Academic Staff

Professor Sheldon Leader BA (Yale), MA, DPhil (Oxford), Barrister

Position in departmentDirector, Essex Business and Human Rights Project
Staff positionProfessor
Telephone01206 873311

Sheldon Leader, a graduate of Yale and Oxford Universities, is the director of the Essex Business and Human Rights Project (EBHR) and a longstanding member of the Human Rights Centre at University of Essex. He is; a member of the Advisory to the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales. He teaches and lectures at the University of Essex, the University of Paris-Ouest and at a number of universities in the US. His work with the EBHR involves advice and training on issues involving business and human rights in various parts of the world. 

Research interests
  • Corporations
  • Labour/Employment Law
  • Links between Human Rights, International Trade, and Investment  
  • Philosophy of Human Rights
  • Jurisprudence
Teaching responsibilities
  • Human Rights, International Trade and Investment
  • Business and Human Rights
  • Philosophy of Human Rights
  • Jurisprudence
  • Corporations (UK, USA, and EU)
  • Labor/Employment Law (UK, Comparative, and International)



  • ‘Deriving Concrete Entitlements from Abstract Rights’ in Delivery of Human Rights: Essays for Sir Nigel Rodley ed G. Gilbert et al (Routledge: 2010) Chap 1
  • ‘Risk Management, Project Finance, and Rights Based Development’ in Global Project Finance, Human Rights, and Sustainable Development, Sheldon Leader, David Ong (eds.) Cambridge University Press. [forthcoming, 2011], Chapter 5.
  • ‘The Place of Labour Rights in Foreign Direct Investment’ in Global Labor and Employment Law for the Practicing Lawyer, A. Morris and S. Estreicher eds (Kluwer 2010)
  • ‘The Collateral Protection of Rights in a Global Economy’ 53 New York Law School Law Review Issue 4 (2009) 805
  • ‘Global responsibility, commercial pressures, and the problem of priorities’ in I. Daugareilh et al (eds) Responsabilité de l’entreprise internationale et globalisation de l’économie, (Paris and Brussels: Bruylant/LJDG 2010) Ch XXV
  • ‘Gouvernement d'entreprise et droits des salariés’, Leader, Sheldon ; Lokiec, Pascal, Paris : Revue de droit du travail, Paris: Dalloz 2008, n° 3, 201-203
  • ‘Human Rights, Risks, and New Strategies for Global Investment’ 9 Journal of International Economic Law 657-705 (OUP: 2006)
  • ‘Human Rights and International Trade’ in Understanding the World Trade Organization: Perspectives from Law, Economics and Politics ed. Macrory, P. et al (Springer: 2005) pp. 664-695
  • ‘International Trade and Human rights: A Review Essay’, 24 2 Nordic Journal of Human Rights 2006, p. 159 – 169
  • ‘Two Ways of Linking Economic Activity to Human Rights’ in 185 International Social Science Journal, Blackwells/UNESCO 2005 pp 541 ff
  • ‘Collateralism’ in R. Brownsword (ed) Global Governance and the Search for Justice (Hart Publishing: 2005) p. 53-67
  • Human Rights on the Line (Amnesty International, UK: 2003) (Principal author, with contribution from Andrea Shemberg)
  • Review of The Human Rights Obligations of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund by S. Skogly Kings College Law Journal Vol 13 Issue 2, p. 171 ff
  • ‘Implementing the Norms of International Law into Municipal Law’: Strategies of Interpretation' in Les Droits de l'Homme Universalité et Droits Nouveaux in 1989 eds. G. Braibant et G. Marcou (Paris: L'Harmattan 1990) p.220 ff.
  • ‘The Reach of Democracy and Global Enterprise’ in Constellations, Vol. 8, No. 4 (2001). Pp 538 - 553
  • “Participation and Property Rights” 21 Journal of Business Ethics (Kluwer: 1999) p. 97- 109 (8 000 words) Flemish translation in P. Humblet (ed) Arbeid & Kapitaal (on) Verzoenbaar? (Gent: Mys & Breesch: 1999) p. 153-171. Subject of an article in the Belgian business magazine Ondernemen, February 2000.
  • `Corporate Governance in the UK' (with Prof. Janet Dine), in A. Pinto and G. Visentini eds. Principles of Corporate Governance in the Publicly Held Corporation: A Comparative Analysis (Kluwer: 1997) p. 219 – 252
  • `Private Property and Corporate Governance' in F. Patfield (ed) New Perspectives in Company Law (London: Graham & Trotman: 1995) pp. 85-113
  • Ten Lectures on Company Law (Rome: LUISS University, 1993) 80 pp.
  • ‘Legal Theory and the Encounter with Civil Law’ Journal of Civil Law Studies. (Center for Civil Law Studies, Louisiana State University: 2011)
