Effective legal protection: from transparency to remedy and back again

Nicky Touw (Open Universiteit NL)
Monday, 6 July 2020, 15.30 – 17.00 hrs

How to understand and handle human rights abuses in cases of transnationally operating businesses is a highly debated topic. The aim of the current paper is first and foremost to introduce the author’s current research into the right to (corporate) information for victims of human rights violations for the purpose of civil litigation against multinational corporations, as the development of the PhD project’s analytical framework. The inequality of the parties, and a lack of transparency relating to the complex structures and activities of multinational corporations in a globalized world, pose substantial challenges for victims of corporate human rights abuses to receive remedies. The author will explain how a right to information might therefore be instrumental to the right to an effective remedy. However, focussing the research on the access to remedies for individual victims is only one approach to the general research question, within the globalisation theme, of how to provide effective legal protection in case of an adverse impact of transnational business activities on the enjoyment of human rights. The author will give an overview of the developments and debates in the field of business and human rights that resulted in her research question but that also pose overarching questions about the connection between the access to information (creating transparency) and remedies. She will discuss to what extent answering these questions, taking into account broader research on social justice and legal theory within the globalisation theme, is necessary for the development of the analytical framework.

The Speaker
Nicky Touw holds an LLB and Master’s in Criminal Law from the University of Amsterdam. Prior to studying law, she completed a BA in Philosophy at the University of Groningen. After a few years in legal practice, Nicky started her PhD research with the Open University in December 2019. She focuses on the access to information for victims of human rights violations for the purpose of civil litigation against corporate actors in light of the general Globalization and Law program of the Open University. This research program poses as one of its general question: how to provide for effective legal protection in a globalized world? She hopes that her PhD project will contribute to this more general debate. She is supervised by Prof. Mr. G.K. Sluiter, Prof. Mr. G.I. Hernández, and Mr. Dr. W.M. Guns.