Draft Arbitration Rules on Business and Human Rights

Author: Center for International Legal Cooperation, Published on: 5 July 2019

The Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration provide a set of procedures for the arbitration of disputes related to the impact of business activities on human rights. The Hague Rules are based on the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, with modifications needed to address certain issues likely to arise in the context of business and human rights disputes. As with the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, the scope of the Hague Rules is not limited by the type of claimant(s) or respondent(s) or the subject-matter of the dispute and extends to any disputes that the parties to an arbitration agreement have agreed to resolve by arbitration under the Hague Rules...

Parties could thus include business entities, individuals, labor unions and organizations, States and State entities and civil society organizations. Equally, the Hague Rules purposefully do not define the terms “business”, “human rights”, or “business and human rights.” For the purposes of the Hague Rules, such terms should be thus understood at least as broadly as the meaning such terms have under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. However, in the vast majority of cases, no definition of these terms should be necessary at all...

Like the UNCITRAL Rules, the Hague Rules do not address the modalities by which the parties to the arbitration may consent to it nor the content of that consent, which are matters for the parties. Consent remains the cornerstone of business and human rights arbitration, as with all arbitration, and it can be established before a dispute arises, e.g. in contractual clauses, or after a dispute arises, e.g. in a submission agreement (compromis). Model Clauses may provide potential parties with options for expressing their consent to arbitration...

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