French-American Bar Association Announces The Filing Before The French Supreme Court Of A Challenge Against A New Surveillance & Intelligence Bill Approved By The French Parliament On June 25, 2015

lawThomas Vandenabeele, President, Pierre Ciric, Vice-President, and Ms. Pascale Longuet, Member of the French-American Bar Association, announce the filing of a constitutional challenge before the “Conseil Constitutionnel,” France’s highest court, against a new surveillance and intelligence bill approved by the French parliament on June 25, 20115. This bill is currently being reviewed by the “Conseil Constitutionnel” on other grounds.

This filing involves article L. 821-7 of the bill, which exempts certain professions from the bill’s surveillance provisions, including lawyers. In its final version, the bill exempts lawyers from surveillance techniques implemented without judicial supervision, as long as the lawyer is located in France.

“This provision means that any lawyer located outside France who interacts with a party located in France will be subject to surveillance techniques such as wiretapping, which are in direct conflict with the lawyer’s obligation to maintain confidentiality of communications with his clients. This situation is not acceptable,” said Vandenabeele.

This filing before France’s highest court also raises the question of future legal challenges against the bill, which could be prevented by the so-called “blanket” filings presented by the President of the French Senate and by the President of the Republic, François Hollande. “We are asking the High Court to resolve this conflict between the two procedures, because the filing of the so-called “blanket” filings by the President of the Senate and the President of the Republic are in direct conflict with the right of our members to challenge this bill in a future lawsuit,” said Ciric, who co-signed the filing with the “Conseil Constitutionnel.”

The French American Bar Association (“FABA”) is a not-for-profit association incorporated in the State of New York, and gathers a large number of leading Franco-American attorneys and in-house lawyers across the United States. FABA also has a sister group in Paris incorporated as a French not-for-profit entity which frequently interacts with the Paris Bar.