Corporate Legal Accountability Annual Briefing


Latest briefing: Feb 2016

In the courtroom and beyond: New strategies to overcome inequality and improve access to justice

Full briefing

The rising inequality of power and wealth is now a major global issue.  Less well known are its impacts on poor communities’ access to justice, and on the accountability of corporations accused of abuse.  Previously we have noted the narrowing of access to remedy, especially for extraterritorial abuses, and the harassment of human rights defenders, as symptoms of a growing inequality in access to justice.  This Annual Briefing examines how lawyers, legislators, and their allies are using creativity and innovation to overcome these increasing obstacles and inequalities.

The briefing’s key messages are:

  • In the courtroom, society’s growing inequality is reflected in the challenges victims face in seeking legal redress for business-related human rights abuse.  Victims’ advocates have counteracted this inequality through creative and innovative use of the law to access legal remedy. 

  • Beyond the courtroom, lawyers, working with a broad range of stakeholders, are developing new avenues, strategies and tactics that go beyond lawsuits to improve access to remedy and justice.

  • Major projects by the United Nations and international groups offer the prospect of some ways forward to address accountability gaps – with opportunities for lawyers and other advocates for affected people to feed their perspectives into the outcomes.

 Executive summary also available in Chinese, French, Spanish & Russian.

Previous briefings:

23 January 2015

26 November 2013

20 June 2012