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Sylvie Gallage-Alwis interviewed in the Legal Business 2024 Disputes Yearbook

By Sylvie Gallage-Alwis

Partner Sylvie Gallage-Alwis discusses product liability, recent trends in toxic tort litigation, and the cultural differences of being both an avocat à la cour in France and a solicitor in England and Wales, in her Q&A with Legal Business as part of the 2024 Disputes Yearbook.

Partner Sylvie Gallage-Alwis discusses product liability, recent trends in toxic tort litigation, and the cultural differences of being both an avocat à la cour in France and a solicitor in England and Wales, in her Q&A with Legal Business as part of the 2024 Disputes Yearbook.

Sylvie’s interview was published in Legal Business, 25 April 2024, and can be found here.

Can you describe your experience and areas of expertise within the French legal system, particularly in relation to dispute resolution? How do you stay updated with changes in French law and jurisprudence that impact your practice?

I am both an avocat à la cour in France and a solicitor in England and Wales. I became a solicitor while being seconded in the London office of my previous firm. I spent ten years in an international full-service law firm before opening the Paris office of the disputes-focused firm Signature Litigation with two other partners in 2019. Five years later, our Paris office counts six partners and more than 20 associates. We have become one of the largest dispute-only teams in Paris.

My focus has always been to defend manufacturers, whether French or international, doing business in France which are facing litigation and regulators’ investigations.

I am therefore involved in all types of litigation manufacturers can get involved in: commercial litigation (unfair competition, termination of contract, breach of contract); product liability; product safety; toxic tort and hazardous substances; and environment/pollution/climate change litigation. I also help our clients when they are subject to investigations by the French regulators on the compliance of their products or of their selling channels (this is how for instance we have developed specific expertise in assisting marketplaces).

As such, we try cases before commercial, civil, administrative, and labour/social security courts, both at first and appellate levels.

The topics we encounter are very varied and it is important to stay up to date, not just with French law and case law but also at European Union level and even worldwide as product or manufacturing-related issues are generally global and the strategy implemented in one jurisdiction should not impact the strategy that could be developed in other jurisdictions later on. We obviously review case law on a regular basis, as well as new regulation, we follow updates through media statements from the French state and the European Union authorities. We monitor the websites of the French and European regulators and courts. We are also keeping ourselves updated through websites compiling case law and LinkedIn.

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