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The Fundamental Rights of Companies: Have the European Courts Got it Right?

Event Details

Time: 18:00-20:00 (followed by a drinks reception)

Venue: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5JP

On this side of the Atlantic, the question as to the extent to which commercial entities should enjoy fundamental rights has received practically no attention, except amongst competition lawyers. That is despite the steady stream of judgments delivered by the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU on the issue. International law does not generally recognise that companies can have fundamental rights at all. That is emphatically not the case under the European Convention. The same applies to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and many or most domestic legal systems where the rule of law applies.

Some argue that companies should enjoy no fundamental rights, but the ruling of the ECtHR in Yukos v Russia (in relation to the right to property and to access to justice and to a fair trial) highlight their need for such rights. At the same time, great caution is required to ensure that companies only enjoy fundamental rights to the extent that that is in the public interest (viz. the controversial ruling of the US Supreme Court in Citizens United).

This event will explore the question of whether commercial entities should enjoy fundamental rights by way of reference to judgments delivered by the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU. Though the focus will be on the ECHR and EU Law, there will be brief forays into other legal systems.


  • Professor Sir Francis Jacobs KCMG QC, King's College London


  • Sir Nicholas Forwood QC, White & Case, Brussels and former Judge of the General Court of the EU
  • Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, BIICL
  • Judge Paul Mahoney, former Judge at the European Court of Human Rights
  • Peter Oliver, Monckton Chambers and External Fellow of the Bingham Centre

Download the event flyer

CPD Accreditation

This event is accredited with 2 CPD hours.

Pricing and Registration

BIICL Members:

  • Individual - £55
  • Full-time Academic - £35
  • Full-time Student - £25


  • Individual - £95
  • Full-time Academic - £60
  • Full-time Student - £35

N.B. The Academic rate also applies to staff of government and non-profit organisations.

Free NGO Places

A limited number of places for this event are available for staff of NGOs to attend free of charge as part of an initiative by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law to provide NGOs with access to legal education and training events.

Please email our Events Team at with your contact details, your position and the NGO that you work for. We will organise your attendance, subject to availability.


If you have any queries, please contact the events team.

Photography and audio recording

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Event Cancellation Policy

Cancellation by us

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law reserves the right to modify or cancel any event if unforeseen circumstances arise. If we cancel an event we shall inform you as soon as possible using the contact details provided to us and offer you a full refund.

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All cancellations must be made in writing via email to and be no less than one week prior to the event.

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