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The new duty of vigilance in France

Overview

The new French law on the duty of vigilance imposes new obligations on companies to prevent human rights, health and environmental disasters with prohibitive fines in case of non-compliance, and the law has a broad extraterritorial application.

The French MPs behind the new bill relating to the so-called ‘duty of vigilance' (led by the majority leader of the lower house of the French National Assembly) wanted lawmakers to adopt coercive measures in order to prevent major human rights, health and environmental disasters such as the Rana Plaza collapse, the Bhopal gas tragedy and the sinking of Erika. The French Parliament has been examining the new bill since February 2015. The bill has proved controversial and has for a number of months been subject to heated debates among French parliamentarians, in particular as to possible sanctions.

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