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Creating a Public Authority to Enforce the Duty of Vigilance Law: A Step Backward?

Sherpa publishes an analysis and recommendations with respect to the potential creation of an authority in charge of enforcing the French Duty of Vigilance Law.

Almost four years after its adoption, the provisions of the French Duty of Vigilance Law are not respected by many companies, leading some to call for the creation of a dedicated supervisory authority.

Today, the enforcement of the Duty of Vigilance Law exclusively relies on the courts, as any interested person may request a judge to order, including under penalty, a company to comply with its obligations, or to order compensation for the damage caused by its lack of vigilance . 

The creation of such a supervisory authority is one of the recommendations of the Resolution on human rights and environmental due diligence and corporate accountability, adopted by the European Parliament on 10 March 2021.

The creation of such an authority is not self-evident. Rather, the experience of existing administrative authorities indicates that, far from guaranteeing better implementation of the Duty of Vigilance Law, the creation of an authority may distort the duty of vigilance – turning it into a compliance exercise and allowing companies to avoid liability. To strengthen the implementation of the duty of vigilance, it seems preferable to reinforce existing liability mechanisms

Last modified: 2 December 2021