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France National Register of Trusts – Access provisionally suspended

This article is for general information only. French law is a highly specialised area and you should only act or refrain from acting after receiving full professional advice on the facts of your particular case. This article is for general information and does not constitute investment advice. Always consult an IFA.

France’s National Register of Trusts launched on 30th June 2016 has already been provisionally suspended after less than one month.

Further to our recent articles, on 22nd July 2016 a judge from the highest administrative French court, the Conseil d’Etat, agreed to provisionally suspend the decree of 10 May 2016 with immediate effect. This was the decree gave the public access to France’s National Register of Trusts.

The judge considered that the personal nature of the information and the fact that, via the register, it is in the public domain, could lead to the disclosure of the applicant’s intentions in respect of her estate and therefore expose her to undue pressure from people in her immediate circle. The applicant’s age (89 years old) was cited as a factor. The judge ordered the decree be suspended until:

  1. France’s constitutional court, the Conseil Constitutionnel has been able to decide whether or not the decree is constitutional, and
  2. If the decree is constitutional, the Conseil d’Etat will judge whether or not infringes on the obligation to protect the applicant’s private life.

The human rights agreement won the battle against the French policy of tax transparency, but not the war. The decision reached by the judge is a temporary and emergency measure.

Hopefully, the highest French courts, the Conseil constitutionnel and the Conseil d’Etat, will amend access to the register to ensure the content is only available to the tax office. Otherwise, the case will end up in the European Court of Human Rights.

July 2016

David Anderson