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Opinion

Lawyers' insights on corporate legal accountability: Ahmed ElSeidi, ElSeidi Law Firm, Egypt

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Ahmed ElSeidi heads his own law firm El Seidi Law Firm, and has led a lawsuit against Lafarge and Suez Cement regarding their use of coal and air pollution in Egypt.

1.What are the biggest challenges you face in your corporate legal accountability work?

The biggest challenge is the barriers to gain access to information. Many companies are not pressed to be transparent in their business operations and government institutions may fail to properly share information with the public, even with requested by courts to do so.

In Egypt, there is a lack of communication with local or international lawyers who specialize in corporate legal accountability to share lessons learned or arguments which were persuasive in court.

Funding these cases can be challenging, especially when you are up against a wealthy corporation with unlimited resources to litigate.

2.What key opportunities do you see for promoting corporate legal accountability (at the national, regional or international levels)?

In Egypt, obtaining judicial precedents relating to corporate legal accountability is of the utmost importance. Spearheading these cases will create barriers against corporate impunity for the first time in Egyptian courts. Publishing the case information so it can be shared widely is critical so that other individuals can file such cases.

3.What key lesson(s) have you learned in your efforts to advance corporate legal accountability?

An individual’s right cannot be taken from them as long as someone strives to claim it through legal activism.