The Macron law of 7 August 2015, named after the current Minister of the Economy, anticipated the establishment of specialized commercial courts which will process the most complex insolvency proceedings. Currently, any of the 134 French commercial courts can be applied to; the choice being mainly the location of the distressed company’s headquarters. This new arrangement aims to improve efficiency and to increase the number of specialized judges (because in France, commercial judges are lay judges). The aim of the reform is to save jobs. The choice of specialized commercial court is justified by the complexity and urgency of many matters and the need for a short response time.
On 27 November the Minister of Justice, Mrs Taubira, revealed the list of 18 specialized commercial courts which will look after distressed companies with more than 250 employees and with a turnover of more than EUR 20,000,000.
The relevant courts are those in: Besançon, Bordeaux, Évry, Grenoble, Lille Métropole, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nanterre, Nantes, Nice, Orléans, Paris, Poitiers, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg and Toulouse.
One should be surprised that neither Bobigny, Créteil nor Versailles are on the list, even though they deal with important matters and ensure that the Paris area is not under-represented.
This list (which has implications for workforce transfers and supplementary funds allocation) has resulted in intense debates between the Chancery (Ministry of Justice) and Bercy (Ministry of Economy), as they disagree on the number of specialized commercial courts required (wanting to appoint between 8 and 35 from the 134 existing courts).
We guess that the debate has not fully concluded but they must be close to agreement as the final list has to be officially published by decree, early in 2016, after the awaited opinion of the National Assembly of Commercial Courts.