14 juillet 2020

Une CJIP environnementale vers une justice négociée plus verte (En anglais)

Bastille Day Newsletter 2020 - Legislative, Regulatory & Policy Updates


At a time where ecological and environmental considerations are at the heart of current concerns, the question arose around the use of negotiated justice to punish environmental offences.

On 3 March 2020, the French Senate passed a Bill aiming at strengthening criminal law’s response to environmental harm [1]. As part of this Bill, an “environmental CJIP” is introduced, based on the model implemented by the Sapin II law [2] for probity offenses.

A few days after this Bill, on March 11, 2020, a subsidiary of Vinci accused of dumping concrete residues into the Seine river, was sanctioned by the Nanterre Criminal Court within a guilty plea procedure (“CRPC”). Although the company was sentenced to a 90,000 euros fine and to comply with the immediate remediation of the polluted site, the environmental NGOs have pinpointed the CRPC as an inadequate measure for environmental offences giving companies a de facto “right to pollute [3] ”.

While the opening up of negotiated justice to environmental offences illustrates a willingness to fight against them, the sanctions will need to be adapted to the reality of the damages.


I. The shortcomings of the repression of environmental offences under French law

When it comes to environmental matters, the French justice system tends to be considered incomplete on multiple grounds. The processing times are long, the reparation of damage is often incommensurate to the harm caused, and the measures to ensure that violations will not occur again are insufficient [4].

Few environmental offences are sanctioned in court, and sanctions do not seem adapted to the damage caused. Indeed, environmental litigation represents only 1% of criminal convictions and 0.5% of civil convictions. The former French Minister of Justice, Nicole Belloubet explained however that “these figures do not, […], reflect the reality of the damage that is done daily to the environment and biodiversity [5] ”. For instance in 2018, out of 1,993 prosecuted individuals on charges pertaining to environmental damage, only 27 were sentenced to prison and 954 were fined. With respect to legal entities, 60 out of 139 convicted were fined [6]. As a remedy, the Bill aims at refurbishing the environmental justice system by providing a better judicial response to environmental harm. The environmental CJIP may contribute to the fight against harm to environment, by encouraging offending companies to cooperate rather than sanctioning perpetrators.


II. The introduction of a negotiated environmental justice in which sanctions remain to be adapted

The CJIP offers a new way of tackling high-stake financial crimes committed by legal entities.

According to former French Minister of Justice, the goal of the environmental CJIP is to “make companies more responsible and mobilize them on ecological issues instead of focusing on seeking the criminal responsibility of managers [7]”. The conclusion of an environmental CJIP will lead to the payment by companies of a fine proportionate to the benefit derived through the misconduct, up to a limit of 30% of the entity’s average annual turnover over the previous three years [8]. A CJIP will also include the implementation of an environmental compliance program, under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment, and the reparation of environmental damages within a three-year delay [9]. The content of the compliance programs is yet to be determined – it could for instance, be based on internal procedures mirroring those in place for corruption matters such as a reporting procedure, the implementation of a code of conduct and risk mapping [10].

As a tool of the new negotiated justice movement, the CJIP is recognized for its growing success in France since it came into force and appears fit to process the complexity of environmental matters and legislation. The intended measures regarding the amount of the fine may however not be adapted to all environmental damage. Indeed, environmental damage does not necessarily imply monetary exchanges, and it may for instance be difficult to evaluate a benefit that derives through accidental pollution or lack of diligence. Moreover, one of the main challenges following environmental damage is to restore the initial state of land and avoid aggravation or repetition of the damage.

Some NGOs thereby fear that such settlements could restrict the impact of sanctions and neglect the crucial educational aspect pertaining to environmental issues [11].

Contenu similaire

Formation enquête interne - CY Université
3 avril 2023
La conduite des auditions dans le cadre d’une enquête interne
Mise en lumière des difficultés relatives à la conduite des entretiens tant du côté des personnes auditionnées que des personnes...
CumEx files
13 janvier 2022
CumEx files, de l’optimisation fiscale à la fraude fiscale ?
Focus sur les révélations des “CumEx files” ou "CumCum" et décryptage des pratiques d’optimisation fiscale par arbitrage de dividendes qui...
5 juin 2023
Formation EFB : L’enquête interne
Quand et comment mener une enquête interne ? Dans quel contexte ? Quel est votre rôle en tant qu’avocat ?...
Revue de presse
revue de presse
2 juin 2023
Revue de presse – Semaine du 29 mai 2023
Cette semaine dans l’actualité, la 32e chambre du tribunal judicaire de Paris a prononcé sa première condamnation pour manipulation de...
Revue de presse
revue de presse
26 mai 2023
Revue de presse – Semaine du 22 mai 2023
Cette semaine dans l’actualité, le PNF a signé ses 16e et 17e CJIP, le ministre comorien des affaires étrangères est...
23 mai 2023
Le ministre délégué aux comptes publics annonce un plan de lutte contre la fraude fiscale...
Dans le cadre d’un débat au Sénat, après la publication par la commission des finances d’un rapport relatif à la...
Revue de presse
revue de presse
19 mai 2023
Revue de presse – Semaine du 15 mai 2023
Cette semaine , la CEDH a autorisé le partage d'écoutes téléphoniques par le procureur à destination de l'autorité de la...
Revue de presse
revue de presse
12 mai 2023
Revue de presse – Semaine du 8 mai 2023
Cette semaine, François Ruffin a été débouté par la CEDH, une information judiciaire a été ouverte pour soupçons de détournement...
11 mai 2023
La pratique des enquêtes internes
Julie Zorrilla et Roxane Castro sont intervenus hier auprès des étudiants du Master Droit pénal financier de CY Université, pour...
Revue de presse
Revue de presse Compliance Pénal des affaires
5 mai 2023
Revue de presse – Semaine du 1er mai 2023
Cette semaine dans l’actualité, une nouvelle CJIP a été signée par le parquet de Paris avec une banque espagnole, et...
3 mai 2023
L’impact des sanctions internationales dans les contentieux et arbitrages internationaux
Les sanctions internationales, mesures politiques, diplomatiques et de droit international public affectent également les relations commerciales. Navacelle en synthétise les...
Revue de presse
revue de presse
28 avril 2023
Revue de presse – Semaine du 24 avril 2023
Cette semaine dans la revue de presse, le Parquet national financier a perquisitionné les locaux du député Pierre Morel-A-L’Huissier pour...
Revue de presse
Revue de presse Navacelle
21 avril 2023
Revue de presse – Semaine du 17 avril 2023
Cette semaine dans la revue de presse, sur le plan international, l’écocide a été reconnu par le Parlement européen, la...
The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations - 7th Edition
21 avril 2023
Guide du praticien des enquêtes internationales (2023)
NAVACELLE co-auteur du chapitre français de la septième édition du guide du praticien des enquêtes internationales publiées par le Global Investigations...