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31 Jan 2020

Friends of the Earth International

French Court declares itself incompetent in favour of Commercial Court in case against Total over alleged failure to respect French Duty of Vigilance law in its operations in Uganda

"Total abuses in Uganda: French High Court of Justice declares itself incompetent in favour of the Commercial Court", 30 Jan 2020

The Nanterre High Court has handed down its decision on the summary proceedings brought by Friends of the Earth France, Survie and four Ugandan associations (AFIEGO, CRED, NAPE/Friends of the Earth Uganda and NAVODA) against Total related to its oil mega-project in Uganda. This is the first ever court decision based on the French law on duty of vigilance. Surprisingly, the judges considered that the case did not fall within their jurisdiction, rather it should sit with the Commercial Court. They did not, therefore, examine the organisations' demands. Friends of the Earth France and Survie contest this decision - which will also have a negative impact on future cases - and are considering appealing. Frustratingly it will take several months to obtain a decision while human rights violations in Uganda continue...