The Grande-Synthe Decision: A Conversation with the Judges of the French Council of State

Event time: 
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Event description: 

The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, in partnership with the Gruber Project in Global Justice and Women’s Rights, the Global Constitutionalism Seminar, the Yale Environmental Law Association, and the Yale Law School European Law Association, is delighted to announce a special Yale Law School event – a panel discussion on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, from 12:00-1:30 PM EST focusing on a landmark environmental case coming out of French State Council (the Conseil d’État) that has been hailed as a major development in climate change jurisprudence.

We are delighted to have three justices on the Conseil d’État join us for this event: Chief Justice Bruno LasserreJustice Fabien Raynaudand Justice Stéphane Hoynck.

Additionally, we will feature commentary from Dean Heather Gerken of Yale Law School and Professors Doug Kysar and Dan Esty.

The justices, along with the faculty commentators, will be discussing the impact of the decision in this case brought by the French commune of Grande-Synthe against the French government for failing to comply with the 2015 Paris Agreement — and for leaving the city vulnerable to flooding from sea level rise.

The Grande-Synthe case is the latest in a growing trend of judicial decisions around the globe that view environmental protection as a legally actionable right of people, communities, and even nature. Earlier this month, another administrative court in France held the French government liable for the “ecological damage” caused by its failure to meet its climate-change commitments, which has been described as “the case of the century.”

We are excited to host this event now – as the issue of environmental liability is emerging around the world, and as the issue continues to play out in France. This is a rare opportunity to hear from some of the world’s leading judges about a cutting-edge decision that could reshape global environmental jurisprudence.

Please register for the event here. If you have any questions about the event, please feel free to reach out to Tyler Yeargain, Associate Director of the Center, at