Big Ideas: Global business and the demand for justice - exploring the impact of non‐judicial mechanisms of redress for human rights abuse by international business enterprises

Cartogram visualising data on Gross National Income. © Copyright Sasi Group (University of Sheffield) and Mark Newman (University of Michigan).

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 28 June 2016


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Fiona Haines


+61 (0)2 6125 3948

Land grabs, impoverishment and disease in the Global South caused by the activities of Northern multi-national businesses bring perennial challenges for local communities seeking justice and redress. But these businesses are now subject to human right obligations through the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, obligations that are designed not only to prevent these harms but also to provide redress where they occur. This paper will interrogate whether and how redress is being realised.

Through an examination of non-judicial mechanisms of redress that have emerged in the wake of these human rights obligations, this paper will explore whether justice is being achieved for local communities in seeking redress for the harm they have experienced. Being non-judicial, these mechanisms reflect in many ways a new governance approach to achieving just outcomes.

Both non judicial mechanisms (NJMs) and new governance emphasise the importance of local solutions and the presence of a multiplicity of actors oriented towards mediation and problem solving rather than punishment, accountability and compensation. NJMs range from ombudsman schemes associated with multilateral finance organisations, such as the International Finance Corporation, international schemes such as the National Contact Point initiative of the OECD and a range of multi-stakeholder initiatives based on industries such as palm oil and tea.

Through empirical work in India and Indonesia this paper will explore the degree to which NJMs are able to achieve redress and whether a more thoroughgoing implementation of the principles of new governance could assist in bringing about a greater impact on the ground.

About the Speaker

Dr Fiona Haines is Professor of Criminology in the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne, and Honorary Professor at RegNet in the College of Asia and Pacific at ANU.

She has research expertise in white collar crime, globalisation, risk, regulatory theory and regulatory reform with empirical work spanning several domains including accountability of multinational corporations for human rights abuse, understanding the intersection between the financial and climate crises, industrial disasters and occupational health and safety, counter-terrorism and the criminalisation of cartel conduct.

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