My personal liability as a company legal representative in France

Legislation and personal liability

As the legal representative of your company in France, your personal liability can be incurred by many actors, whether they’re from the company or not.

According to the French Civil Code, “any action that causes harm to another forces the one responsible to compensate for it”. But how does this show specifically when you’re the legal representative of a company?

When can I be subject to my personal liability?

This can only happen if the following three conditions are met:

  • You’ve committed a wrongdoing (infringing the law, infringing the company by-laws or a case of serious misconduct when running the company)
  • The person suing you is the victim of a prejudice
  • There’s a link between your wrongdoing and the prejudice they suffered from

In these cases, you can be forbidden from running the company or even have to pay back the liabilities of the company.

Being subject to your liability from within the company:

It’s also possible for your liability to be incurred from within the company if an associate or employee feels that they are the victim of a prejudice, or that associates representing more than 10% of the company’s equity are victims of a collective prejudice.

Being subject to your liability from a third-party:

Generally, if you’re the manager of your company, then you shouldn’t have to worry too much. If a third-party feels like the company has wronged them somehow, it’ll be the company that’s held responsible, not you.

However, if you’ve done an intentional misconduct or a serious misconduct, then you can still be held liable.

Do I have any way to protect myself from all of these risks?

You do! Civil Professional Liability Insurance can protect you from some of these risks. As such, it is heavily advised that any legal representative of any company subscribes to such insurance. In fact, it is even outright required for some activities!

If you want to learn more: What exactly is “Civil professional liability insurance”?