Sapin II A first look at how the French are doing whistleblower protection

Image result for image of French courts

WIN is delighted to publish this guest blog – the first analysis of the new French law to protect whistleblowers adopted in 2016. This is a preliminary pass through the new law’s provisions which the author trusts will help stimulate discussion and encourage further analysis.

Jean-Philippe Foegle is a PhD candidate at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense” in Paris and visiting researcher at the Information Society Project, Yale Law School. His research focuses on the regulation of whistleblowing in France, the US and the UK. Jean-Philippe is also helping to coordinate a two-year research project funded by the French Ministry of Justice to explore how the implementation of Council of Europe’s Recommendation on the Protection of Whistleblowers could improve the efficacy of of French whistleblower protection.

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INTRODUCTION

The new French law on the protection of whistleblowers reflects a paradox. Although many prominent whistleblowers are French citizens – think, for example, of Antoine Deltour or Hervé Falciani – it was not until 2013 that real protection for whistleblowers emerged in the wake of corruption and environmental scandals. Before the passage of fragmented legislation protecting whistleblowers in France, most whistleblowers were nevertheless protected through the case-law of the French courts. This protection remained largely theoretical, however, due to long delays in court proceedings : it took almost ten years before the prominent environmental whistleblower André Cicolella was finally able to his case beyond the French private law supreme court, the “Cour de Cassation”.

See here for Jean-Phillipe’s full paper.

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