French Criminal Court hands down judgment in “Essex 39” case
London, 14 November 2023 - Hogan Lovells International LLP has advised Pacific Links Foundation who are representing a number of families of the “Essex 39”. On Friday 10 November 2023, the 33rd Chambre Correctionnelle du Tribunal Judiciaire de Paris has passed down its judgment that a damages award should be made in favour of the represented victims.
Hogan Lovells International LLP has advised Pacific Links Foundation who are representing a number of families of the “Essex 39”: the 39 people who died in a refrigerated lorry, having been illegally smuggled to the UK via Belgium on 23 October 2019. This follows a successful parallel proceeding in Belgium, in which the Court of Appeal of Ghent ruled that a damages award should be made in favour of a number of the victims. Today, the 33ème Chambre Correctionnelle du Tribunal Judiciaire de Paris has ruled that a damages award can be made in favour of the represented victims, following the criminal trial. The judgment is subject to an appeal by those convicted.
This is a landmark decision which recognises that victims of transnational illegal migrant smuggling organizations should be given access to reparations and an effective remedy.
Arthur Dethomas, Partner at Hogan Lovells International LLP said, “We hope that this case will set a precedent to help others who have been affected by illegal migrant smuggling organizations. Whilst funds can never replace what has been lost, the damages award gives recognition to victims.”
The case demonstrates Hogan Lovells’ commitment to broadening access to justice for victims of human trafficking and smuggling. In conjunction with a successful parallel proceeding in Belgium, Hogan Lovells International LLP has also been instructed in the UK by Pacific Links Foundation to ensure that asset confiscation and payment of reparations are at the heart of the criminal justice process in this case, which has been possible due to the diligence of Essex Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the National Crime Agency.
The President and Co-Founder of Pacific Links Foundation, Diep Vuong noted, “We are pleased that the Court has recognised the right to an effective remedy for victims in this case. This forms part of our broader purpose to combat human trafficking and illegal smuggling organizations by encouraging stronger partnerships between governments, businesses, and community organisations.”
Given the sensitivity of the case, we ask that the privacy of the families is respected at this difficult time. Queries should be directed to: [email protected]
The Hogan Lovells International LLP team includes:
Paris: Arthur Dethomas, Hicham Kaddoum, Christophe Garin, Claire Fohet, Astrid Layrisse, Claire Bratel, Iris Accary, Yael Michel, Sixtine Morin, Alice Baptista, Thomas Gluzman, Hortense Le Dosseur, Cloe Zeng.
London: Danny Knowles, Rhian Lewis, Liam Naidoo, Yasmin Waljee.
Belgium: Sean Jonckheere, Fabien Roy.