Total S.A. is a French energy company with oil projects in Uganda and Tanzania. According to the French “loi de vigilance”, companies with a certain size that meet certain criteria must develop a “plan de vigilance” documenting how they and the companies in their supply chain respect human rights and the environment in their business activities. The applicants claim that Total’s environmental plan (part of the “plan de vigilance”) is not suitable for achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. In addition to better respect for human rights, the NGOs have demanded that Total take more effective measures to protect the environment. The first instance court, the Nanterre Civil Court of Justice, found that it had no jurisdiction over the case and that it fell instead within the jurisdiction of the commercial courts. The applicant NGOs appealed. The Court of Appeal of Versailles confirmed the judgment of the first instance, and the NGOs are now considering filing an appeal before the French Supreme Court.
The Court confirmed the judgment of the first instance court, which had decided that the dispute fell within the jurisdiction of the commercial court.
Date of filing:
16 March 20
Date of decision:
10 December 2020
Court of Appeal of Versailles, Les Amis de la Terre, Survie v. Total SA, case no. RG20/01692, decision of 10 December 2020.
The full judgment is available here.