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Journal articles

L’évolution de la responsabilité civile des sociétés en droit français

Abstract : Recent reforms in tort law have important consequences for the liability of companies in general and business corporations in particular. Numerous laws have been passed since 2016 to create or reinforce corporate liability regimes, such as the law introducing ecological damage, the ordinance relating to damages awarded to the victims of anti-competitive practices, or the law introducing a duty of care within certain companies. The combination of these laws reveals two directions in which corporate liability is tending to move. The first is a rise in the moral standard of corporate behaviour. Pursuant to these new texts, legal persons must follow a certain standard of behaviour in their actions or risk punishment under tort law. Corporate social responsibility is thus becoming less and less moral and more and more legal. The second direction in which company law is moving is more surprising, as it may change a general principle of company law. Several laws seem to introduce a liability of the parent company for its subsidiary, which at first sight seems to be contrary to the principle of autonomy of each company within a group. The law creating a duty of vigilance thus makes it possible to sanction the parent company in the event of human rights or environmental violations committed by its subsidiary. To do so, however, the parent company must have failed to put in place or implement a due diligence plan. In this case, the damage compensated will be that caused by the subsidiary, but the fault opening the case to liability will be that of the parent company. However, a new rule mixing competition law and civil liability law may lead to the parent company being liable with its subsidiary without even having to prove any fault on its part. By presuming that all the persons composing the company condemned for an anti-competitive infringement are at fault, the Commercial Code opens up the possibility of condemning a parent company if one of its subsidiaries has committed an anti-competitive fault. The importation of a competition law concept into tort law thus leads to a profound change in tort law within the corporate group.
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Contributor : Véronique Lacroix Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - 10:39:38 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 1, 2022 - 3:43:37 AM

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Matthieu Zolomian. L’évolution de la responsabilité civile des sociétés en droit français. Les Cahiers de droit, Université Laval, 2021, 62 (3), pp.827-857. ⟨10.7202/1080614ar⟩. ⟨halshs-03343428⟩



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