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Reports on Corporate Law Tools


Leading corporate law firms from around the world participated in a project developed by UN Special Representative John Ruggie to identify, in over 35 jurisdictions, whether and how national corporate and securities law principles and practices currently encourage companies to respect human rights: the Corporate Law Project.  The full list of participating firms and featured jurisdictions was announced in March 2009 (see announcement [PDF]).  The Special Representative has also provided a brief explanation of how the project fits into his wider work (see Special Representative's note [PDF]).

Overarching trends

"Update to John Ruggie's Corporate Law Project: Human Rights Reporting Initiatives"
Shift, Nov 2013
Refers to new/updated regulatory requirements on companies' human rights reporting by Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, European Union, France, India, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, UK, USA. Also refers to stock exchange requirements on social & environmental issues in Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, USA.

"Human rights and corporate law: trends and observations from a crossnational study conducted by the Special Representative" [PDF] - Based on the participating firms’ surveys of over 40 individual jurisdictions, this report was published by the Special Representative in May 2011 as an addendum to his final report to the UN Human Rights Council.  (previous version: "Overarching Trends and Observations" [PDF], July 2010) 

See also Prof. Ruggie's commentary on the report, "Review Links Corporate and Securities Law and Human Rights", 27 Jul 2010.

Jurisdiction-specific surveys

Participating firms agreed to prepare jurisdiction-specific surveys based on a research template [PDF] developed by the Special Representative's team.  All surveys should be viewed as independent submissions to the Corporate Law Project – they are the sole work of the participating firms and the Special Representative takes no position on any views expressed or implied in the surveys.

Readers should note that the surveys are not intended as a detailed study of the business-related human rights challenges facing individual jurisdictions.  Rather they are focused on the interplay between corporate and securities laws and policies and business respect for rights.  This entails some discussion of other laws and policies by way of context-setting but they are not the intended focus, nor are examples of actual or suspected business-related human rights harm in each jurisdiction.

All reports are in PDF format:



The participants met for a project meeting in June 2009 (see the report of the meeting [PDF]).

Osgoode Hall Law School at York University (Toronto, Canada) convened an expert consultation on "Corporate Law & Human Rights" in support of the Corporate Law Project, 5-6 November 2009.  
announcement of the consultation 
summary report of expert meeting [PDF]

The Corporate Law Project has also been discussed at several other events held under the Special Representative’s mandate, including a meeting of North American Corporate and External Counsel in April 2010 [PDF] and the Special Representative’s online consultation on the corporate responsibility to respect.