Accountability of Corporate Actors for Environmental Harm: Lessons from Human-Rights Based Litigation

Historically international human rights law and environmental law have developed as separate branches and, despite their clear interrelatedness, their combined potential in addressing global phenomena is marginalized or even neglected. This contribution analyses litigation against corporate actors located at the intersection of human rights and environmental law. By doing so, it places both law disciplines on a common trajectory of targeting corporate impunity. To facilitate the analysis, I differentiate between two types of human-rights based litigations against corporations: litigation related to direct environmental harm caused by a corporate actor and climate change litigations. This distinction is crucial to address mounting legitimacy concerns regarding such litigation. I do that from the perspective of global obligations of states under international law and through the lens of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and its constitutional anchoring.