Sherpa’s operations are ensured by a permanent staff of 6 people. The association also benefit from a committee of experts and a network of lawyers. Sherpa’s activities also depend on the generous support of its volunteers and interns.
The Permanent Team
|Sandra Cossart – Director
Since November, 1st 2017, Sandra Cossart is Sherpa’s director.
Prior to this position, Sandra headed the Globalisation and Human Rights Program within Sherpa for almost 8 years. She was a leading voice on the need to change the legal framework so that legal structures would reflect economic reality and contribute to achieving access to justice for victims of corporate violations of human rights.
During this period, Sherpa was at the forefront of some of the most important milestones in corporate liability for human rights, bringing new strategic litigation cases and testing innovative legal ground to fight against corporate impunity.
Sandra played a pivotal role in the development of the ground-breaking duty of vigilance legislation that was adopted in France in March 2017 after 5 years of intensive advocacy work. She also regularly engages constructively with and provides expert advice and submissions to various stakeholders, including the French government, and therefore took an active participation in the development of the French National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. Sandra has been representing Sherpa in several national and international networks such as the French CSR Forum, the European Coalition for Corporate Justice and OECD Watch.
With over twenty years of experience and decade in defending and protecting victims of economics crimes, fighting impunity, and advocating and implementing for changes of legal frameworks, Sandra is frequently invited to speak at high-level events around the world, such as the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights and OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct.
Prior to heading the GHR Program at Sherpa, Sandra had spent 8 years in England. She was working as a legal consultant for companies before volunteering for the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, conducting legal and general research for two years. Prior to that experience, she worked at a law firm in Paris where she provided counsel and litigation services, notably in business law. She also provided pro bono representation and legal advice to asylum seekers and refugees. Before her legal career, she worked within international organizations such as the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, as well as for the European Union in Russia.
Sandra is the author of many scholarly legal articles, news articles, and op-ed’s and has participated in TV and radio news programmes and documentaries, and is an assistant Lecturer at Science Po Paris. She is also a member of the board of the non-profit organization RSE-et-PED, which aims to equip actors from the Global South with better access to information, CSR expertise and tools.
Sandra Cossart holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, as well as degrees from Sciences Po in Paris, the College of Europe in Bruges (LLM), Inalco (Russia) and the London School of Economics. Sandra is a French national and fluently speaks French, English and Russian.
|Marie-Laure Guislain – Head of litigation – Globalisation and Human Rights programmeShe holds the French bar, a Master 2 in European Law and International Affairs from Paris II and an LLM in International Cooperation from VUB University in Brussels.
In 2010, she worked for the human rights NGO CELS, was involved in the management of development projects and produced a documentary about migrants in Argentina. In 2011, she worked to protect the natural resources and rights of communities displaced by conflict in Colombia.
She is the head of litigation in Globalization and Human Rights Program at Sherpa, a Paris-based litigation NGO dedicated to the defense of victims of economic crimes. She has developed since 2012 the strategic litigation at Sherpa, launching complaints to push forward corporate accountability and access to justice. In charge of the field investigations and the legal analysis, she has written and launched the cases against Auchan, Bolloré, BNP, Vinci and Lafarge, and is notably responsible for the DLH, Perenco and Samsung cases.
She is using legal obstacles in litigation to advocate for legal reforms within Sherpa and has actively participated to the writing of the amendments of the French Duty of Vigilance law.
She has published articles and tribunes on corporate liability. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
Simon Quet – Fundraising and Administrative Manager
He graduated from Sciences Po Lille in 2009 and started working with the NGO Aide et Action on a Franco-Guinean program, in particular on mining industry. He then integrated the Cultural Action and Cooperation Service of the French Embassy in South Sudan, where he was supporting Local Civil Society Organization in developing and implementing development projects during the independence of the country.
In 2012, he joined the humanitarian sector, working mainly on water and food security issues in South Sudan, Irak and Central Africain Republic. During his last mission in 2016 and 2017, he led Action Against Hunger Emergency Programs in CAR, supporting mainly populations displaced and affected by the ongoing civil war. He joined the Sherpa Team in January 2018 after working abroad for 7 years.
Simon speaks English fluently
Laura Rousseau – Head of Illicit Financial Flows program
A legal expert specialized in international and european law, she joined Sherpa in 2018.
Previously, she worked during 4 years in the field of money laundering and terrorism financing prevention for an important public institution. Prior to this experience, she worked as an analyst in the financial security sector for an investment bank and for an energy trading platform. Laura also acquired an extensive criminal litigation experience with a law firm in Paris.
Laura speaks English and Spanish.
Lucie Chatelain – Advocacy officer
Prior to joining Sherpa in 2019, Lucie was an associate in the international arbitration team of a law firm in Paris. She also worked for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, while volunteering with several organisations involved in the defence of migrants’ rights.
She holds a Master’s degree in Economic Law from Sciences Po Paris and a LLM in International Law from the University of Cambridge. She also studied in Brazil and in Ecuador, where she lived for a year.
Lucie speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Having a Ph. D in Law, she has been focusing on climate change litigation in her research. As such, she participated in the legal proceedings against the French government for its inaction on climate change and in the legal proceedings against Total on the basis of the new duty of vigilance in French law.
