The Court is asked to determine if the State is liable for the damages caused by protected species to agricultural activities. Law n°76-629 of 10 July 1976 for the protection of nature gives the possibility to prohibit the destruction of certain species when a specific scientific interest or the necessities to protect biodiversity heritage justified their protection.
According to the applicant, the fact that the State did not use the possibility to take proper measures, according to Directive n°79/409/CEE, to limit the number of Great Cormorants constituted a fault capable of rendering it liable. It argued also that even in the absence of fault, the State may be responsible according to the law of 10 July 1976 on the protection of nature.
Pursuant to its preparatory works, Law of 10 July 1976 did not exclude that the State can be held liable for abnormal damage caused by the application of the law to activities, especially agricultural activities. Consequently the damages resulting from the uncontrolled growth of the population of wild animals whose destruction is prohibited according to these provisions, must receive compensation when the damage cannot be regarded as normal. Consequently, the Conseil d’Etat overturned the administrative appeal court’s decision.