The Democratic Republic of Congo signed an agreement for the construction and financing of a high-voltage line with Energoinvest. Energoinvest, after initiating arbitration for the collection of outstanding payments, assigned its debt to FG Hemisphere Associates LLC. The latter asked for the exequatur in France of the award rendered in Zurich, condemning the Democratic Republic of Congo to the payment of various sums.
The exequatur was granted. Congo appealed the order by requesting the application of Article 1699 of the Civil Code providing that: “A person against whom a litigious right has been assigned may have himself released by the assignee by reimbursing him for the actual price of the assignment with the expenses and fair costs, and with interest from the day when the assignee has paid the price of the assignment”.
The lower court found the release inadmissible. It held that the mission of the Court of Appeal, recurred to under Articles 1520 and 1525 of the Code of Civil Procedure (annulment of the award and appeal of the exequatur), is limited to the examination of the grounds enumerated by these texts. However, the release of the Republic of Congo following payment to the assignee of the transfer price and various accessories, is not included in this mission. The Cour de cassation overturns the judgment. It rules that the exercise of the release affects the execution of the award. Consequently, the release may be invoked before the judge.