Members' Formal Dinner with Robert McCorquodale

Date: 23 Jun 2022

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Professor Robert McCorquodale is Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the University of Nottingham. He is also a barrister and mediator at Brick Court Chambers, London, and the Principal of Inclusive Law, a consultancy on business and human rights. He was the Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law for 10 years, and is on the board of a number of charities, including CBM UK.

Robert’s main focus of his work is on corporate accountability for human rights and environmental damage, which is a fast-growing area of law. He has written extensively on this and other topics, and his publications include ones based on surveys and interviews of corporations and industry associations. He has also provided advice, capacity building, legislative proposals and training to governments, corporations, international organisations, law firms, groups and civil society around the world, as well as conducting litigation. He has appeared as an advocate before the International Court of Justice and the United Kingdom Supreme Court, and as a legal expert before United Nations bodies.

In the past decade there have been significant developments in corporate accountability for their human rights and environmental impacts. There are now laws in a number of countries which specifically seek to make companies liable for their own actions and of those in their supply chain for these impacts, and an EU-wide law is coming soon. As well, a treaty on business and human rights is being drafted. There has also been an increasing number of cases before national courts which have imposed a duty of care on parent companies for the actions of their foreign based subsidiaries. This has included claims about climate change. At the same time, some investors, in adopting the environment, social and governance approach, are placing pressure on companies to take positive action in this area.

This talk explored these recent changes, and also examined how companies can respond to these developments, such as adopting strong management systems which include human rights and environmental due diligence.