Simultaneously, she teaches in different universities and founded Ecotable which pursues the objective of reducing carbon emissions in the catering sector.
The Board of Directors
|Franceline Lepany – President
Franceline Lepany was admitted to the Paris Bar in 1972. She focused on fighting sexual trafficking and labor exploitation. She is active in several associations dealing with these issues and headed a sex workers organisation “Le bus des femmes”, providing with ressources for sex workers in France.
She is now an honorary lawyer and was a very active member within Sherpa since her arrival in 2015 as a Board member. She was nominated President in december 2017, taking over William Bourdon.
|William Bourdon – Founder of Sherpa
William Bourdon is a lawyer and founder of Cabinet Bourdon & Associés, where he works primarily on business, media and criminal law. He is also a promminent human rights lawyer in France. He represented Franco-Chilean families in the lawsuit filed in October 1998 against General Augusto Pinochet, he also represented civilian groups in the French case against Serbs charged with war crimes.
He served as General Secretary of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) from 1995 to 2000. William has written several books on international justice and human rights. His last book, Petit manuel de désobéissance citoyenne, was published in 2014 by Éditions JC Lattès.
William Bourdon is the founder of Sherpa. He has been on the organization’s Board of Directors since September 28, 2001.
Eric Alt – Vice President and Secretary
Eric Alt was vice-president of the Syndicat de la magistrature and of MEDEL (Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés). He co-authored the “Que-sais-je” book on the fight against corruption (PUF, 1997) and L’Esprit de Corruption (Le Bord de l’eau, 2012). He is currently deputy magistrate at the court of cassation.
Eric has been on the organization’s Board of Directors since June 10, 2011.
Jean Merckaert has been Senior Editor of Revue Projet since May 2010. Prior to that, he worked for CCFD-Terre solidaire, where he was responsible for issues relating to development funding and he also managed Plateforme Paradis Fiscaux et Judiciaires. He has authored numerous CCFD reports on ill-gotten gains, tax havens and debt in developing countries.
Jean has been on the organization’s Board of Directors since June 10, 2011.
Chantal Cujar has a PhD in private law and criminology, and is a senior HDR lecturer at the University of Strasbourg’s law faculties. She is director of the Master Juriste Conformité / Compliance Officer program and of the European College of Financial Investigations and Analysis of Financial Crimes (CEIFAC). A specialist in the fight against organized crime, she also directs the Groupe de Recherches Approfondies Sur la Criminalité Organisée (GRASCO) and has authored numerous books and articles on money laundering, corruption and the fight against organized crime.
Chantal has been on the organization’s Board of Directors since June 10, 2011.
Mireille Delmas-Marty is professor emeritus in private law and criminology. Following a brief period as a teaching assistant at the University of Paris’ faculty of law (1967–1970), she taught at the universities of Lille II (1970–1977), Paris XI (1977–1990) and Paris I (1990–2002). She was a member of the Institut universitaire de France (1992–2002) and was elected to the Collège de France, where she has held the Chair in Comparative Legal Studies and Internationalisation since 2002. In 2007, she was elected as a member of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques.
Mireille has been on the organization’s Board of Directors since March 29, 2008.
Laurence Sinopoli has been a teacher and researcher at the University of Paris X Nanterre since 2000 and is director of the European and Comparative Law Research Centre (CEJEC).The relationship between international private law and human rights is the focus of her teaching and her research.She founded a law clinic to support the university’s interactions with civil society and to stimulate thinking on the effectiveness and efficiency of law.She wrote her thesis and several articles on the right to a fair trial in private international affairs, and she is determined to show that the implementation of standards in the area of human rights is hindered by a cruel lack of means for their implementation. She recently co-directed a publication entitled Les actions en justice au-delà de l’intérêt personnel (Dalloz).
Laurence has been on the organization’s Board of Directors since December 13, 2013.
| Géraud de la Pradelle
Géraud de la Pradelle is professor emeritus at the University of Paris X. Holder of the highest distinction in Law (aggrégé de droit) he worked extensively in the field of International private Law, with a focus on humanitarian law and the law of war.
He is the author of numerous books, such as “L’homme juridique” or “Droit international Privé”.
He was involved in many instances linked with the Palestinian cause, notably as a member of the Information Center on Lebanese and Palestinian refugees.
His focus on the Rwanda genocide also led him to the Presidence of the Citizen Investigation Commission on the French implication in Rwanda in 2004.
Géraud de la Pradelle has been on the organization’s Board of Directors since June 19, 2018.
Sylvie O’Dy is a journalist and writer. Holder of a law degree, she worked as a journalist in many French newspapers before becoming editor-in-chief of l’Express from 1987 to 2001. She then continued to be editor-in-chief in Ca m’intéresse and Notre Temps, while writing numerous books and articles.
She was the President of the Committee against Modern Slavery, which seeks to give legal advice and administrative support to victims of slavery between 1999 and 2005, and from 2012 to 2015. The Committee deals with all types of contemporary forms of enslavement, which goes from domestic slavery to sexual slavery.
Sylvie O’dy has been on the organization’s Board of Directors since June 19, 2018.