jurisdictional immunity extends only to acts that constitute, by virtue of their nature or purpose, a sovereign act (as opposed to acta jure gestionis - see question 6).
State waiver of immunity or consent
How can the state, or its various organs and instrumentalities, waive immunity or consent to the exercise of jurisdiction?
French law recognises a state’s waiver of immunity so long as it is done in a certain, explicit and unequivocal manner. In light of this, certain conduct may be considered a waiver of sovereign immunity from suit. This includes, for instance, disputes where the state is the claimant, or disputes where the state pleaded on the merits or actively participated in the proceedings.
The consent of a state, or its various organs and instrumentalities, to the exercise of jurisdiction by virtue of an arbitration agreement also constitutes a waiver of jurisdictional immunity. French courts have also held that a state cannot rely on its jurisdictional immunity where it has concluded a contract granting jurisdiction to a specific court.
In which types of transactions or proceedings do states not enjoy immunity from suit (even without the state’s consent or waiver)? How does the law of your country assess whether a transaction falls into one of these categories?
Under the restrictive immunity approach adopted by French courts, acts by the state (or its organs or instrumentalities) are either classified as sovereign acts (acta jure imperii) or commercial acts (acta jure gestionis). To determine which of these applies to a specific act, French courts look to the nature or the purpose of the act; that is, they look to determine whether the act constitutes an act of sovereign power (eg, because it contains ‘exorbitant clauses’) or, alternatively, whether the act is performed for the purpose of public service. This test is commonly known as the ‘alternative criteria’ test. Most of the time, this determination is made by reference to French law.
Depending on these alternative factors, French courts have deemed various acts of a state (or its organs or instrumentalities) to be commercial acts incapable of attracting jurisdictional immunity, such as:
- contracts based on private law norms, practices and terms;
- legal relationships strictly governed by private law;
- lease contracts for the housing of an embassy’s employees; or
- a bank approval granted to a state (the court held that this constitutes a simple act of trade that was performed within the normal scope of activities of the bank such that no sovereign act could have been performed).
French case law has, therefore, developed an interpretation that generally excludes the benefit of sovereign immunity when states (or their organs or instrumentalities) engage in purely commercial transactions.
Another exception to jurisdictional immunity in France concerns employment disputes involving states (similar to article 11 of the 2004 UN Convention). French courts have also incorporated the exception to this rule for employment disputes, which maintains sovereign immunity despite the existence of an employment dispute (article 11.2). Following French courts’ interpretation of this exception, especially in relation to employees recruited to perform particular functions in the exercise of governmental authority (article 11.2.a), the employer state has been denied jurisdictional immunity in relation to the following types of employees:
- a doorman;
- a translator of documents not known to be classified as containing military secrets;
- a deputy press secretary for the Argentinian Embassy in charge of collecting, formatting and transmitting documents related to the Argentine state;
- an administrative aide to a foreign consulate; and
- a chauffeur for the Congolese Embassy whose position as adviser in charge of Francophonie and UNESCO could not be proven.
Other exceptions exist concerning the ownership, possession and use of property, intellectual property, participation in companies or other collective bodies and ships not being used, at the time the cause of action arose, for governmental non-commercial purposes.
If one of the exceptions to sovereign immunity set out above applies, is there any related principle that could prevent a court having jurisdiction over the state?
The principle of non-justiciability and the act of state doctrine are based on common law and not used in French law on immunities. There is no other principle that could prevent a court from having jurisdiction over the state.
Proceedings against a state enterprise
To what extent do proceedings against a state enterprise or similar entity affect the immunity enjoyed by the state? Is there precedent for piercing the corporate veil to subject the state itself to those proceedings?
Any entity acting on behalf of the state can claim jurisdictional immunity, as French case law holds that a company that does not benefit from autonomy from the state, whether in fact or according to law, and does not have assets that are distinct from those of the state, must be deemed an instrumentality of the state. These conditions are assessed case by case. The instrumentality will be deemed to be the state itself and will, as such, benefit from the state’s jurisdictional immunity.
What is the nexus the plaintiff needs to have standing to bring a claim against a state?
Article 31 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) provides that the right of action is available to all those who have a legitimate interest in the success or dismissal of a claim, without prejudice to those cases where the law confers the right of action solely upon persons it authorises to raise or oppose a claim, or to defend a particular interest. Other than this general requirement, there is no concept of nexus under French law that the plaintiff would need to establish in order to have standing to bring a claim against a state.
