In the commercial courts, waiting for the storm

“There is no point in coming, nothing is happening!” “ At the end of the line, several presidents of commercial courts had warned, but that was not a reason to give up, since the ” nothing “ is also told, especially when it is at this paradoxical point: the economic crisis had to fill their jurisdictions of sick companies as mechanically as the health crisis from which it arises filled the intensive care units, but it happened the opposite.

Business failures – safeguards, reorganizations or judicial liquidations, depending on the severity of the disease – have experienced a historic decline during the however pitiful year 2020: 28,000 cases opened against 44,600 in 2019. “Seeing the activity of our commercial courts, one could believe that our economy is in perfect health, notes, perplexed, Gérard Arnault, president of that of Avignon. Its tribunal opens 600 cases per year in normal times. In 2020, 380. “Where have the others gone?” “, he wonders.

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“It is the translation of” whatever the cost “, explains Pascal Daniel, clerk in Orléans. All of this is totally counter-intuitive, we are in zero gravity. ” Loan guaranteed by the State (PGE), partial unemployment, solidarity fund: the rain of public money released by the State has broken the barometer of economic life that are the 134 commercial courts of the country, by artificially keeping at flood of companies in difficulty.

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“There is nothing that comes”

Result: the hearings of collective proceedings, those where entrepreneurs parade on the edge of the abyss, when they are not already at the bottom, have never been so calm. In some small courts, it is not uncommon for the weekly hearing to be canceled due to lack of records. For a year in Orleans, on court days, “We even have time for lunch at noon! “ The judges are idle. If they were not volunteers, they could claim partial unemployment.

We exaggerate: it does not happen all the same ” nothing “ in the commercial courts of France. Several of them opened at World the in camera hearings of their collective proceedings, where we are slowly starting to see the damage: companies are also dying from Covid-19. And it is there, in the confidentiality of the council chamber, that their leaders come to bury five, ten, twenty years of a life, sometimes more.

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