Business and Human Rights: Access to Justice and Effective Remedies (with input from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, FRA)

For an overview of past and upcoming meetings of this project, please click here.

ELI Members who are interested in actively contributing to the development of this project are invited to join the Project's Members Consultative Committee (MCC). Kindly contact the ELI Secretariat if you would like to join the MCC of this project or if you have any questions concerning the project.

Quick Facts

Project Type: Draft legislative proposal, model law/rule; collaborative project
Procedure: Accelerated
Adopted: CD 2018/2 (On Projects)
Project Period: February 2018
2021

Introduction

The ELI Project on Business and Human Rights: Access to Justice and Effective Remedies, conducted with input from FRA, was approved by the ELI Council on 9 February 2018 subject to certain conditions and officially approved by the Council on 26 September 2019. 

Background

Human rights are traditionally viewed as an exclusive bond between a State as the duty bearer and an individual as the rights owner, but lately this view has been changing. As multinational corporations continue to gain economic and social influence that rivals that of nation States, it is necessary to also review their impact on human rights. Their actions touch upon civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of individuals and thus the very core of human, and in an EU or constitutional context, fundamental rights. Where this impact amounts to violations of human rights, effective remedies should be made available to the victims of such infringements to avoid rendering the most basic rights meaningless. In turn EU citizens, consumers and corporate entities have a right to expect that those corporate entities active and competing within the EU Internal Market adhere to human rights standards in relation to their global activities.The rights at the centre of the project's focus are those set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as far as they translate into actionable rights under applicable law or are otherwise recognised to take (in)direct horizontal effect. 

Presently, access to justice, in ensuring maintenance of such standards, is often hindered by a number of factors, partly inherent in the imbalance of power between the victims of human rights abuse and international businesses. It is therefore essential to find ways to alleviate the burden on individual claimants and facilitate redress of their grievances.

Aim

This ELI project, conducted with input from FRA, will aim at identifying a range of possible draft EU regulatory and/or soft law options intended to increase access to remedies and ensure corporate human rights compliance and thus greater corporate social responsibility. Such draft regulatory option would also include where appropriate explanatory notes and background papers. 

Outcome

The Project Team will formulate the list of the exact issues it will analyse within this project. By way of example, the following issues considered as obstacles in access to justice and effective remedies may be considered: funding, appropriate legal procedural rules, access to information, and private international law jurisdictional rules and applicable law regimes.

The outcome is likely to take the form of a Commission White Paper with proposals for model provisions/laws. It is also envisaged that the final paper will contain proposals for further work, for instance in the field of liability of parent companies for subsidiaries.

Case Studies

For some illustrative examples that the Business and Human Rights project seeks to tackle, please click here.

Project Reporters

  • Jonas Grimheden
  • Diana Wallis

Further Project Team Members

  • Daniel Augenstein
  • Robert Bray
  • Duncan Fairgrieve
  • Filip Gregor
  • Antonio Gutierrez-Cardenete (until September 2020)
  • Laura Guercio
  • Chiara Macchi
  • Christopher Patz
  • Patrycja Pogodzinska
  • Ilaria Pretelli
  • Elisabet Smit

Advisory Committee Members

  • Karin Buhmann
  • Cristiana Carletti
  • Sandra Cossart
  • Alix Frank-Thomasser
  • Ingrid Gubbay
  • Nicola Jägers
  • Anežka Janoušková
  • Remo Klinger
  • Jacquelyn MacLennan
  • Corrado Malberti (Assessor)
  • Conor McCarthy
  • Claire Methven O'Brien
  • Robert Pelikán
  • Gabriela Quijano
  • Lucas Roorda
  • Elisabetta Silvestri
  • Lord John Thomas (Assessor)
  • John Vervaele (Assessor)
  • Elin Wrzoncki

Members Consultative Committee

  • Antigoni Alexandropoulou
  • Marco de Benito
  • Bitri & Bakiu Attorneys at Law (represented by Rezarta Bitri)
  • Konrad Brodaczewski
  • Vito Bumbaca
  • Moustapha Ebaid
  • Klaas Hendrik Eller
  • John Gaffney
  • Sarah Houllier
  • Thalia Kruger
  • Stephanie Laulhe Shaelou
  • Vijay Kumar Singh
  • Jonathan McGowan
  • Justyna Sarkowicz
  • Birgit Spiesshofer
  • Louise Ellen Teitz
  • Emanuela Vitello