Nexus of forum court
What is the nexus the forum court requires to exercise jurisdiction over a state if the property or conduct that forms the subject of the claim is outside the forum state’s territory?
Beyond the principles of sovereign immunity, there are no specific rules governing the jurisdiction of French courts over a state. This means that the rules of general French law on jurisdiction would apply to claims brought against a state in French courts: at the international level, the domestic rules of ‘territorial’ jurisdiction (articles 42 to 49 of the CCP) are applied to the issue, unless EU law, such as the Brussels I Regulation or a treaty, are applicable.
Interim or injunctive relief
When a state is subject to proceedings before a court or arbitral tribunal in your jurisdiction, what interim or injunctive relief is available?
Broadly speaking, there are two types of measures that can be requested: provisional measures and conservatory measures. These measures are not specific to proceedings involving a state.
As a general rule, provisional measures will be requested before the juge des référés (in most cases, this judge will be the president of the court of first instance or of the commercial court) through expedited proceedings. A number of orders can be requested from this judge. Article 145 of the CCP, for instance, enables a party to file a request seeking, for a legitimate reason, to preserve or establish evidence of facts necessary for the resolution of the dispute on the merits. This is available to a party before the proceedings on the merits begin. Other measures include, in cases of urgency, ‘all measures that do not encounter any serious challenge or which the existence of the dispute justifies’(articles 808 and 872 of the CCP). Further, even in cases where there is a serious challenge, the president can order, in a summary procedure, such protective measures or measures to restore the parties to their previous state as required, either to avoid an imminent damage or to abate a manifestly illegal nuisance. The juge des référés may also award an interim payment to the creditor or order the mandatory performance of the obligation when its existence is not seriously challengeable.
Overall, the CCP provides for a variety of measures that can be ordered against the state through expedited proceedings. This goes from the stay or suspension of proceedings to the nomination of a provisional administrator for a corporation.
Where an arbitration agreement exists, article 1449 of the CCP allows for this request to be made only before the constitution of the arbitral tribunal, provided the request is urgent. Once the arbitral tribunal is constituted, the power to order conservatory or interim measures shifts to the arbitral tribunal, which can order any type of provisional or preliminary measures that it deems appropriate (except conservatory attachments or judicial security).
Conservatory measures typically include attachment orders. Article L.111-1-1 of the CEPC, which codifies articles 18 and 19 of the 2004 UN Convention, makes no distinction between pre-judgment and post-judgment measures of constraint, as it provides that a claimant seeking to take conservatory or enforcement measures against a foreign state’s asset must first get authorisation from the French juge de l’exécution. Although there are no limitations on the type of conservatory and enforcement measures available to the state’s creditor, the creditor is required to seek prior authorisation from a judge, which constitutes a significant hurdle to the collection of foreign states’ debts.
Pursuant to article L.111-1-2 of the CEPC, conservatory or enforcement measures cannot be granted unless:
- the state has expressly consented to the enforcement of such a measure;
- the state has allocated or earmarked property for the satisfaction of the claim that is the object of those proceedings; or
- a ruling or an arbitral award has been rendered against the state, and the property in question is specifically used or intended to be used by the state for non-public and non-commercial purposes, and this property shares a connection with the entity against which the proceedings have been initiated.
For a state’s assets or property to be the subject of conservatory measures, French courts therefore require the state to have expressly consented to the enforcement of conservatory measures. Alternatively, the creditor is required to demonstrate that the relevant assets have been allocated for the satisfaction of the claim. Finally, the creditor, who has obtained a judgment or arbitral award against a state, will not only have to provide proof of said judgment or award, but will also have to show the link between the assets to be attached and an activity or aim that is not, in principle, protected by sovereign immunity. The claimant will also have to show the link between the debtor (state or other entity) and the assets. Assets and property covered by diplomatic immunity require an express and special waiver to allow attachment.
When a state is subject to proceedings before a court or arbitral tribunal in your jurisdiction, what type of final relief is available?
As with interim relief, there are no limitations on the final relief available against a state that is a party to proceedings before a court or arbitral tribunal. Parties are, therefore, free to seek such relief as damages, cost sanctions or attachment orders.
Service of process
Identify the court or other entity that must be served with process before any proceeding against a state may be issued.
To notify the state (or any entity benefiting from jurisdictional immunity) of any proceeding, article 684 of the CCP provides that process may be served through a bailiff’s deed submitted to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, unless a European regulation or international treaty provides otherwise. Otherwise, there is no specific court or entity that must be served in relation to proceedings against a state.
