Published on :

29/06/2022

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The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has accepted the referral of the case Halet v. Luxembourg (no. 21884/18).

In this case, the applicant was one of two employees at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) who, between 2012 and 2014, disclosed to media outlets several hundred advance tax rulings and tax returns prepared by PwC (the so-called “Luxleaks” affair). The information published highlighted a practice, spanning a period from 2002 to 2012, of highly advantageous tax agreements between PwC, acting on behalf of multinational companies, and the Luxembourg tax authorities. The applicant received a criminal conviction as the courts did not accept whistleblowing as justification for his actions.

On 7 May 2018 the applicant lodged a complaint with the ECtHR on the basis that the conviction constituted an interference with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – the right to freedom of expression. The Third Section ECtHR, while acknowledging the existence of an interference, considered that it had been prescribed by law and had pursued the legitimate aim of preventing the disclosure of confidential information and protecting the employer’s reputation, finding no violation of Article 10.

On 18 June 2021 the applicant requested that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber and on 6 September 2021 a panel of 5 judges agreed to hear the case of Halet v Luxembourg. 

The Judgement of the Third Section ECtHR can be found here (in French).

The ECtHR press release can be downloaded here (in English).

The Press Release of the Grand Chamber can be downloaded here (in English). 

For more information on the case and the topic of whistleblowing, please see here the article by Hava Yurttagül ‘LuxLeaks Scandal and Corporate Whistleblowing: Reflecting on ‘Halet v Luxembourg’.