A European Kiobel? The Court of Appeal at Versailles in AFPS and PLO v Alstom

Elise Maes reported earlier in June on the judgment of the Court of Appeal at Versailles in AFPS and PLO v Alstom. Ms Maes flags a number of interesting issues which I shall not repeat here for readers can review Elise’s paper for themselves. In particular, the comparison between the USSC ruling in Kiobel, and the current ruling by the Versailles Court of Appeal.

The judgment provides plenty of issues to ponder for comparative contract law; international law; private law; and private international law.  To Elise’s reasoning, I would like to add:

– the complex distinction between French (and perhaps continental) law and the common law on ‘objective’ v ‘subjective’ interpretation of contracts. I am not au fait with the finer details however they seem to have made an impact in the judgment at issue (see in particular p.19 ff.)

– the relevance of the lex fori in the judgment and the absence of any considerations on the lex contractus;

– the examples which the Court refers to in the context of ‘horizontal’ effect of international law: these are quite diferent from the examples given by the Appeals Circuit in the Kiobel case.

The case is likely to lead to the cour de cassation, I imagine, for further appeal on points of law.


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