  • ‘Legal science, social science, and the problem of competing values’ Droit et Société (Paris : 2010)
  • ‘Human Rights, Power, and the Protection of Free Choice’ in Strategic visions for Human Rights: Essays for Kevin Boyle, ed. G Gilbert et al (Routledge: 2010) Chap 7
  • ‘Freedom and Futures: Personal Priorities, Institutional Demands, and Freedom of Religion’ (2007) 70(5) Modern Law Review, 713-730
  • ‘Inflating Consent, Inflating Function, and Inserting Human Rights’, in Capitalism and Human Rights eds J. Dine and A. Fagan, (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd: 2005) pp. 28-47
  • “Integration, Federation, and the Ethics of Rights” in Morale et politique des Droits de l’homme ed. Monique Costillo (Georg Olms Verlag: 2003) p. 63-78
  • “Three Faces of Justice and the Management of Change”: 63 Modern Law Review p. 55-83 January 2000.
  • The Three-World Polity, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, [1998] OCLC: 47631694
  • “The Peculiar Quality of Progress” 64 Brooklyn Law Review 4 p.1205 – 1215 (1998)
  • "Procedure e risultati" ("Procedures and Outcomes") 9 Ragion Pratica 1997 p.119-136 (appeared May 1998) (translation available)
  • . `Toleration without Liberal Foundations' Ratio Juris 10:2, (June 1997) p. 139-164. This was published together with three commentaries on the argument advanced. Italian translation: “Como essere tolleranti, senza essere liberali 5 Ragion Pratica 1995 p. 27-45. Subject of a session at the UK Association for Social and Legal Philosophy, April 2000; and of an article by d’ Entreves ‘Toleration and Democracy’, in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy Vol 4 No 3 2001 p. 49-66
  • “Minorities, Moralities, and the Judiciary” in The Role of the Judiciary in the Protection of Human Rights., ed E. Cotran (et al) (Kluwer:1997) p.431-440
  • . `Proportionality and the Justification of Discrimination', in J. Dine and B. Watt (eds) Discrimination: Concepts, Limitations and Justifications (London: Longmans, 1996) pp. 110-120.
  • `Three Faces of Toleration in a Democracy' in Journal of Political Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell) March 1996, p.23-45.
  • `Impartiality, Bias, and the Judiciary' in Reading Dworkin Critically ed Prof. Alan Hunt (Oxford: Berg 1992) 241-268. This argument analysed and applied by Prof. Luc Begin, “L’impartialité des juges et la lecture morale des droits” in 38 Les Cahiers de Droit (Université de Laval) 417 (1997)
  • ‘The Enforcement of Morals, the Judicial Function, and Democracy: An Argument' in Current Legal Problems 1989, (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1990) p.115-134; Translated into French, (Revue Interdisciplinaire d'Etudes Juridiques) Facultés Universitaires St. Louis, Brussels: 1991) Vol 26, pp. 1-22.
  • `Free Speech and the Advocacy of Illegal Action in Law and Political Theory' in 82 Columbia Law Review No.3, 1982 pp.412-443
  • `Law and the Mode of Production' in Law and Economics ed R. N. Moles (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag) Archiv Recht und Sozialphil, 1988) p.83-95
  • . ‘Le Juge, la Politique et la Neutralité' in Droit et Société No.2, 1986 pp. 23-40 (translation available)
  • ‘The Allure and Abuse of Constitutional Principles' in 34 University of Toronto Law Journal No.1, l984 pp.203-230
  • . `Perspectives Internes et Externes'; `Common Law'; `Utilitarisme'; `Propriété', in Dictionnaire Encyclopédique de Théorie et de Sociologie du Droit, Ed by A-J. Arnaud (Paris: Librairie Générale de Droit et de Jurisprudence, 1988). pp. 47, 197-198, 325-327, 427-428.
  • . `Three Parts of Social Morality and the Harm Principle' in Tradition and Progress in Modern Legal Cultures Ed by S. Jorgensen Archiv Recht und Sozialphil, 1985 pp.234-247
  • . ` ‘The Limits of the Internal Point of View' in Semiotics, Law and Social Science Ed by B.S. Jackson and D. Carzo, (Liverpool/Gangemi 1985) pp.169-177
  • `Monism, Pluralism, Relativism and Right Answers in the Law' in Theory of Legal Science Ed by A. Peczenik (Reidel, 1984) pp.275-294
  • ‘Les Revendications des Droits Légaux et la Théorie Marxiste' in Procès: Cahiers d'analyse politique et juridique (Université de Lyon II): No.9, 1982 pp.109-119
  • ‘Can You Derive the Right to Strike from the Right to Freedom of
  • Association?’ Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, Vol. 15, No. 2 (2010) p. 271 - 295
