Business Law

  • Commercial & contract law
  • Company law
  • Investing in France
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International successions

  • Estate planning
  • Estate administration
  • Drafting of expert reports
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International private client matters

  • Real estate acquisitions
  • Matrimonial regimes
  • Trusts
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Contract Law

  • General contractual matters
  • Commercial contracts, distribution agreements and agency contracts
  • International trade and contracts
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  • Commercial and civil litigation
  • Litigation linked to international successions
  • Product liability and mass torts
  • Cross-border and international dispute resolution
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Business law

Duncan Fairgrieve has a broad commercial practice, acting both in an advisory capacity for international companies in respect of French commercial law matters, as well as undertaking representation in commercial and civil litigation. In an advisory capacity, he has a particular expertise in accompanying foreign companies in inward investment projects in France, with advice covering corporate, commercial and contract law aspects of investing in France.

Recent Experience :

  • Advising a UK healthcare company on its expansion into the French market ;
  • Advising a Dutch technology company with international activities on its development in France of a regulated commercial activity ;
  • Acting for a US IT company on the creation of a subsidiary in France, and subsequent related legal issues involved in expansion in France;
  • Acting for a UK IT company in respect of the development of a corporate presence in France.

International successions (French law and private international law)

Families live in an environment which is more and more international and foreign elements, relating to the residence of the relevant persons or to the location of their rights and assets, often make their situation international.

In such a situation, clients will need to be advised at different moments in their life.

Diane Le Grand de Belleroche assists her French and foreign clients, ahead of any succession, in their estate planning, to explain the legal and tax rules which will normally apply to their estate and to organise, with them and in advance, this succession between the different relevant countries, by determining the documentation to be put into place, in accordance with the way clients wish to transfer their assets.

Her role is then in particular to draw the clients’ attention to the specificities of their situation, when considering their assets, and to recommend the decisions to be taken and the documentation, such as wills or choices of matrimonial regimes, which can be put into place.

After someone has passed away, Diane Le Grand de Belleroche also assists her clients in the administration of the estate, in particular in relation to the various tasks relating to the estate administration which have to be performed in and between the various relevant jurisdictions.

This assistance will often involve collaboration with other lawyers, in France and abroad, who will bring their specific and complementary skills, in particular on the foreign law which may be applicable, so that the assistance which is provided to the client is as complete as possible. The very wide international network of the firm will be particularly helpful for this.

International private client matters

Beyond succession issues, Diane Le Grand de Belleroche assists her clients on the other questions of French law relating to their assets to which they may be confronted, for instance in relation to gifts or on issues of matrimonial regimes, and she also advises them on the tax consequences which such international situations may have in France.

This assistance extends to the transactions involving real estate which the clients may contemplate in France, directly or through companies, in particular acquisitions of real property (when considering the impact which any new asset may have on their estate planning) or gifts of rights in real property.

Contract law

Duncan Fairgrieve advises on a wide range of contract law matters, often on behalf of foreign and international corporate clients. He has significant experience in drafting and negotiating the full range of commercial contracts, including distribution agreements, agency contracts, and sales agreements. 

Recent Experience :

  • Advising a UK company on the drafting and negotiation of an agency agreement with a French counterpart ;
  • Advising a US company on a raft of commercial contracts including non-disclosure agreements, and distribution agreements;
  • Advising a French multinational on the negotiation of a commercial services contract with cross-border aspects.
  • Advising a French design and advertising company on the drafting and negotiation of a design contract for an international project subject to English law.  


Duncan Fairgrieve has a broad commercial law practice in France, with significant experience of dispute resolution in an international and cross-border environment. As one of a small number of bilingual and dual-qualified litigators operating as both an English barrister and French Avocat, he frequently handles complex dispute resolution matters in both French and English. His in-depth experience of litigation in common law and civil law jurisdictions enables him to provide insight and reassurance for clients from common law backgrounds on dispute resolution in civil law fora. 

Duncan regularly provides expert evidence on French, English and Comparative Law issues in domestic and foreign proceedings, including before the French and English courts, as well as US and offshore jurisdictions. He has significant experience of dispute resolution in offshore jurisdictions, particular as an expert on the law of obligations in offshore jurisdictions.

Recent Experience :

  • Advising on product liability in numerous cases in France and the UK.
  • Representing a UK yacht manufacturer in litigation in France;
  • Representing a UK healthcare products company in a litigation matter in France;
  • Representing a South African company in a contractual dispute with a French pharmaceutical producer ;
  • Acting as expert in the context of large-scale litigation in the US raising issues relating to French tort and contractual liability ;
  • Expert retained by Jersey-based offshore law firm in litigation raising English, French and comparative law issues ;
  • Expert on comparative law issues in the context of litigation in a Caribbean country, raising issues of French law.