Dimitrios Kafteranis, Stelios Andreadakis

A New Perspective on the Protection of Whistleblowers Under Echr: Halet V Luxembourg

Abstract The Luxleaks scandal, which had garnered widespread attention in 2014 and implicated A. Deltour and R. Halet, has taken a significant turn with the recent publication of the Grand Chamber’s decision in favour of Mr Halet. Initially, Deltour was officially recognised as a whistleblower by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in defence of the actions he took, while Halet faced condemnation for lacking whistleblower status. Halet had previously brought his case before the ECtHR, alleging a violation of his right to freedom of expression. However, the ECtHR’s judgment in February 2023 ultimately upheld the right to freedom of expression, marking a pivotal moment in this legal saga. The judgment itself focused on two critical criteria for safeguarding whistle-blowers within the framework of freedom of expression: assessing the damage caused to the employer and determining whether such damage could be outweighed by the public interest, as well as evaluating the severity of the imposed sanctions. This contribution aims to provide a critical assessment of the Luxleaks case up until the the ECtHR’s Grand Chamber decision. As this analysis will argue, the judgment holds immense significance as it introduces a fresh perspective on the notions of damage and public interest in the context of the Court’s established jurisprudence concerning whistleblower protection.

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