How is process served on a state?
Article 684 of the CCP provides a method by which process may be served on a state (or any entity benefiting from jurisdictional immunity). This method involves addressing service of process, through a bailiff’s deed, to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The notification is then executed through diplomatic channels and via the French Ministry of Justice.
Other possible applicable instruments include Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2007 on the service in the member states of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters, and the Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, which may apply to documents instituting proceedings.
Judgment in absence of state participation
Under what conditions will a judgment be made against a state that does not participate in proceedings?
Judgments rendered against a state in absentia are governed by articles 471 to 479 of the CCP (these provisions are not specific to state-related proceedings). If the state fails to comply with the first subpoena to appear before the competent court, the judge may, following a request of the claimant or on its own initiative, issue a second subpoena against the state, or simply inform the state by way of letter of the consequences of the state’s failure to appear before the court. The judgment rendered in absentia can only be made after the limitation period of either the first or second subpoena (the longer of the two) has lapsed and if it constitutes a final instance decision where the state was not subpoenaed in person. This judgment will be considered adversarial (and not ex parte) if the state is allowed to appeal and the state was personally served with the subpoena. Finally, the judgment rendered in absentia will be rendered only when the court is satisfied as to the validity, admissibility, and well-founded or non-frivolous nature of the claim.
Article 479 of the CCP provides that the judgment rendered in absentia against a person residing abroad must expressly indicate the efforts made to inform the defendant of the case that led to said judgment.
Describe domestic law governing the scope of enforcement immunity.
Before the advent of articles L.111-1-1 to L.111-1-3 of the CEPC, French law on enforcement immunities was governed almost exclusively by case law, customary international law and international treaties. Only a very formal provision in the CEPC provided that ‘[f]orced execution and conservatory measures are not applicable to persons that benefit from enforcement immunity’ (article L.111-1, paragraph 3 of the CEPC), without any further explanation as to when enforcement immunity existed.
Under article L.111-1-1 of the CEPC, a claimant seeking to take interim or enforcement measures against a foreign state’s asset must first get the authorisation from the French juge de l’exécution. Article L.111-1-2 then provides the scope of enforcement immunity (see question 11).
French law also recognises diplomatic enforcement immunity (article L.111-1-3 of the CEPC), whose beneficiaries include diplomatic agents.
Application of civil procedure codes
When enforcing against a state, would debt collection statutes and the enforcement sections of civil procedure codes or similar codes also apply?
Yes, specific sections of the CEPC will apply to state’s assets (see question 16). A number of measures are available to the creditor (which are not specific to state-related proceedings), subject to the French juge de l’exécution’s authorisation, for instance third-party debt orders allowing a creditor to seek payment from a third party for money owed by the state, provided the creditor holds an execution order recognising a liquid and enforceable debt (eg, an award that has been recognised in France).
A number of other measures are available to states’ creditors, including, for instance, foreclosure and sale orders for movable goods, orders compelling delivery by the debtor of targeted assets and restitution orders.
Consent for further enforcement proceedings
Does a prior submission to the jurisdiction of a court or tribunal constitute consent for any further enforcement proceedings against the property of the state?
Article L.111-1-2 of the CEPC provides three alternative criteria that allow a creditor to attach the state’s assets (see question 11).
Further, the rules governing a state’s diplomatic immunity are set out under article L.111-1-3 of the CEPC, which provides that enforcement measures (measures of constraint) may not be issued against the assets, including bank accounts, of a state used or intended to be used in the performance of diplomatic functions of foreign states or their consulates, their special missions or missions to international organisations, unless the relevant state has issued an express and specific waiver.
In practice, this means that a state’s consent to waive its jurisdictional immunity will have no impact on the creditor’s ability to attach state assets or property since the creditor will have to go through the filter of articles L.111-1-1 to L.111-1-3 of the CEPC to prove that either the debtor state has consented to waive its enforcement immunity, or the assets in question do not fall within the purview of the Sapin II provisions.
Property or assets subject to enforcement or execution
Describe the property or assets that would typically be subject to enforcement or execution.
The Sapin II law provides a list of assets that are protected, in principle, by sovereign immunity (see question 20). Further, French law places the burden of proof on the judgment or award creditor, seeking to attach a state’s assets, pursuant to article L.111-1-2 of the CEPC (see question 11).
Case law will be necessary to determine precisely which assets or property may be covered by enforcement immunity and which assets or property may not.
