COMPETITION • FRENCH LAW • CIVIL SANCTIONS
In order to ensure that the judicial courts called upon to rule on the application of Articles L. 420-1 et seq. of the Commercial Code, are fully competent, a specialization of the courts has been created by Articles L. 420-7 and R. 420-3. Eight judicial courts and eight commercial courts are competent, depending on the status of the parties, to rule on competition disputes: they are located in Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille, Fort-de-France, Lyon, Nancy, Paris and Rennes. The Paris Court of Appeal has exclusive jurisdiction to hear appeals against the judgments of the specialized courts. These rules of jurisdiction are a matter of public policy: the parties may only derogate from them by the stipulation of international choice of forum clauses; they apply to actions on the merits or in interim proceedings, whether Articles L. 420-1 et seq. are invoked as a main plea, as a simple defense or as an alternative plea. Finally, when, despite these rules, a non-specialized court of first instance has given a ruling, jurisdiction to hear the appeal against its decision lies with the court of appeal within its jurisdiction, which must, however, raise of its own motion the abuse of power committed by the court of first instance and annul its decision, ruling, where appropriate, on the claims based on other provisions.