  • ‘The Place of Labour Rights in Foreign Direct Investment’ in Global Labor and Employment Law ed A. Morris and S. Estreicher (Kluwer 2010) p. 579 – 596
  • ‘Labour Rights in the World Economy’, in A. Lyon-Caen and A. Perulli (eds) Evaluate Labour Law (CEDAM: Milan 2010)
  • ‘La responsabilité globale de l’entreprise: pressions commerciales et gestion des prioritiés’ in I, Daugareilh (ed) Responabilité Sociale de l’Entreprise Transnationale (Brussels: Bruylant, 2010) Ch. XXV
  • Freedom of Association: A Study in Labor Law and Political Theory (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992) 319 pp
  • “Le droit du travail et la gouvernance de l’entreprise” Revue de Droit du Travail, (Paris: Dalloz) Inaugural number, June 2006
  • “Two Approaches to Adjusting Competing Rights in Labour Law” [translated into French] in A. Lyon-Caen and P. Lokiec (eds) Droit social et droits fondamentaux (Paris: Dalloz, 2005) pp. 219-228
  • “Choosing an Interpretation of the Right to Freedom of Association” 40 British Journal of Industrial Relations No 1 (2002), pp 128-137
  • “Configuring Union Democracy” in S. Estreicher et al eds The Internal Governance and Organizational Effectiveness of Labor Unions: Essays in Honor of George Brooks. (Kluwer: 2001). pp. 491 – 514
  • “The United Kingdom: A New Generation of Issues” in Global Competition and the American Employment Landscape ed. S. Estreicher (Kluwer: 2001) pp. 645-664
  • `Pour Une Proceduralisation de la Politique Sociale: Droit du Travail et Proceduralisation' with A. Lyon-Caen (Univ Parix X), S. Simitis (Univ Frankfurt) and J. Lenoble (Univ Catholique de Louvain). Interim Report for DG V, European Commission/ Centre de Philosophie du Droit , Univ. Louvain. 1996
  • Freedom of Association, Labour Law, and the Needs of a Democratic Society' in Freedom of Association, Council of Europe. (Martinus Nijhoff: 1994) p.176-184
  • ‘La mise en cause des normes d'entreprise en Angleterre: étude théorique et empirique'40 pp. in La Mise en Cause des Normes d'Entreprise en Europe (ed. J. Pelissier) University of Lyons Press, 1993 [A joint research project involving six countries from the European Union. Comparisons were made of both the law and of the practical use made of the law in a selection of companies.]
  • ‘The European Convention on Human Rights, The Employment Act of 1988, and the Right to Refuse to Strike' 20 Industrial Law Journal 39 - 59 (March 1991)
  • ‘Droits de l'Individu et Droits Collectifs: Débats en Droit Syndical Anglais' in Ph. Auvergnon ed. Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité en Droit Social (Bordeaux: L.C.F. 1990) p.107-116
  • Droit du Travail, Crise Economique et Démocratie en Europe Occidentale et en Amerique Ed by Antione Lyon-Caen and Antoine Jeammaud (Paris: Actes-Sud, 1986). pp.75-109; Spanish translation, Madrid: Centro de Publicationes, Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, 1988 (translation available)
  • `Les Intérêts des Syndicats, les Intérêts Individuels et les Intérêts du Public: une Analyse' in Droit et Intérêt Ed. Ph. Gerard (Publications des Facultes Universitaires St. Louis, Brussels: 1990) p. 383-404
  • . `Deux Modèles de Conventions collectives dans le Marche Unique Européen?' in Europe, Le Defi Social ed. Observatoire Social Européen (Brussells: Eds CIACO 1989) p.95-104
  • ‘Competing Conceptions of Democracy in Trade Union Law' International Review of Contemporary Law No.2, 1987 (Association Internationale de Juristes Democrates, Brussels) p.67-87
  • `The New Technology and the Law of Industrial Democracy in France - Protecting Civil Liberties in the Workplace' in New Technology - A New Labour Law? Ed by Niklas Bruun, (Helsinki: SAK, 1985) pp. 75-109
  • `L'Evolution du Droit de Travail Anglais' in ACTES, Cahiers d'Action Juridique: Paris, l983 p.37 ff.
  • Other Topics
  • “Changing Values in the European Community” From Paris to Nice: fifty Years of Legal Integration in Europe ed. M. Van Empel (Kluwer Law International: 2003 p. 151-157
  • “An Education Strategy for a Changing Europe in Selected Pallas Lectures CPO, University of Nijmegen, (ed) 2001 p. 5-8
  • Introduction to `Law and Politics in Southern Africa' 12 Journal of Southern African Studies No.1 pp.1-11. (Oxford University Press) 1984
  • . `Blasphemy and Human Rights' in 46 Modern Law Review No.3, 1983 pp. 338-345
  • . Introduction to Droit et Societe no 6, 1987, focusing on the theme of the rule of law and the de-legalisation of conflict in the economy.



