It was after taking the oath to the Paris Bar that Lucas Mascarade began his activity in Paris, Singapore and then Kuala Lumpur. He works as a lawyer for the French law firm DS Avocats, and has been associated with the Indonesian law firm AYMP in Jakarta since 2016. He is also a Foreign Trade Advisor since 2020.
Indonesia is first of all a professional opportunity and above all a bet on an installation that has worked.
What are your areas of activity as a French lawyer in Indonesia?
DS Avocats is a historically French law firm established in 24 countries, established in 4 Continents, and has been present in Asia for around thirty years through its offices in China, Singapore, Vietnam and India. Today, DS Avocats has nearly 400 legal professionals (lawyers, lawyers), with dual expertise, in advice and litigation, who support their clients in all areas of business law.
To be able to work in Indonesia and respect local regulations, I am seconded to our Indonesian partner, the firm AYMP. I am registered with the Indonesian Bar as a foreign lawyer.
DS Avocats is a firm specializing in business law. We advise our clients throughout the life of companies in Indonesia, from their installation, to the management of their company until their closure.
In other words, we accompany them during the establishment of their investment project in Indonesia, the drafting of their business contracts, their partnerships, in the event of mergers or acquisitions and answer all their questions. relating to local legislation.
As a business firm, our teams are made up of lawyers specializing in financial and banking law, foreign investment law, corporate law, economic law (business contracts, distribution, competition and consumer law), labor law, energy and infrastructure, customs law and environmental law. We do not work on taxation. On this subject, we put our clients in contact with competent firms.
Our clientele is made up of large groups, ETIs and SMEs, mostly French or with a link with France, and also Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Canadian, Singaporean, Chinese or American companies.
The fields of activity of our clients are varied: infrastructure, industries, transport, distribution, agrifood, pharmaceuticals, defence, franchises, B&B and hotels, digital and new technologies…
The converse is also true, we advise and represent Indonesian companies during their investments in France and Europe. Although there are still few of them today to be interested in the European market, and this in particular because of the dynamism of the Indonesian domestic market, we are betting that, in the coming years, they will be more interested in the France as an investment target. This would indeed make sense to be able to take advantage of the economic advantages of France, of its strategic position in Europe, but also as a gateway to the African market. There would indeed be an interesting complementarity between Indonesia and certain African countries.
In addition to activities in business law, as counsel for the embassy, I have to assist the French on certain private law issues that they encounter. Beyond the pro-bono activity, I can, for example, take care of a divorce if it is amicable and subject to French law, advise on specific situations, draw up documents relating to the act of a lawyer, such as certain documents necessary for the purchase or sale of real estate in France.
Indonesian law is inspired by French law, what are the similarities and differences?
First of all, there are similarities! This is also one of the reasons that made me want to come and work in Indonesia. Indonesian civil law is based on Dutch civil law. This is explained by the Dutch presence on the archipelago for 350 years. Dutch law was influenced by the application of Napoleonic codes, when the Netherlands was integrated into the French Empire. Indonesia having made the choice of the continuity of application of the civil code, we thus find an identity of the general principles of the law, with the same legal concepts which govern an Indonesian contract.
Admittedly, since 1945, the two laws have evolved independently, but I note a similarity in the methods that an Indonesian colleague could have in the analysis of a legal problem. This is therefore a plus for our customers. Also, this close link between our two systems allows us to sometimes anticipate certain developments in Indonesian law. This is the case recently with the personal data protection bill, an important reform which will aim to protect the data of the 273 million Indonesian consumers, which seems to be inspired by the regulations in force in the European Union.
In terms of civil procedure, we also find certain similarities.
The most notable differences relate to criminal law; whether on its substance or its procedure: there are no assize jurors, no prosecutors as in France. Indeed, the functions and prerogatives of the prosecutor are different.
Also, we find significant differences with regard to family law, since, alongside civil law, coexist religious rights that govern matrimonial and family relations. These different rights are endowed with dedicated jurisdictions, competent according to the religion or the choice of the parties.
Given the similarities in law between the two countries, what could France contribute to the development of Indonesian law?
There is really material for development and a need to work between our two countries on the subject of law. Indeed, Indonesia has set itself the objective of improving its ranking in the Doing Business ranking. However, legal certainty and predictability are important tools for achieving this objective.
Legal security can be an obstacle to investment, whether at the time of incorporating companies and obtaining administrative authorizations, or in the event of default by a co-contractor. It is important for an investor, whether Indonesian or foreign, to be able to determine how a rule of law will be applied.
Indonesia has made a lot of effort to standardize company incorporation processes with the establishment of the OSS – Online Single Submission System. This system, which makes it possible to obtain an operating license, is much faster, the time being reduced by half.
Efforts have also been noted to fight against corruption in the Indonesian courts, but additional resources are still needed to curb this problem.
It also remains for Indonesia to take the step of the digital economy and adapt its administrative and judicial procedures to it, in order to facilitate business practice. Thus, we could imagine more cooperation between France and Indonesia on these subjects and on the training of stakeholders. This was done a few years ago with the presence of a French magistrate seconded by the European Union to the Indonesian courts.
What advice would you give to a French company wishing to set up in Indonesia?
First, identify a partner. It is important to know it well and it can take a little time. The time and energy required to maintain the business relationship is also key.
The Indonesian government is willing to encourage major investments. The Indonesian market is therefore a market initially made for medium-sized companies and large companies. However, an SME, when positioned in a specific sector, has its place here. There are many opportunities and in very varied sectors. Indonesia has many challenges to overcome (particularly with regard to the energy, infrastructure, health, agriculture, environment, etc. sectors) and is open to innovative technologies.
The minimum capitalization of 600,000 euros necessary for the incorporation of a company with foreign capital does not necessarily adapt to all sectors of activity, so it is necessary to think about its activity over the long term.
You have to have a significant administrative reactivity. Pending the adoption of the electronic signature, administrative and therefore business practice is still very formalistic.