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France National Register of Trusts – Declared unconstitutional

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 highest constitutional court, the Conseil Constitutionnel, has ruled that France’s National Register of Trusts is a breach of privacy rights, less than four months after the Register was launched.

Further to our recent articles, in July 2016, we expected a decision which would amend access to the register to ensure the content is only available to the tax authorities.

The Conseil Constitutionnel recognized that the trust transparency legislation aims to prevent tax evasion and money laundering and that this is a constitutional goal. However, the Register was judged to be a disproportionate measure due to public access.

After the ruling of the highest administrative French court, the Conseil d’Etat, on 22 July 2016 which provisionally suspended the Register, this new decision makes the Register permanently inaccessible to public.

Thankfully, France’s highest constitutional court preserved France republican values and France’s record on human rights.

October 2016

David Anderson