The territorial scope of national legislation in the field of Business and Human Rights

Several European states are considering legislating, or have already legislated, in the area of responsible business conduct to require companies to respect certain human rights and environmental standards in their operations, including in their activities abroad. The territorial scope of such standards and their extraterritorial dimensions raise questions of international law. The article qualifies the different aspects of the scope of application of such legislation from the perspective of international law and demonstrates that we can distinguish three distinct strands of the territorial scope of application of such legislation. This typology facilities the debate on the geographical scope and legitimacy of such domestic regulations from the perspective of human rights obligations and state sovereignty.