Counter Corporate Litigation: Remedy, Regulation, and Repression in the Struggle for a Just Transition

By Mark B. Taylor, Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research

27 September 2021, Sustainability - Open Access Journal

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Hundreds of human rights and environmental cases against corporations have been launched in countries around the world in the past two decades. This body of counter corporate litigation—legal actions that involve attempts to enforce legal or normative standards against business entities—forms a significant part of the legal struggles shaping the transition to a sustainable economy. However, the question remains—how does litigation against companies fit with the larger patterns of reform? In this paper, I draw on a taxonomy of sustainability litigation to describe three functions of counter corporate litigation: remedy, the search for justice through legal action; regulation, the enforcement of legal standards through the courts; and repression, the proscription of predatory business models. I argue that research into counter corporate litigation helps to illuminate the priorities for legal reform, including the integration of human rights and the environment into legal instruments governing corporate activities, transnational approaches to corporate accountability, and a willingness to challenge unsustainable business models.

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Sustainability 202113(19), 10742;

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business, Human Rights and the Environment)


Published Oct. 15, 2021 10:14 AM - Last modified Sep. 3, 2022 3:20 AM