Official website of Notaires de France

Principle of freedom of trade and industry

  • What is the "principle of freedom of trade and industry"?

    • The principle of freedom of trade and industry is designed to prevent public entities competing with private persons or entities. Only the existence of a public service can justify this type of exception to free competition.­

    • The law of 2 and 17 March 1791 laid down the conditions­ for the creation of an industrial and commercial public service can be found in Council of State case-law.

    • In order for a commune to intervene directly in the economic activities without there being a text specifically authorising it, the Council of State requires that it be in public interest and that there be special local circumstances.

    • Such local circumstances mainly result from a lack or shortfall in private initiative and therefore unsatisfied needs of the local population.

    • The development of commercial activity on public roads is based on the principle of freedom of trade and industry.

    • Most of these principles are enshrined in EU rules with which notaires are familiar because they advise businesses when it comes to financial support schemes. 

See also


French property market report / N°31


The role of the Notaire