The Association Henri Capitant was founded in 1935, under the authority of Henri Capitant (Professor at the Paris Faculty of Law), by a group of jurists from different French speaking countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, Quebec, Switzerland…
Hence, it was first named ‘Association des Juristes de Langue Française’. Thereafter, while keeping the French as its main language during meetings, the Association was opened to jurists from non-French speaking countries, and became the Association Henri Capitant for the French Legal Culture.
Later, to demonstrate that it is not animated by any spirit of propaganda, it adopted the name that is still used today: ‘l’Association Henri Capitant pour la Culture Juridique Française’. The French Association was recognized of public utility by a decree of the French Government in the State Council dated July 12, 1939.
After Henri Capitant, the Association had as successive presidents the President of the Bar Association Jacques Charpentier, Professor Robert Le Balle, the Dean Roger Houin, Professor Philippe Malinvaud, Professor Michel Grimaldi and today, Professor Denis Mazeaud.
Léon Julliot de la Morandière, René Capitant (Henri Capitant’s son), Marc Ancel, Marcel Waline, Pierre Bellet, Jean Carbonnier, Gérard Cornu and Arnaud Lyon-Caen, were vice-presidents for a long time. The actual vice-presidents are Marie Goré and Yves Gaudemet.
Both in France and abroad, the Association brings together a large network of experts such as numerous law professors, judges, lawyers, notaries and members of various legal professions.
So far, the Henri Capitant network has established strong links with groups and foreign jurists in more than 55 countries: it is now the largest international network of civil law tradition. In addition it greatly contributes to strengthen the ties between the Association and its different groups by facilitating the exchange of information. It is then a good mean for promoting Romanist legal culture in the world. As such, it was referred to by the French public service of dissemination of law (https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/Sites/Portails-juridiques) as one of the leading French legal portals.
Henri Capitant website (www.henricapitant.org) informs about the activities and future projects of the Association, everything is in free access. It runs since 2010 the first bilingual magazine dedicated to civil law (www.henricapitantlawreview.org).
Henri Capitant France Association is a privileged partner of the French Government. The Association participated in significant reforms of the French law: the Law of Security in 2006, then contract law in 2008 and recently on the same subject in 2016. It is also the Association Henri Capitant France which created the famous legal dictionary Cornu.
More generally, it advises French, European or foreign legislators wishing to benefit from its legal expertise.
The Association consists of: l) individuals who must be jurists; 2) public corporations (public institutions) or private (associations of public utility reported in accordance with Article 5 of the Law of 1st July 1901).
Membership in the Association is open.