Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 493–511

Enhancing Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Violations: Is Extraterritoriality the Magic Potion?


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1531-z

Cite this article as:
Bernaz, N. J Bus Ethics (2013) 117: 493. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1531-z


The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, resulting from the work of John Ruggie and his team, largely depend on state action and corporate good will for their implementation. One increasingly popular way for states to prevent and redress violations of human rights committed by companies outside their country of registration is to adopt measures with extraterritorial implications, some of which are presented in the article, or to assert direct extraterritorial jurisdiction in specific instances. Some United Nations human rights bodies and non-governmental organisations are clearly supporting the use of extraterritoriality and have argued that international human rights law places an obligation on states to embrace extraterritoriality so as to better control the activities of companies registered on their territories. In this context, the article aims to determine whether extraterritoriality is the magic potion that will help enhance corporate accountability for human rights violations committed overseas. The article explores whether such obligation exists and, beyond this, whether extraterritoriality should be further encouraged.


Business and human rights Accountability Extraterritoriality Stock exchange Procurement Reporting Export credit International human rights law United Nations Alien Tort Statute 



Export Credit Agency


European Union


United Nations General Assembly


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development




United Nations


United Nations Treaty Series


World Trade Organisation

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlesex UniversityLondonUK

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