Blog: The interaction between investment disputes and human rights due diligence
On 4 December 2019, the newly-established Human Rights Due Diligence Forum of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law convened its first meeting. The topic was the interaction between investment disputes and human rights due diligence.
The main focus of the meeting was on the implications of newly adopted or proposed laws on human rights due diligence. Such laws essentially place the responsibility of prevention of human rights violations on multinational enterprises, even if such violations occurred in other countries and were committed by their subsidiaries, suppliers or subcontractors. Failure to conduct human rights due diligence may result in incurring civil liability, which will disregard the principle of separation of different legal entities.
France adopted such law in 2017, based on the United Nations' Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), which serves as the main international instrument on this matter. The potential interaction of international investment law and human rights due diligence laws leads to a number of complex questions, some of which I addressed at the event and summarised below.