Past projects

Powerful Purchasers

This project aimed to identify the specific legal principles that highlight the special position of the purchaser able to influence the behaviour of suppliers.

Nigeria

EBHR has written a report on the potential liabilities of the parent company in the Shell Group, as well as that of its Nigerian subsidiary, for oil spills in the Niger Delta.

The report places emphasis on changes in Nigerian legal standards, as well as developments in the UK concerning parent company liability, both of which increase the prospects for successful litigation in jurisdictions outside Nigeria as well as domestically.

One of the report’s objectives is to provide Shell investors with the necessary information as well as samples of detailed questions that they could direct to their company in order to acquire more information on the Niger Delta situation. The Niger Delta Report was successfully published on 10 December 2012.

Australia - UK

Non-judicial remedies for human rights abuses by business

EBHR is part of a three-year research project analysing non-judicial dispute settlement mechanisms for human rights abuses by businesses, particularly those operating outside of their home countries.

The Project is being conducted in partnership with Melbourne and Monash Universities in Australia, the University of Newcastle, the UK’s Corporate Responsibility Coalition (CORE) and several leading NGOs including Oxfam Australia, ActionAid and the Federation of Homeworkers Worldwide. EBHR’s contribution will be integral to formulating a recommendation for a UK Commission on Business and Human Rights.

The team has constructed a database of the various forms of non-judicial redress mechanisms, as well as the regulatory mapping of UK business and human rights-related legislation, parliamentary and government bodies to serve as a basis for institutional design and operation.

EBHR is currently conducting background research into the impact of non-judicial remedies with a view to producing an academic research paper.

Brazil

In collaboration with the Rio de Janeiro Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, EBHR is provided the Prosecutor’s Office with legal analysis regarding the potential liabilities that certain foreign domiciled companies would incur as a result of the latter’s activities in the construction and operation of projects which have an impact on the local populations and environment in the Rio de Janeiro area.

In this collaboration, EBHR was also involved in providing training to the Prosecutor’s Office and to the University Juiz de Fora in the field of business and human rights.

Senegal

As an increasing number of mining companies are currently prospecting or doing business in Senegal, Amnesty International Netherlands has commissioned EBHR to produce a report on whether the internal legal framework is adequate to ensure human rights, social and environmental protection in light of international standards, in particular the ECOWAS Mining Directive.

The legal analysis considers a number of aspects including land rights, health and safety, right to water, environmental issues, gender, as well as the judicial and non-judicial remedies available to local communities affected by notably industrial mining activities. The initial desk-based research was followed by fieldwork investigation in Senegal.

Afghanistan

EBHR was asked by Global Witness, UK to assess the qualities of the proposed Minerals Law of Afghanistan, drafted by the Ministry of Mines but rejected by Cabinet in July 2012.

The analysis, after critically reviewing the rejected draft, is focused on improved techniques for transparency, human rights protection and effective remedy that new legislation could embody.

The overall aim of the project is helping the government of Afghanistan draft a new bill that takes in due consideration, alongside mining companies’ and State’s interests, of the human and environmental rights of local populations.

The Global Witness report A Shaky Foundation? analysing Afghanistan's Draft Mining Law, which draws heavily on EHBR analysis was published in December 2013.

Reports and Briefings

Briefing to ICANN on .Amazon TLD applications

This briefing for the private sector organization that manages internet domain naming system examines how the Amazon corporation's application for certain top level domains ('TLDs') -- like .gov or .ac.uk but ending in .amazon -- could negatively impact on the human rights of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. It then analyses the Amazon corporation's business and human rights responsibilities before concluding that the company has not yet met the full range of international responsibilities stemming from or associated with its application.

Investor Obligations in Occupied Territories

All businesses are expected to respect human rights, regardless of their industry, size, ownership structure, or operational context. To realize their responsibility, institutional investors must ensure appropriate policies and undertake careful human rights due diligence. This can be difficult even in the best of circumstances. Situations of armed conflict and occupation are not the best of circumstances. Focusing on the Norwegian Statens Pensjonsfund Utland (“SPU”), this Report examines what institutional investors need to do in order to meet their responsibility to respect human rights when investing in businesses that operate in occupied territories.

Court Submissions

Okpabi and others v Royal Dutch Shell Pic and another UKSC 2018/0068

Rule 15 submissions to the Supreme Court by Concerned Academics and Practitioners regarding Okpabi and others v Royal Dutch Shell Plc and another UKSC 2018/0068.

Fazenda Brazil Verde Amicus

UN Submissions

Submission to the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Business and Human Rights: Conflicts between a Treaty on Business and Human Rights and Invesment and Trade Agreements

This memorandum builds on the long-standing work of the Essex Business and Human Rights Project, as well as the experience and research of our Director, Professor Sheldon Leader, and two of our academic members, Dr Tara Van Ho and Dr Anil Yilmaz-Vastardis. It outlines the difficulty of using the business and human rights treaty to address conflicts between investment law and human rights. The submission was authored by two of our LLM students, Lisa Kadel and Luciana Collete, working under the supervision of Dr Tara Van Ho, Professor Sheldon Leader, and Luis Felipe Yanes, one of our PhD candidates.

Reports

A Shaky Foundation? Analysing Afganistan's Draft Mining Law

The December 2013 Global Witness report A Shaky Foundation? Analysing Afganistan's Draft Mining Law draws heavily on analysis carried out by the EHBR:

Get in touch
Get in touch
Essex Business and Human Rights School of Law
Telephone: (+44)1206 872586