Xynthia: Appeal trial beginning November 16, 2016.


The Xynthia storm that struck the France on the night of February 27-February 28, 2010 was of extreme violence[1]. Charente-Maritime and Vendée are particularly affected by this event. In the aftermath of its human and economic balance is heavy. The French Federation of insurance companies estimated the human consequences to 53 dea[2]d and 79 injured, and more than 2.5 billion euros in direct damages[3].

Following this tragedy, legal actions are committed by victims and families of victims of the storm Xynthia, in order to seek possible responsibilities.

The criminal responsibility of the accused in the case of Xynthia was the subject a trial in court the Court of les Sables D'olonne in the fall of 2014. The verdict was made on 12 December 2014 in the first instance, condemning the Mayor of the municipality of Faute-sur-mer and his assistant respectively 4 years and 2 years in prison closes. This judgement is exemplary in this area. Indeed, if local elected representatives have already been recognized on several occasions off[4]icials criminally, it is the first time that local elected officials are sentenced to imprisonment for manslaughter as part of their duties.

The tribunal also recognizes that these individuals have committed a detachable personal foul of the service. Indeed, they have all three "committed misconduct inexcusable and unacceptable, cannot be tolerated any agent, also poor as it may be"[5]. Therefore, the Criminal Court is competent to adjudicate civil interests[6]. Thus, the civil action on the basis of article 2 of the code of criminal procedure, un[7]der the terms of article 1382 of the civil cod[8]e is admissible. Victims must therefore justify have suffered direct and certain damage with the misconduct. It is worth noting that victims will be compensated on the moral suffering endured on the harm of anguish of death, on the moral prejudice in connection with the person endangering.

The Court of appeal of Poitiers should now focus on the judgment of first instance 3 defendants.



[1] With ranging West to 160 km/h winds, combined with a high tide coefficient (102) causing an exceptional surge.

[2] 53 dead in Europe, 47 in France.

[3] FFSA, storm Xynthia on February 28, 2010, balance sheet at December 31, 2010, p. 1, [en ligne]https://www.ffsa.fr/sites/upload/docs/application/pdf/2011-06/bilanxynthia28022011.pdf (14/07/2012)

[4]  V. particular v. cass crim. June 11, 2003 note STEINLE-FEUERBACH, "Accident at a communal celebration: the second conviction of a confirmed Mayor", LPA, 19 February 2004 No. 36, P. 12; STEINLE-FEUERBACH «winter sports Accident, a first mayor sentenced for manslaughter under the Act of 10 July 2000, LPA, 06 March 2002 No. 47, P. 13; T.Corr. , July 17, 2003 n ° 654/2003 note STEINLE-FEUERBACH (M – f.), «criminal liability of elected representatives, the return to the severity, PCPA, May 11, 2005 No. 93, p. 13.

[5] Correctional judgment of December 12, 2014, extract from the minutes of the registry of the High Court of the Sables D'olonne, no. minute: 877/2014, p. 181.

[6] Ibid. p. 289.

[7] S. 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure: "the civil action for compensation for the damage caused by a crime, a misdemeanour or a contravention belongs to all those who have personally suffered injury directly caused by the offence".

[8] S. 1382 of the Civil Code: "any act of man, causing others harm, requires that through the fault of which happened to repair."