Conflicts Court Case SCOPD Manufrance v. Etat
23 January 1989
Translated by:
J. Trevor Brown
Professor B. S. Markesinis


Given that (1) the claim for the full reimbursement of the debt of a bankrupt company made against the State (as a de facto manager of that company) by the liquidator of that company on the basis of Article 99 of the Law of 13 July 1967 presupposes an evaluation of the behaviour of the State which occurred outside the framework of private law; (2) although the provisions of Article 99 of the said Law grant jurisdiction to the courts of private law to hold that, where an administration or a liquidation of a corporation results in an insufficiency of assets, the corporate debts shall be wholly or partially met by all the corporate managers, including de facto managers, the question whether, in granting aid to a business in difficulty the State in fact behaved as a manager of the latter, cannot be dissociated from the assessment that the court, if it is seized, is necessarily obliged to make, in order to determine if the liability of the State is to come into play, concerning the actions of the State at the time when the aid was granted to the company; (3) it follows that the provisions of Article99 of the Law of 13 July 1967 did not empower the Commercial Court of Saint Etienne, seized by the liquidator of SCOPD Manufrance, of an action to have several persons, including the State, jointly ordered to indemnify the body of creditors, to declare that it had jurisdiction over this action to the extent it was brought against the State, which is not sued as a legal manager of the company; (4) liability of the State towards these creditors cannot be any better founded in contract or quasi-contract, in the absence of any link between the State and such creditors; and (5) the order in conflicts [of the Préfet de la Haute Loire] is to be confirmed (…)

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