Joseph Jesner, et al. v. Arab Bank, Plc

Author: Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) & Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Published on: 27 June 2017

Given the increased role and power of corporations in modern society, clear rules for their behavior, including their behavior abroad in countries that lack functioning judiciaries, must be established and enforced. Corporate liability under the ATS not only reflects Congressional intent but is also in the best interests of both the public and investors.

…[C]orporate liability under the ATS is required to ensure access to remedy for victims of violations of customary international law and to ensure that corporations respect those international standards. In particular, corporate liability under the ATS is necessary to encourage good corporate behavior and to protect individuals located in countries…where the capacity of the judiciary, law enforcement institutions, and other actors may be weak or under threat. Denying liability not only leaves a vacuum in which corporations can act to breach international legal standards, but it also creates perverse incentives, including encouraging the creation of corporate entities to minimize or evade liabilities…

Corporate liability under the ATS is also vital to protecting investors from the legal, reputational, and operational risks stemming from corporate complicity in violations of customary international law…

Given that most corporations comply with the law, foreclosing liability under the ATS would permit bad corporate actors to take advantage of their law-abiding competitors by violating customary international law with little up-front risk, giving these bad actors an advantage when competing with compliant enterprises for investment funds…

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