Advocacy and Strategic Litigation

Our main lines of action

For 20 years, Sherpa has been advocating for an effective legal framework that protects the environment, communities and workers by strengthening the accountability of economic and financial actors.

Sherpa is also implementing strategic litigation. By bringing these cases to court, Sherpa opens up the public debate in order to bring about wider social change. Our main lines of action:

Fighting multinationals’ influence in the law-making process

Multinationals often use codes of conduct or ethical commitments to whitewash their image and seduce consumers, without ever being compelled to effectively match their practices with their declarations.  Sherpa aims at transforming soft law, favoured by multinationals, into hard law, more protective of workers, communities and the environment. Indeed, hard law implies legal obligations, and their implementation can be legally enforced before a court.

The impunity of economic actors is often the result of conscious strategies by corporations to limit the regulation of their sector through intensive lobbying, or by organising opacity around their practices.

Sherpa is fighting to uncover these strategies and proposes legislative solutions to counter their impacts.

Exposing the lobbying activities of multinationals

Allowing a better access to information regarding companies’ structure

Countering the political influence of economic actors

Giving companies’ ethical commitments a binding legal value: Hardening soft law

Protect civic space

Human rights defenders, associations, trade unions, whistleblowers and journalists are crucial to our democracies. They enable the realization of our fundamental freedoms. Their actions feed public debate and engage citizens on issues of general interest such as the regulation of multinationals or environmental protection.

But this essential role is now threatened: the SLAPP – Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation – brought by companies against associations, the reprisals against whistleblowers and journalists, the enshrinement of business secrecy or the restrictions on legal action by associations hinder the free expression of all these representatives of civil society and reinforce the impunity of economic actors.

Sherpa is working to identify and combat these threats as to preserve the role of civil society in the democratic space.

Protecting whistleblowers

Fighting SLAPP

Stopping opacity of business and transactions

Facilitating and securing civil society legal action and admissibility

Strengthening corporate accountability

Climate change, deforestation, forced labour, violations of trade union rights, armed conflicts: many violations are committed today by economic actors who give priority to the pursuit of profits over human rights and the environment.

However, companies that benefit from these violations are very rarely held accountable. By increasing the complexity of their value chains through hundreds of subsidiaries, subcontractors and suppliers located abroad, and by taking shelter as much as possible in the least restrictive jurisdictions, multinationals often manage to dilute any form of legal accountability.

Sherpa develops innovative propositions to tackle this reality. Sherpa’s advocacy aims at ending the impunity of economic actors regarding human rights violations and environmental harms.

Strengthening corporate liability of parent and instructing companies

Facilitating the extraterritorial application of French criminal law

Advancing toward legal accountability of companies in international law

Enabling access to justice and compensation for victims of human rights and environmental abuses

Promoting the principles of good governance and anti-corruption

Corruption is the perversion of a decision-making process with the aim of obtaining undue advantages for the briber through the complicity of certain unscrupulous political decision-makers.

It threatens the notion of general interest, fuels mistrust of governments and diverts wealth that should normally benefit to the people.

Sherpa brings to light before the courts the most serious situations in which private interests take precedence over the general interest by filing a complaint with the French justice system.

Sherpa evaluates French and international anti-corruption measures. We  also formulates innovative proposals to facilitate the repression and prevention of corruption. In addition, our organization carries out actions to obtain a transparent, effective and honest framework for the restitution of assets resulting from corruption and embezzlement. Finally, Sherpa advocates for a better protection for whistleblowers who expose corruption scandals, sometimes at the risk of their lives.

Facilitating the fight against corruption

Assessing the Anticorruption legal framework

Holding actors with a high risk of corruption accountable

Improving European anti-corruption arrangements

Improving and strengthening anti-money laundering arrangements

Money laundering consists of concealing the source of money illegally acquired. It is made possible by the use of complex concealment schemes through tax havens and shell companies.

Money laundering practices allow economic actors to hide the potentially fraudulent origin of their income or turnover (corruption, money laundering), causing severe economic and social damage to people around the world. In addition, opacity and arrangements are levers for ensuring impunity by exporting the harmful impacts of activities to less vigilant jurisdictions.

Sherpa denounces the shortcomings of anti-money laundering measures and wishes to strengthen them by advocating for their actual extension to financial intermediaries often enabling these economic and financial crimes. We also intend to shed light on the links between, on one side embezzled and laundered money and, on the other human rights and environmental abuses (war crimes, deforestation, etc.).

Putting an end to the impunity of financial intermediaries

Strengthening anti-money laundering mechanisms

Obtaining dissuasive sanctions against money laundering

Identifying more accurately the actors and beneficiaries of money laundering

Fighting the utilization of tax and judicial havens

Tax havens are a massive weapon for concealing the transactions of the ultra-rich and multinationals, helped in their opaque arrangements by a whole series of financial or legal intermediaries.

Civil society, NGOs, whistleblowers and journalists regularly highlight the economic and social consequences of tax evasion practices. Indeed, these practices deprive many States of tax revenues, which are essential for the provision of quality public services and thus for the realization of economic, social and cultural rights. The opacity of the system and the arrangements make the fight against tax evasion complex.

Sherpa, with its partners, reflects on and makes recommendations  to deal with tax and judicial heavens and the practice they allow, as well as tries to  identify and compensate the actual victims of these practices.

Identifying and targeting tax havens

Facilitating the identification, characterisation and recovery of « ill-gotten gains »

Extending the definition of “victim” of financial crimes

Returning misappropriated assets to the spoiled populations in full transparency.



Our proposals for legislative reform to ensure corporate accountability and transparency, and justice for victims economic crimes.


The latest news on our legal actions to make economic actors accountable


Our teams offer innovative and concrete legal solutions


Read more about our awareness raising and training activities