France: The Signing Of 2 Mediation Charters - A Serious Boost For Mediation And ADR In France

Last Updated: 20 March 2007
Article by Antoine Adeline

« Les preuves fatiguent la vérité »

« Evidence tires the Truth"(Georges Braque)

Question: "How can you benefit from a conflict?"

Pipedreams ?… Or alternatively just by succeeding at trial?

This was the message delivered by France’s Finance Minister, Thierry Breton, at the signing of the Commercial Mediation Charter on 22 November 2005 at the Paris Chamber of Commerce.

Answer: Neither. By achieving a win/win outcome and particularly with an ‘opponent’ who may well be an existing or future customer.

This was the message delivered by France’s Finance Minister, Thierry Breton, at the signing of the Commercial Mediation Charter on 22 November 2005 at the Paris Chamber of Commerce and he was suggesting that the way to do this was through ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) and Mediation in particular.

The charter was signed by such prestigious companies as Alcatel, Auchan, Club Med, Saint-Gobain, Dassault Systems, Carrefour, Publicis, Renault, Thomson, Thalès and Total...

First class names, and this is probably just the beginning.

One year later, on 16 October 2006, more than 100 law firms (large, small, regional, Parisian, niche, general etc.) also signed a mediation charter.

The two charters were prepared under the aegis of the Academie de Médiation, which informally brings together mediators, legal directors, judges and lawyers to deal with the development of ADR in the business world.

Commercial Mediation charter

The businesses that signed the commercial mediation charter, aware of the benefits of solving commercial disputes in an amicable manner announced their intention:

  • "to examine if recourse to a resolution procedure of a dispute is possible and advisable when they are in a situation which may lead to a dispute;
  • in the event of a positive response, to propose an amicable solution to the other parties, whilst providing, where needed all necessary information;
  • for contractual matters, whenever possible and desirable, to introduce Mediation clauses into agreements;
  • to put in place internal training;
  • more generally, to communicate the charter’s objective."

Law firms Mediation charter

The Charter signed by the lawyers is the counterpart of the business charter. It states:

"Law firms subscribing to this charter are aware that:

  • it is in their clients’ interests to prevent disputes and to resolve their disputes amicably rather than through litigation;
  • there are techniques and procedures that allow for amicable solutions, even where negotiations have failed and court proceedings have been initiated.

That is why, they have announced that they intend:

  1. to inform their clients that these methods exist and that they have signed up to this charter;
  2. to examine if recourse to an amicable dispute resolution procedure is possible and expedient, where their clients find themselves in a pre litigation situation or are lured into judicial or arbitration proceedings;
  3. where there is a positive outcome from this examination, to propose an amicable procedure to the other parties whilst providing them, where necessary, with all relevant useful information on the subject;
  4. to renew this examination where needed during the litigation procedure, where it has not been possible to warn parties at the outset;
  5. to insert an adapted clause for amicable resolution into the contracts they draft, wherever possible and expedient;
  6. to put in place internal training so that methods for settling disputes amicably are well known by lawyers that may encounter litigious situations and so that the lawyers responsible for managing disputes are aware of these methods for the best interests of their clients;
  7. to meet with other firms that have signed this charter and the businesses that have signed up to the inter-company charter for the resolution of commercial disputes to compare their experiences in relation to the amicable resolution of disputes."

Hammonds Hausmann is proud to have promoted and signed the charter.

An obvious pragmatic and satisfactory solution

The advantages of ADR are now well known:

Compared to conventional dispute resolution methods (litigation or arbitration) Mediation provides cost and time benefits, predictability, re-appropriation of the conflict by the parties and, last but not least, the conservation of the parties’ commercial relationship.

Strong or evident points often mean that one forgets and neglects this alternative form of justice. In a conflict it is often time to call on an independent third party to bring the parties back to the negotiation table. Neither Judge, nor Arbitrator, nor even King Salomon, the Mediator has no authority, he is a facilitator, a technician of both dialogue and non-confrontational negotiation. The process is confidential. Furthermore, global figures show that it works in three quarters of all cases - a figure that speaks volumes.

Without launching into comparative anthropology (we know for example that in Asia open conflicts are not warmly welcomed and that many social regulators allow for their numbers to be limited), in the West there was an old and vivid tradition of Mediation in certain social circles. For example, the Gratien Decree (Canon law 12th century) states in Distinction 90: "Bishops must not approve of contestations and must look to settle those of parties who are in disagreement".

We are somewhat rediscovering the obvious!

Mediation in France

France is behind the UK and the US in terms of commercial Mediation for a number of reasons: it is not natural for the French, whose mentality is to rely on the State, pitting conceptual or even idealistic notions of "Régle de droit", Truth and Justice against the pragmatic problem-solving Anglo American approach. Mediation is considered as private and therefore potentially hazardous justice. Finally, litigating in France is considerably cheaper and involves little or no cost sanctions for the ultimate loser, even where his good faith is not entirely beyond question.

However, demand is on the increase. The French business world along with numerous French lawyers and judges are becoming more and more sensitive to the potential advantages of Mediation. The time is approaching where the lawyer will be held responsible if it has not taken care to inform and to advise his client about the existence and the advantages of Mediation.

Mediation services and training are now available at appealing prices. The "Paris Centre for Mediation and Arbitration" (CMAP) which has been working hard for over 10 years deserves to be mentioned as an example.

In February 2003, the Cour de cassation (France’s Supreme Court) ruled that where a pre-litigation mediation clause has been provided for contractually compliance with it is mandatory and cannot be bypassed by the parties or their lawyers (Cour de cassation Chambre. mixte, 14 February 2003).

In an age where the cost of business disputes is subject to thorough scrutiny at a micro and macroeconomic level; where the number of laws creates uncertainty and is growing like topsy and where the Jupiterian model (legal, rational, pyramidal, Kelsenian) which dominates in France, seems to be set to fail, Mediation looks like a triple "win win" solution - for the people, for the business world and for the state budget.

At Hammonds Hausmann we are keen defenders and promoters of Mediation. We have recourse to it within the Commercial Dispute Resolution department and our non-contentious colleagues are keen advocates of contractual mediation or conciliation clauses.

As pragmatic and client focused practitioners we know that a trial is not necessarily the right answer. Ambrose Bierce once said that litigation is a machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage ! The statement is slightly unfair and sometimes one has no choice but to litigate ; however the message remains : over-indulgence on this type of charcuterie can seriously damage your business’ financial health.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.