Business and Human Rights as Law

ebook Volume 1

By Yousuf Aftab

cover image of Business and Human Rights as Law

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Cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Araya case

As the authors explain in the Introduction to this book, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are transforming corporate responsibility from public relations art to legal science. While the Guiding Principles are soft law, their definition of business respect for human rights has inspired a paradigm shift in human rights-related corporate legal risk through a wave of national legislation and transnational litigation. The contours of the emerging legal risk, however, are vague.

Business and Human Rights as Law: Towards Justiciability of Rights, Involvement, and Remedy is the first text to subject the Guiding Principles' foundational concepts to legal analysis in search of precise, practical, and replicable guidance. The result is a unique blend of theory and practice—illustrated through complex, real-world examples—to help lawyers and judges unearth the objective bases of corporate human rights responsibility and liability.


  • An overview of the Guiding Principles' practical, governance-based expectations of business respect for human rights, highlighting the similarities with corruption compliance programs.
  • A global survey of trends in litigation, legislation, and international law related to corporate human rights governance and risk management.
  • Rights: An analysis of how international human rights law, conceived to bind public actors, can reasonably and practically be translated into a purely private context, drawing on equity and abuse of right.
  • Involvement: A multidisciplinary investigation of the practical meaning of cause, contribute, directly linked, and omission to provide principled certainty regarding which adverse human rights impacts businesses are expected to foresee, identify, and address.
  • Grievance mechanisms: An exploration of how to evaluate the effectiveness of a private remedial process, drawing on extracts from an assessment of an extremely complex and controversial operational-level grievance mechanism established by Barrick Gold in Papua New Guinea.
  • Remedy: An analysis of how to ensure remedial outcomes are rights-compatible by translating the right to remedy from a public to private context, with reference to legitimate corporate ends and constraints.
  • Business and Human Rights as Law