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All Eyes on France - French Vigilance Law First Enforcement Cases (2/2) The Challenges Ahead

[T]his post highlights some of the main challenges related to the triggering of the mechanism. With new cases likely to be introduced in 2020, these challenges will also be of particular relevance for a number of stakeholders concerned by these future cases.

1. Challenges for the parties...

A first challenge for requesting parties is to identify the cases and companies to be targeted by the enforcement mechanism... [I]t is perhaps surprising that the first enforcement cases targeted companies which already had vigilance plans... This situation may be connected to the difficulty faced by third parties in identifying with certainty which companies fall into the scope of the Vigilance Law...

[T]he triggering of the enforcement mechanism makes the possibility of a potential periodic penalty payment more tangible and could result in companies taking the vigilance plan exercise more seriously... [H]aving better visibility on the actionability of the mechanism should not result in some companies viewing the Vigilance Law purely as a matter of calculated legal and financial risks...

2. Some other challenges relating to the process and substance of the cases...

[I]t is yet to be seen to what extent stage one can allow both the requesting parties and the company involved to actually engage in a constructive two-way dialogue and address issues without having to escalate to stage two of the enforcement mechanism...

[I]t remains to be seen whether the courts will clarify the level of comprehensiveness expected in the vigilance plans...

Part of the following stories

France: Analysis on first legal cases filed under enforcement mechanism set out in Duty of Vigilance law

Total lawsuit (re failure to respect French duty of vigilance law in operations in Uganda)