First for Disputes conference - Paris

18 March 2016

10.00 - 16.45

Bird & Bird, 3 Square Edouard VII, 75009 Paris

Bird & Bird is well known, internationally, as a major player in the field of Dispute Resolution. Our First for Disputes Conference in Paris aims to share with our clients the wealth and diversity of our experience on dispute resolution.

We are offering morning sessions consisting of a choice of targeted workshops, where each participant can select between sessions covering among others: arbitration, IT, public or tax law disputes and industrial tribunals. The afternoon plenary sessions offer the opportunity to take stock of three cross disciplinary subjects specific to dispute resolution, and also to focus on our business in Asia.

We have kept the programme flexible, to allow you to adapt it according to your specific interests. We hope that you will be able to attend for the full day, but if you are more interested in the subjects covered in the afternoon, we would welcome you to join us for lunch and the afternoon's plenary session, or vice versa. Please note that numbers are limited for the morning workshops.

Would you like to attend?

The programme

Time Workshop session
10.00 - 10.20

Welcome and refreshments

10.20 - 11.00

Investigations and enquiries by public authorities: how best to react?

Searches by the Competition Authority, investigations by CNIL, as well as infringement seizures (investigative powers held by process servers and possible actions in recourse, protection of confidential data), how best to react to these measures and reduce risks? 

Arbitration Tool Kit

  • Annet van Hooft, Partner, Arbitration

Commercial arbitration is an alternate means of dispute resolution which might appear problematic to the uninitiated. In this session our intention is to present essential pointers to success in arbitration. We will concentrate on the practical aspects and the different tools required:

  • Why choose arbitration?
  • Drawing up an arbitration clause 
  • Choosing the right body
  • Choosing the arbitrator
  • Arbitration proceedings and the arbitrator's mission;
  • Enforcement of the award.

Identifying the appropriate judge for disputes involving public sector contracts (sub-contracting, competition…)

Major public sector business contracts (public procurement, concessions, PPP etc), have for several years been a favoured ground for innovation by the administrative courts. The development of precedent, often beneficial to the public and private players involved in these contracts, has thus played a significant role in ensuring that such contracts are secure. Reinforcement of the requirements in terms of access to pre-contractual interim proceedings (EC 20082008 SMIRGEONES), a profound renewal of the role of the contractual courts (EC, Commune de Béziers) and, above all, the development of an action to dispute the validity of the contract, open to a third party (EC, 20072007 Tropic Travaux Signalisation Guadeloupe, then EC 2014, Département de Tarn-et-Garonne) are all notable.

For its part the Court of Conflicts has shown its intention to more clearly signal the frontiers between the jurisdictions of the administrative and the judicial courts and to revamp solutions which are out of step with the requirements of daily business. However, the growing complexity of the contractual structures which public bodies are now party to, along with controversial, indeed some clearly disputable, solutions (TC, 14 December 2015, Région Ile-de-France) have given rise to uncertainty, and therefore insecurity in an unexpected area: the jurisdiction of the administrative courts. An update is required then, to identify the areas of difficulty, identify inconsistencies and suggest ideas for moving forward.

Disputes concerning discrimination and moral harassment

We will look at how to contain risks and best manage dispute resolution in these cases.

11.05 - 11.45

Carve-out of an under-performing subsidiary or a business division: risks and liabilities run by shareholders

Sale is an obvious alternative to simple closure of an under-performing site. What happens however, if the take-over fails?

Shareholders run concrete risks in terms of actions for liability on both commercial and labour law levels, therefore such an operation may not be envisaged solely from the perspective of company law. We propose to identify the risks involved and the means of addressing them through a study of some recent cases.

