The exequatur in France of the judgments delivered by the American tribunals


The developed commercial and personal relations between France and the United States bring much litigation before the French and American tribunals and courts.


Very many decisions are delivered each year by the French tribunals and courts relative with the exequatur in France of American judgments and arbitral awards.


The conditions and procedure for the exequatur of the American judgments in France


No agreement of legal cooperation in the civil matter has been signed between France and the United States.



The conditions are set forth by French case law, lastly in the Cornelissen case.


The applicant to the exequatur shall establish that the three following conditions are satisfied by the American judgment:


-      The indirect jurisdiction of the foreign judge (the American judge) founded on the fastening of the litigation to the seized judge.


-      The conformity with the international legal and procedural public order.


-      The absence of fraud to the law.


Not less than 4 cases have been delivered by the French Cour de cassation during the year 2010, which places the United States like one of the countries the most concerned with the procedure of the exequatur in France.


These 4 cases are the following:


-      Cour de cassation, December 1st, 2010, Mr. and Mrs. X vs. Fountaine Pajot: refusal of the exequatur of a decision delivered by the Supreme Court of California (County of Alameda) having condemned a French company to compensate a couple of American nationality living in the United States, for an amount of 3.253.734,45 dollars. The Cour de cassation decides that: "If the principle of judgment with punitive damages, is not, in oneself, opposite with the public order, it is different when the allocated amount is disproportionate taking into consideration failure and undergone damage to the contractual obligations of the debtor". Maître David MOTTE-SURANITI wrote a comment about this decision, consultable while clicking on this link. 


-      Cour de cassation, November 4th, 2010: refusal of the recognition of a judgment of divorce delivered by the Court of Harris (State of Texas) because, raises the Cour de cassation: "the foreign judgment harmed to essential principles of the French law founded on the equality of the parents in the exercise of the parental authority and on the respect of the private life and family".


-      Cour de cassation, November 4th, 2010, Stone Incorporated Panels vs. Stone International Panel & M.Y: exequatur granted to a judgment delivered by the County Court of the County of Dallas (State of Texas) having condemned a French company and a private individual to compensate an American company for an amount of 734.600 dollars, in the absence of contrariety with the international public order.


-      Cour de cassation, July 8th, 2010: exequatur granted to a decision of the Superior court of the County of Dekalb (State of Georgia) having pronounced an adoption. The Cour de cassation decides that the decision which divides the parental authority between the mother and the adoptant of a child is not contrary to the French international public order.


Besides, in 2009, French case law considered that the anti-suit injunction is conform to the French international public order (Cour de cassation, October 14th, 2009, In Zone Brands international INC & Mr. X vs. In Beverage international: anti-suit injunction pronounced by the Superior Court of the Cobb County, Georgia, United States).


The experience and the network of Maître David MOTTE-SURANITI in the exequatur of the American judgments in France


Maître David MOTTE-SURANITI proceeds regularly to the exequatur in France of judgments delivered in the United States while resting, in addition to his practice of the private international law, on an experience passed in the United States having allowed him to acquire certain knowledge of the American law (Florida).


The Firm profits from a network of Colleagues, practicing as well in France as in the United States, registered in the various Bars of the United States.


In addition to the aspects of private international law and exequatur, the Firm is thus able to quickly consult, in the eventual need of a necessary explanation on the American law and procedure, its Colleagues in California, Florida, New York and Washington.