Is it possible for a French company to draft its contractual documents in English relating to its commercial activities with another French company ?
On this issue a French company having relationships overseas referred the matter to the “Commission d’Examen des Pratiques Commerciales”, a French governemental body, which power is to render advisory opinions.
The Commission, in its opinion dated May 12, 2016, hold that French language is not required to draft contacts between two private law corporate entities and that English may be used. It is based on the “Toubon” legislation which requires French language only in contracts concluded between a public or private entity performing public services functions.
Nevertheless in case of litigation in courts, the documents drafted in French or translated in French will be taken into consideration only. Therefore watch for translation fees !!!
In the contrary, it must be remembered that the Toubon legislation requires the use of the French language for the designation, the offer, the presentation of goods and services as well towards the consumer as public announcement.
Likewise, if the French employment contract must be “in writing and drafted in French" and this even though it is performed abroad (Section L1221-3 of the Labor Code).