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”.

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Whistleblowing – Corruption Prevention and the Public Interest

anna-myers-66958854In 2014, WIN Director Anna Myers was invited to give a lecture to the Thailand Anti-Corruption Agency about whistleblowing at the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) near Vienna, Austria. The Academy asked Anna to write an article for the alumni magazine, IACAlumnus,  which she did including some of the questions that participants in the workshop asked – and which remain highly relevant today – and her attempts to answer them. WIN thanks the IACA for permission to reprint the article.

Whistleblowing is a hot topic right now not just for those interested in tackling corruption as a social, political, and economic ill, but it is also fast gaining currency amongst those working to prevent serious human rights abuses, as well as practitioners working to deliver more open government and access to information. Further, the link between whistleblowing and protecting journalists’ sources is also being highlighted, particularly among a new generation of journalists not necessarily based in established media or newspaper organizations, and who conduct serious investigations into corruption.[1]

However, while legal protection for whistleblowers is still a new concept, the act of whistleblowing is not new. Whistleblowing is a human instinct – speaking up to alert Continue reading

Global pressure mounting on next UN Secretary General to heed and protect UN whistleblowers

WIN members join groups from around the world to get answers from the next head of the world’s most powerful international body. Protecting whistleblowers saves lives.

[30 September 2016]  For the first time in the history of the United Nations, candidates for the post of Secretary General have been asked for their views on whistleblower protection.  This is the first opportunity for the candidates to say what they think and their answers will matter in determining whether the United Nations as an organisation is able to respond effectively to new challenges to its mandate and purpose.

Implementing effective whistleblowing arrangements is obviously about good governance but it must be acknowledged that the UN is not like any other institution or body in the world.  When UN staff report concerns they come across in the course of their work, the impact of what they are reporting often affects the most vulnerable people and communities in the world.  How the UN handles whistleblowing within its own systems is felt way beyond the organisation itself. Continue reading

WIN Statement on LuxLeaks trial verdict

Washington DC, London, Dublin, 29 June 2016

The Whistleblowing International Network (WIN), a coalition of organisations supporting whistleblowers worldwide, has expressed its dismay at the conviction of the ‘LuxLeaks’ whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet. The Luxembourg’s court’s verdict was Continue reading