Doing Business Right – Monthly Report – April 2019 - By Shamistha Selvaratnan

Editor’s note: Shamistha Selvaratnam is a LLM Candidate of the Advanced Masters of European and International Human Rights Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Prior to commencing the LLM, she worked as a business and human rights solicitor in Australia where she specialised in promoting business respect for human rights through engagement with policy, law and practice.


This report compiles all relevant news, events and materials on Doing Business Right based on the coverage provided on our twitter feed @DoinBizRight and on various websites. You are invited to contribute to this compilation via the comments section below, feel free to add links to important cases, documents and articles we may have overlooked.

The Headlines

UK Supreme Court hands down judgment denying appeal by Vedanta

Following a significant UK Supreme Court jurisdiction case this month, for the first time a UK company will face trial in their home jurisdiction for environmental and human rights impacts associated with its foreign subsidiary. In Vedanta Resources PLC and another (Appellants) v Lungowe and others (Respondents) [2019] UKSC 20, the Supreme Court denied an appeal by Vedanta Resources and its Zambian subsidiary KCM, and allowed the claim to proceed to merits in England. The Court made it clear the real risk that the claimants would not obtain access to substantial justice in Zambia was the deciding factor in the case.

The big news is the Court’s prioritisation of access to justice as a jurisdictional hook for claims in England, however the finding of a “real triable issue” between a foreign claimant and UK parent company is also of great significance. The Court lowered the (previously insurmountable) bar for evidence the claimants have to provide at the pre-trial stage, allowing victims of corporate abuses to rely more heavily on the potential future disclosure of internal defendant documents. The Court called for a more liberal, less formalistic approach to determining whether a parent company potentially exercised control, saying that the existing legal criteria ought not to be a ‘straitjacket’ on the courts.

To the relief of those following previous cases like Okpabi, Lord Briggs confirmed that the size of a company’s operations does not dilute a duty of care – under the previous state of the law, the liability of a company decreased as its power and size increased. Additionally, company group-wide Corporate Social Responsibility policies and guidelines can now potentially be a basis to argue a case of parent company control. Companies making public statements that they protect the environment and human rights in their operations may now be held to these press-friendly representations. Read our full analysis of the case here.


UN and International Organisations Publications and Statements

NGOs, CSOs and Human Rights Organisations Publications and Statements 

Government Press Releases and Publications

In Court

In the News

Academic Materials


Asser Institute Doing Business Right Blog


Call for Papers, Submissions and Abstracts

Upcoming Events

Comments are closed