Paris Court of Appeal, 13 April 2021 – Guinea v. AD Trade RG No. 18/09809

By Signature Litigation
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Signature Litigation

Can breach of a foreign overriding mandatory rule be a ground for annulment of an award in France?

On 13 April, the Paris Court of Appeal reminded that annulment of an award on such grounds is only possible where foreign overriding mandatory rules protect “values and principles” also protected by French public policy.In the case at hand, the underlying arbitration had handled overriding Guinean procurement legislation requiring a Minister’s approval for all procurement contracts. To decide if a breach of this legislation also violated French public policy, the Paris Court of Appeal looked at:

  • whether French procurement law had similar provisions; and
  • whether such a formality resulted from an international consensus as expressed by the UNCITRAL model law on Public Procurement.

As neither sources supported such a specific approval, the Paris Court of Appeals denied annulment on such grounds.

The Court also noted that the Guinean Republic had itself breached the legislation and could not invoke such a breach to avoid its obligations under the contract.

It also looked at whether the underlying contract breached sale restrictions on weapons.

A link to the ruling can be found here.


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