Thèses soutenues

15/09/2011 Anne ROMAIN-HUTTIN

The concept of damage in bankruptcy proceedings

Mention : Lieu : Horaire : Directeur de thèse : Véronique Magnier

Description of the doctoral dissertation

For many years, studying the concept of damage in bankruptcy proceedings had little interest since it referred only to the collective damage suffered by the creditors in relation with the opening of the proceedings, such damage being the reference in a field which, by definition, favours the collective to the individual. The compensation of the collective damage used to fall, and continues to fall, within the competence of the court nominee (“mandataire judiciaire” in French) who is legally in charge of the defence of the creditors’ collective interest.The different evolutions of legislation and case law occurred within the latest years tend to question the assimilation to the simple collective damage. This evolution appears under several aspects. Thus we can note the increasing number of decisions acknowledging the principle of compensation for personal injury suffered by a creditor within the framework of bankruptcy proceedings, even if the merits of the legal action are not always admitted by the courts. At the same time, the Supreme Court increases the number of decisions limiting the court nominee’s monopoly, which once seemed absolute. Indeed, certain damages, previously collective, nowadays come within the individual initiative. At the same time, the introduction of certain reforms under French law has, consequently, scrambled the limits of the concept of collective damage, previously omnipresent, as, for example, the “EIRL” (Individual Enterprise with Limited Responsibility) and the system of the unseizability declaration, which question of the ability of the court nominee to act in the interest of a creditor’s group.The purpose of this study is to examine the meaning of this concept in bankruptcy proceedings (collective or personal damage, or even damage suffered by a few persons, creditors or not), all the more so as it is not defined. The analysis of positive law has enabled us to establish that the judge appreciates through opportunity the existence of a damage that may be compensated, even if this leads to a confusion between the admissibility and the granting on the merits of a legal action, by requiring, as early as at the step of the admissibility, the proof of the damage that may be compensated. This observation has led us to propose a new hierarchy of the damages that may be compensated in bankruptcy proceedings, based on the capacity of the plaintiff, and enabling to take into consideration the different types of damages suffered in this field.