Should Corporations Assist in the Realisation of Human Rights?

The paper questions whether and to what extent transnational corporations (TNCs) bear extraterritorial obligations to provide assistance in the area of human rights. Analysing international hard and soft law instruments and customary international law, it will develop an idea that TNCs should contribute to the implementation of shared global obligations of members of the international community to assist in the realization of human rights. It will bring counter-arguments against traditional understanding of TNCs as bearers of solely negative duties to respect human rights. Following that, it will formulate two major principles for fair allocation of obligations to assist – the principle of a decent minimum sacrifice and the principle of sufficiency – and examine how they should be balanced. Finally, it will explore some good and bad practices of TNCs’ assistance in the fulfilment of human rights in the time of pandemic and during the war between Ukraine and Russia.

The Bramble and the Trees: The Employer’s Prerogative as the Foundation of Private Workplace Power

Employers are sovereigns in their workplace. Despite a variety of working arrangements and an array of institutional structures of work, the default governance rule is one. The “employer prerogative” is this default: all workplace decisions fall within the employer’s discretion unless altered by a contract, statutes, or court doctrine. As a result, all legal interventions in the workplace, and the normative debates that surround them, must contend with the employer's prerogative.

Using comparative cases, the Article surveys the ways legal systems entrench the employer prerogative and the relatively limited ways in which workplace institutions have developed to curve or bend it towards various social goals. The Article concludes by offering a novel framework for considering possible alternatives. The Article concludes by describing alternative default governance rules, and a framework for a radically different form of work law and of the framework of power within the workplace.

Human Rights Due Diligence and the challenges of the Data Economy  

The Data Economy, based on technological innovations rooted in new data collection and processing possibilities, promises the blossoming of new products and services. However, such an economic development model brings some critical human rights challenges. In this sense, there is an increased awareness of the incompatibility and unfitness of the current human rights framework to respond to such challenges. In this work, we confront the challenges posed by the Data Economy and the solutions provided by the Business and Human Rights approach. More specifically, we verify the adequacy of the Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) as proposed by the current state-of-the-art literature to respond to the challenges posed by the emergent Data Economy. For this, we provide a detailed account of the HRDD process and explore the literature mapping the human rights threats of the Data Economy. Our work provides vital insights concerning the necessary adaptation of the HRDD to the Data Economy.

Access to digital data in the era of Artificial Intelligence – a human rights perspective

Although the performance of Artificial Intelligence is dependent on a combination of data, algorithms, and programming skills, it is data that ultimately determines the final result. For this reason, the availability and accessibility of high-quality data become vital for ensuring that everyone equally benefits from data-driven science and applications such as drug discovery or public services. Yet, the datasets collected by the public authorities are often of lower quality than the data compiled by the private actors. Striking the right balance between the public and private interests in accessing and/or releasing these data remains a challenge for the international human rights law. This paper provides an insight into the obligations of States in relation to the availability and accessibility of digital data based on the interpretation included in the General Comment on science and economic, social and cultural rights adopted by the UN CESCR in 2020.

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.