Intérêt à agir

Acting through law, creating a just, solidary, and respectful world for all forms of life

Our vision

Citizens and associations have an interest in mobilising and taking action in the common interest when it is violated or neglected. Inequalities and violations of human rights, as well as damage to natural environments and ecosystems, have reached unprecedented levels today.

The pursuit of certain private interests, supported by powerful lobbies, is intensifying, sometimes disregarding existing laws and the common good. The harm caused to our common interests in this way is not condemned, and the resulting damages are not rectified.

Our democracy offers safeguards to defend and protect the common interest, especially through the law, one of whose vocations is to establish justice. Antoine Garapon writes, "The last morality in a world deserted by different moralities is that of the law."

Law is indeed a powerful tool for establishing or restoring justice and fairness. The judiciary plays a decisive role in its implementation and cannot leave strong societal expectations unanswered.

Litigation thus becomes a decisive strategic lever to compel public and private actors to fulfill their societal and environmental responsibilities, and to advance the causes of associations defending general interest.

When a judge takes up the causes championed by associations, they play a decisive role in defending the general interest and can respond to the urgency of contemporary societal expectations.

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Our mission

Air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, destruction of life, climate change, erosion of biodiversity, increasing inequalities, human rights violations, and exclusion continue to grow. We know the actions to be implemented in order to create a just, solidary, and respectful world for all living things. « Intérêt à agir » is a collective of legal professionals and civil society actors. Our mission is to accompany civil society through litigation processes to evolve the law in the service of the general interest and common goods.

On 12 December 1999, France witnessed the largest oil spill in its history, an event that marked a turning point in how law approaches maritime pollution. The Maltese oil tanker Erika sank in the French Exclusive Economic Zone, off the coast of Brittany, triggering an unprecedented environmental crisis.

The Erika Affair, as it is now known, became a symbol of the fight against maritime pollution and catalysed a significant shift in environmental responsibility. The French Court of Cassation recognised its jurisdiction to judge accidental pollution caused by a foreign vessel that resulted in considerable damage in its territorial waters.

More importantly, the Court acknowledged the liability of the involved parties and identified an "ecological harm." This concept, now anchored in French law, represents a major advancement in remedying environmental damages. It recognises that harm to the environment can and must be repaired, independent of other forms of damage.

The Erika Affair is emblematic of the recognition of ecological harm. By establishing the autonomy of ecological harm, judges have set an important precedent for environmental protection. Law No. 2016-1097 of 8 August 2016 for the reconquest of biodiversity, nature, and landscapes strengthened this notion by incorporating ecological harm into the French Civil Code. This law bolstered the specificity of ecological harm and paved the way for reparatory actions.

INTERET À AGIR champions the general interest in the judicial arena by supporting the action of associations with a stake in the matter.

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Rebalancing the balance of power, ensuring the protection of common goods through law

Intérêt à Agir represents

legal experts gathered and collaboratively producing research on opportunities for strategic litigation
strategic litigation claims initiated by NGOs thanks to the legal expertise of "Intérêt à Agir"
hours of expertise for an amount of €636,000
national press articles publicising the means of legal recourse on issues related to common goods or fundamental rights

Interest in discovering

Our Analyses

Intérêt à Agir in the press

Empowering those defending common goods and the general interest with the power of legal action

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