Corporations and the Law

Lawsuits against corporations, trade agreements, investment arbitration and legislations to address corporate impunity... The law is a battlefield.

Lawyers and activists are increasingly taking corporations to court over their human rights abuses or their role in the climate crisis. But when it comes to using the law, corporations are ahead of the game, using national legislation or internationaltreaties to evade accountability, attack their critics or even sue governments for being too ambitious on environmental or social standards.

Within international law, there are thousands of binding treaties to protect the economic interests of investors and transnational corporations. Yet there is still no binding international instrument to protect human rights from abuses by multinationals - despite many past and ongoing attempts to introduce one. This demonstrates how much the law still serves primarily the interests of big business over all other societal objectives.

At the same time, however, more and more activists, lawyers and researchers are turning to the law to hold multinationals accountable or to ensure that the public interest prevails. They do this by using existing law, but also by developing case law and proposing legislative reforms, such as the law on the duty of vigilance of multinationals in France.

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