School of Law

Corporate Duty of Care for Human Rights and Environmental Impacts

Robert McCorquodale

The UK Supreme Court recently decided that a parent company incorporated in England may have a duty of care for the actions of its foreign incorporated subsidiary which causes human rights and environmental harms. In the case of Vedanta v Lungowe, the Court decided unanimously in favour of the Zambian claimants.

This was the first time that any superior court in the world had made clear that a parent company could have a duty of care in these circumstances. Therefore the decision is important in the area of tort law, public international law, private international law and company law. The case will now be taken to a trial on the facts.

Professor Robert McCorquodale, who is also a barrister, appeared for two NGOs, as intervenors in the case. They provided the Court with information and analysis of the developments in this area (known as business and human rights) at national, regional and international levels. The Court noted that this intervention showed “the direction of travel” in this area.

Posted on Monday 18th November 2019

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