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14 Dec 2020

France: Appeals court remands first case filed under duty of vigilance law to the commercial court

The Versailles Court of Appeal issued on 10 December its decision on the case against the oil giant Total led by six French and Ugandan associations which constitutes the first legal action on the basis of the law on the duty of vigilance of transnational corportations. The judges ruled in favour of Total, confirming the judgment of the first instance court which considered that this dispute fell within the jurisdiction of the commercial court. Civil society organizations (CSOs) believe that this decision is contrary to the spirit of this law and harmful to its implementation. The Court of Appeal did not rule on the merits of the case, i.e. on whether or not Total is complying with its vigilance duties. Friends of the Earth France, Survie and their Ugandan partners are considering filing an appeal before the Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court).