Before the entry into force of Sapin II, French courts had been consistent in interpreting sovereign immunity as a principle, subject to certain exceptions. As such, the burden of proof fell on the claimant to prove that the targeted assets or property had been allocated to the economic or commercial activity governed by private law that forms the object of the dispute. This allocation implied a link between the targeted asset and the economic or commercial activity forming the object of the dispute, which the creditor also had to prove.
French case law reversed, however, this burden of proof when the defendant was not the state itself but rather a distinct public entity, which has allocated assets or property to a main activity governed by private law. The burden of proof would then fall on this public entity to determine the public nature or allocation of these assets.
Assets covered by enforcement immunity
Describe the assets that would normally be covered by enforcement immunity and give examples of any restrictive or broader interpretations adopted by the courts.
Article L.111-1-2 of the CEPC provides a non-exhaustive list of assets and property that are, in principle, covered by enforcement immunity:
- assets, including bank accounts, that are used or intended for use in performing a state’s diplomatic or consular functions; special missions; missions to international organisations; and its delegations to international organisations and conferences;
- assets of a military nature or property used or intended for use in the exercise of military functions;
- assets that are part of the state’s cultural heritage or its archives, which are not offered or intended for sale;
- assets that are part of an exhibition of objects of a scientific, cultural or historic interest, which are not offered or intended for sale; or
- tax or social receivables of the state.
Previously, French case law had established immunity of state assets and property as the rule, with the inapplicability of this rule being the exception.
Explain whether the property or bank accounts of a central bank or other monetary authority would be covered by enforcement immunity even when such property is in use or is intended for use for commercial purposes.
Assets or property held by foreign central banks and monetary authorities may indeed benefit from enforcement immunity under article L.153-1 of the French Monetary and Financial Code. This immunity is triggered when the assets, held by the bank or authority, either belong to said bank, authority or the state.
Article L.153-1, paragraph 2 of the French Monetary and Financial Code provides, however, an exception: although the central bank or authority may hold or manage its own assets and property, these assets and property will not benefit from enforcement immunity when the bank (or authority) allocates them to a main activity that is private in nature.
Test for enforcement
Explain whether domestic jurisprudence has developed any further test that must be satisfied before enforcement against a state is permitted.
No. Other than the conditions established under Sapin II, French law has not developed any further tests for enforcement against a state. Since Sapin II is still fairly new, it remains to be seen how the courts will apply it and the scope they will give to the protection of sovereign assets.
Service of arbitration award or judgment
How is a state served with process or otherwise notified before an arbitration award or judgment against it (or its organs and instrumentalities) may be enforced?
As discussed under question 14, article 684 of the CCP provides the general method by which a creditor may serve process on a state (or any entity benefiting from jurisdictional immunity).
Before the enforcement of an arbitration award or foreign judgment, a claimant is first required to seek an exequatur order authorising the enforcement of said award or judgment. The process of obtaining an exequatur order differs depending on whether the subject of the exequatur order is an arbitration award or a foreign judgment.
For an arbitration award, the procedure is simpler and quicker than the procedure concerning foreign judgments. Where an arbitration award has been rendered in France or abroad, the most diligent party (usually the winning party in the arbitration) will have to seek an exequatur order either before the territorially competent court of first instance or the High Court of Paris, respectively. The judge only verifies that the award does not violate French public policy (French international public policy in the case of foreign awards). The order is then typically rendered within one to four weeks. The exequatur request does not require the presence of the debtor (the state or its organs and instrumentalities) but the exequatur order must be notified to the debtor who may then raise an appeal on the grounds set out in article 1520 of the CCP. The debtor must appeal the exequatur order within three months of service of process.
With regard to foreign judgments, there are different applicable regimes. Under the French common regime, the creditor may seek an exequatur order before the territorially competent judge of the court of first instance. Contrary to the ex parte nature of an exequatur request regarding an arbitral award, the creditor of a foreign judgment must file a writ of summons thereby requiring the presence of the debtor (the state or its organs or instrumentalities). Submissions between the parties will then be exchanged and hearings convened.
The French judge examines the following three conditions: the foreign judge’s jurisdiction; the foreign judgment’s conformity with French international public policy; and the absence of fraud. The exequatur order rendered by the High Court judge may be appealed or contested following the recourse measures normally available under French law. After obtaining an exequatur order, the creditor may seek an enforcement order against the targeted assets under article L.111-1-1 of the CEPC.