Gathering evidence

Evidence lies at the heart both of dispute resolution and pre-litigation. When evidence is held by the opposing party, or by a third party, what procedural tools make it possible to access it, or to enforce its production? The success of court action is dependent on this. We will look at enforced production of evidence, prior to court proceedings and by unannounced visits, also during the court proceedings or the court-appointed expert consultancy, as well as the means of opposing such production

Evaluation of economic harm

  • Sabine Sardou, Partner, Tax
  • Loïc Poullain, Associate, Dispute Resolution and Aviation

Compensation is the final aim of most lawsuits. However, calculation of the harm suffered is frequently neglected, although anticipation of the financial claim in advance of the court proceedings is key to obtaining the desired compensation. During this session we will look at practical aspects to be taken into account:

  • How to provide proof of the damage suffered?
  • How to calculate the amount of damages and the financial, accounting or other techniques to be used?
  • When is recourse to a court-appointed expert consultancy appropriate? And when a privately assigned expert?
  • How to react to claims which are clearly disproportionate?

Collective labour disputes

Employment protection plans, information, consultation…: we will look at how to plan ahead for disputes and defence strategies.

11.45 - 12.00  Break
12.15 - 13.00

Managing termination of commercial relations to avoid litigation

Ending an established, commercial relationship is a source of risk. Best planning for contractual termination and minimisation of the risk of legal action involves many factors being taken into account when a commercial relationship is ended. We will look at all these factors and give you practical advice based on our experience.

Industrial tribunal proceedings: new rules

The Macron law has made significant changes concerning industrial tribunals, with the intention of simplifying and streamlining this unavoidable aspect of business life in France.

We will also look at the new means of amicable settlement of disputes, before looking at industrial tribunal procedure and the importance of pre-litigation strategy, using practical case examples and throwing light on the orders most frequently handed down.

Managing IT incidents 

  • Marc Schuler, Partner, Intellectual Property

The technical nature of IT incidents means that recourse to a court-appointed expert is practically compulsory. We will look at best practice in managing such a process, of which the result is sometimes unpredictable. We will therefore look in detail at all the recommendations intended to prevent incidents and how to react appropriately from the very first signs of the project going off-course. Issues specifically connected to insuring IT risks will also be covered.

Tax disputes in the era of Rulings, APA’s and Administrative Settlements 

In view of the development of a regulatory arsenal of agreements with the Administration, when is the right time to turn to court action in matters of tax, and with what aims?

13.00 - 14.00
Welcome to the plenary session and lunch
14.00 - 14.05
Introduction by Benjamine Fiedler, Managing Partner  
14.05 - 14.25

Dispute Resolution in Asia, Themes and Trends

  • Richard Keady, Partner, Hong Kong, Dispute Resolution 
14.25 - 15.05

Mediation: promoted by the courts, law-makers and companies, how best to make it work for you? 

  • Marion Barbier, Partner, Dispute Resolution
  • Sophie Henry, General Delegate of CMAP [Paris Arbitration and Mediation Centre]

Being flexible and costing little, mediation has become a preferred method for resolving disputes. A growing number of companies provide mediation clauses in their contracts, and in certain circumstances the law imposes such a provision. Many practical questions need to be resolved to have the best chance of success: at what point to implement mediation? Who should be appointed as mediator? Identify arguments to persuade the other party to participate? What alternative strategies may be anticipated? We will cover these questions through feedback from experience, and will welcome on this occasion Sophie Henry, General Delegate of CMAP.

15.05 - 15.45

Privilege and confidentiality: essential information and pitfalls to be avoided

  • Annet van Hooft, Partner, Arbitration
  • Jonathan Speed, Partner, London, Dispute Resolution
  • Céline Nézet, Associate, Restructuring/Dispute Resolution

The rules governing confidentiality of client/lawyer exchanges vary from one country to another, which means taking extra precautions in handling cross-border disputes. We will cover these questions through the prism of various legal systems, and concentrate on good practice to be implemented to minimise risks. Part of the session will take place in English.

15.45 - 16.05
16.05 - 16.45

Engineering debt recovery: a creative and international strategy to achieve prompt payment

How, taking into account the debtor's business, assets, and where they are situated, best to compel them to fulfil their obligations, promptly and at the least cost? May provisional measures be implemented on, for instance, an intangible asset? And in which country is most appropriate? An innovative, global approach, working alongside teams from Bird makes it possible to achieve the sought-after result. Part of the session will take place in English.

 16.45 Close