Climate campaigners taking on French state

(EurActiv, 19 Dec 2018) Several NGOs are considering filing an application to the administrative court of Paris in 2019. However, French law may be more rigid than Anglo-Saxon law, which has already convicted several other states on this matter. EURACTIV France reports.

Pakistan, Colombia and the Netherlands have already been convicted in court for their failure to take action in combating climate change. France could run the same risk.

Four French NGOs – Greenpeace, France Nature Environnement (FNE), Oxfam and Notre affaire à tous [‘Our common issue’] – took a gamble by initiating a long process intended to challenge the French climate policy.

The specifics of the French justice system make the case a difficult one. In France, the administrative court is competent in this area. To date, successful applications have taken the more direct routes of Anglo-Saxon law, where proceedings can be taken to a court of common law.

“In Anglo-Saxon countries, there is the notion of ‘common law’: the law is built by case law, which facilitates applications,” acknowledged Marie Toussaint, head of Notre affaire à tous and candidate on the list of Europe Ecology – The Greens for the European elections.

In civil law, it must be shown that the action of the state is detrimental, based on which the administrative judge can initiate proceedings after a request has been filed.

The NGOs have therefore started by filing a preliminary application for compensation with all of the ministries concerned, as well as with the French prime minister.

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EurActiv, 19 Dec 2018: Climate campaigners taking on French state