John Galliano's court case against Christian Dior Couture and his namesake brand has started in Paris.

The designer - who was forced out of the fashion house after footage of him making racist and anti-Semitic comments emerged on the internet - was seen smiling as he left the Parisian courthouse yesterday (04.02.13) after the first round of litigation.

Galliano's lawyer, Chantal Giraud-van Gaver, claimed victory after the court ruled it was qualified to hear her client's claims against dismissal in March 2011 after 15 years as creative director.

He told WWD: ''I am satisfied because Dior's request has been rejected, and our arguments have been upheld.''

Dior has 15 days to contest the ruling, but various appeals processes and rules of French law could mean it is months or years before the case is properly heard.

Jean Néret, the lawyer for Christian Dior Couture and John Galliano, argued the case should be heard by a commercial court because of the complicated nature of the contracts linking Galliano with the two firms.

Under the terms of permanent contracts negotiated in 2008, Galliano earned a fixed gross annual salary of one million euros plus variable compensation at Christian Dior and a fixed gross salary of two million euros, as artistic director of his own brand.

He was also employed as a consultant, earning him further monies.

Néret said: ''John Galliano was no ordinary employee. In fact, I would go as far as saying he wasn't an employee at all. The complexity of his various contracts is sharply at odds with the image of a poor, defenseless employee which the opposing party is trying to project.''

However, John's lawyer countered it was inaccurate to portray him as a subcontractor, as he was tied by exclusivity clauses. She added: ''Mister Galliano is perhaps no ordinary employee, due to the nature of his position and his notoriety, but he is an employee nonetheless.

''Would an external provider be supplied with a car and a chauffeur? Would he have a coach and a personal assistant? Would the company grant him stock options?''

Galliano made no statement at the hearing, but at his trial on charges of public insult in June 2011, he blamed work-related stress and multiple addictions for his behaviour. It is not known how much in damages he is seeking from his former employers.