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Legal Term: « Lu et approuvé » and « Bon pour »

You think you know what « Lu et approuvé » or « Bon pour » mean. After all, we affix our signature on contracts on a daily basis.

Sure. Well, think again!


Précédée des mentions manuscrites « Lu et approuvé ».

Preceded by the handwritten wordsRead and approved

In French contracts or agreements, like an Employment agreement, a Liquidation and partition of an estate, or a Sale of goods and services, the signatories are often called to execute such agreements by using standard formulas like « Lu et approuvé » or « Bon pour »

It means that the signatories read the contract and agree to its terms.

But in fact, although it is still widely used today, this mention seems to be quite useless once the signature of the co-contractor appears on the document.

Word of caution: We are referring to private deeds only - actes sous seing privé in French. The private deed is not subject to any other condition of form than the signature of those who commit themselves. The formal mention "read and approved" at the bottom of a private deed constitutes a formality devoid of any scope. This is indeed an old tradition stemming from the 1804 Napoleonic Code, a French specificity that give some comfort to some signatories.

And it has no real value either when the signature is electronic.

A study[1] of the French case law has confirmed the ambiguous meaning of those formulas, or at least in the sense they are commonly understood.

For example, if those words are lacking, a judge ruled that it is not considered as evidence of a lack of consent to the act in question.

A contrario, the mention may constitute a beginning of proof in writing.

So, the value of these words may surprisingly differ and is subject to court interpretation.

[1] Editions Lefebvre Dalloz


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