Business and Human Rights: Access to Justice and Effective Remedies (with the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, FRA)

For an overview of past and upcoming meetings of this project, please click here.

Quick Facts

Adopted: CD 2018/2 (On Projects) (subject to conditions)
Project Period: late spring 2018–early 2020

Introduction

The ELI-FRA Project on Business and Human Rights: Access to Justice and Effective Remedies was approved by the ELI Council on 9 February 2018. Given its unique nature, whether it will proceed in the form of an Instrument or Statement will be decided by the Council after the preliminary mapping analysis, elaborated on below, is carried out by the Project Team. The mapping exercise itself is conducted under the auspices of the FRA.

Background

Human rights are traditionally viewed as an exclusive bond between a State as the duty bearer and an individual as the rights owner, but lately this view has been changing. As multinational corporations continue to gain economic and social influence that rivals that of nation States, it is necessary to also review their impact on human rights. Their actions touch upon civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of individuals and thus the very core of human, and in an EU or constitutional context, fundamental rights. Where this impact amounts to violations of human rights, effective remedies should be made available to the victims of such infringements to avoid rendering the most basic rights meaningless. In turn EU citizens, consumers and corporate entities have a right to expect that those corporate entities active and competing within the EU Internal Market adhere to human rights standards in relation to their global activities.The rights at the centre of the project's focus are those set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as far as they translate into actionable rights under applicable law or are otherwise recognised to take (in)direct horizontal effect. 

Presently, access to justice, in ensuring maintenance of such standards, is often hindered by a number of factors, partly inherent in the imbalance of power between the victims of human rights abuse and international businesses. It is therefore essential to find ways to alleviate the burden on individual claimants and facilitate redress of their grievances.

Aim

This ELI-FRA project will aim at identifying a range of possible draft EU regulatory and/or soft law options intended to increase access to remedies and ensure corporate human rights compliance and thus greater corporate social responsibility. Such draft regulatory option would also include where appropriate explanatory notes and background papers. 

Outcome

The Project Team will formulate the list of the exact issues it will analyse within this project. By way of example, the following issues considered as obstacles in access to justice and effective remedies may be considered: funding, appropriate legal procedural rules, access to information, and private international law jurisdictional rules and applicable law regimes.

Project Reporters

  • Jonas Grimheden
  • Diana Wallis

Further Project Team Members

  • Daniel Augenstein
  • Robert Bray
  • Duncan Fairgrieve
  • Filip Gregor
  • Antonio Gutierrez-Cardenete
  • Laura Guercio
  • Patrycja Pogodzinska
  • Elisabet Smit