  • Address to meeting at the European Parliament of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) and Friends of the Earth, Brussels, on July 13, 2011: ‘ The duty of states to protect against human rights abuses by business: what new is offered by the Ruggie framework’
  • International Business Leaders Forum, London 1 March 2011: ‘Making sense of the state duty to protect in the light of the Ruggie principles’
  • Distinguished Global Visitor, Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University March-April, 2009, 2010 – lectures on trade, investment and human rights.
  • Address to the UK Law Society: ‘Human rights inside investment and corporate law constraints’, April, 2009
  • Conference on International Labor Law for practitioners: New York University School of Law, June 2008: ‘labour rights and international investment law’
  • Office of the High Commission for Human Rights: invited speaker to plenary session, Geneva, February 2007: ‘Human Rights and Global Project Finance’
  • Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House: London, April 2006: ‘The place of human rights in arbitration’; May 2006, ‘New frontiers in corporate social responsibility’; March, 2005: “Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility”
  • British Institute of Comparative Law, London, April 21 2004: “The UN Norms on Business and Human Rights”
    Yale Law School, April 26, 2004: “Human Rights and Investment Agreements”
  • Conference organized by the journal Ethical Corporation: London May 11, 2004: “Proactive human rights regulation and investment
    Institute for Corporate Accountability, Zicklin School of Business (Baruch College, CUNY) New York City May 13 2004: “Compensatory vs proactive protection of human rights – the case of BTC”
  • Institute of Political Science (‘Sciences Po’), Paris May 25, 2004 “Moralization of Capitalism”
  • Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris Jan 19, 2004: “Integration and federation in ethics and law”

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