A specific regime may apply to judgments within the scope of Regulation (EU) No. 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Recast Brussels Regulation), especially articles 39 to 44. Under the Recast Brussels Regulation, the judgment creditor simply needs a certificate, attesting to the judgment’s enforceability, from the jurisdiction that rendered the judgment. The creditor does not have to notify the debtor before seeking interim relief based on the judgment unless the judgment was rendered ex parte. To obtain enforcement orders, the certificate, along with the judgment, must be served on the debtor.
History of enforcement proceedings
Is there a history of enforcement proceedings against states in your jurisdiction? What part of these proceedings is based on arbitral awards?
French case law has traditionally been the main source of the law on immunities. A large number of these cases involve enforcement proceedings against a state (or its organs and instrumentalities) and its assets.
For instance, in one case, the court established diplomatic immunity as being distinct from general enforcement immunity by declaring that the immunities of diplomatic agents or missions are inherently linked to the conduct of international relations and are, therefore, governed by different rules than state enforcement immunity, which is governed by international public law principles. In a subsequent case, French courts established the requirement of an express and specific waiver of immunity for diplomatic assets to be attached.
The principle was later overturned in a decision that held that waiver of such diplomatic enforcement immunity only needed to be express to allow attachment by the creditor. Following heated debates concerning the scope and strength of the protection to be afforded to diplomatic assets, the French parliament adopted the Sapin II Law, which reinstates the need for an express and specific waiver. The Court of Cassation recently applied Sapin II to facts that occurred before its entry into force.
Are there any public databases through which assets held by states may be identified?
Would a court in your state be competent to assist with or otherwise intervene to help identify assets held by states in the territory?
No, there are no courts that assist with or otherwise intervene to help identify assets held by states in the territory.
Immunity of international organisations
Does the state’s law make specific provision for immunity of international organisations?
No, French law does not provide for any specific immunity for international organisations. Immunity of international organisations largely stems from treaties or host agreements signed by France.
French courts have held that international organisations, whose constituting treaty or host agreement has been signed and ratified by France, benefit in principle from the immunity set out therein, unless there is a violation of a person’s right to a hearing, an express exception within the relevant instrument, or a waiver by the relevant international organisation.
Domestic legal personality
Does the state consider international organisations headquartered or operating in its territory as enjoying domestic legal personality and could such organisations be subjected to proceedings before a court or arbitral tribunal?
International organisations established in France may be considered as legal persons. Although these organisations do not constitute sovereign entities such as states, French law recognises, by virtue of the host agreement or constituting treaty (for example, article 104 of the United Nations Charter), an international organisation’s legal capacity ‘as may be necessary for the exercise of its functions and the fulfilment of its purposes’.
An international organisation’s legal personality does not, however, impact its ability to invoke immunity. This immunity is derived from the express terms of the relevant treaties and host agreements, which establish the contours of the international organisation’s immunity protection.
This raises a question concerning the possible abuse of such immunity, especially concerning labour law. French case law sanctions, as a matter of public policy, international organisations that seek to invoke their jurisdictional immunity without providing any means of internal recourse for employees (former or current).
Would international organisations in the state enjoy enforcement immunity? Are there any cases where debtors sought to enforce against a state by attaching or executing assets held by international organisations?
Enforcement immunity of international organisations is essentially dependant on their statutes or constituting treaties. International organisations will enjoy enforcement immunity if this is stipulated in the constituting treaty or host agreement.
An international organisation may waive its enforcement immunity. The waiver is, however, examined case by case. This means that each time the international organisation’s enforcement immunity is at issue, even before the same jurisdiction with the same parties but for two or more different disputes, the international organisation would have separately to waive its enforcement immunity for each dispute.
French case law is yet to adopt a uniform approach to the interpretation of an international organisation’s immunity. In a specific case, however, the court explained that state and international organisation’s immunities are different in that the latter’s immunity is absolute, and only subject to the restrictions provided by the international organisation’s host agreement.
Updates & Trends
Updates and trends
The current hot topic concerning French law on immunities is the impact of the Sapin II Law, and especially its impact on the attractiveness of Paris as a premier place of arbitration and dispute resolution. The very terms of Sapin II show that the attachment of sovereign states’ assets has been rendered much more difficult in France.
Execution of awards and foreign judgments must meet the additional conditions in articles L.111-1-1 and L.111-1-3 of the CEPC, and the courts’ interpretation of the new rules will consequently affect parties’ interest in having their foreign awards or judgments executed in France.
One recent case has retroactively applied these new rules to prevent the attachment of diplomatic assets by a creditor. It is too early, however, to determine the real impact of these new rules since French law on immunities relies heavily on case law.