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Canadian Supreme Court Opens Door to Corporate Liability for Human Rights Abuses Abroad
19 March 2020
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The Supreme Court of Canada in
Nevsun Resources Ltd v. Araya
has held that common law claims against a Canadian mining corporation for alleged human rights violations of customary international law (“
”) are sufficiently plausible to survive a motion to strike.
The decision breaks new ground by concluding that CIL obligations––the body of international law obligations that presumptively apply to all sovereign states––may apply to corporations, and that a remedy may exist to enforce those obligations directly under Canadian common law.
The decision creates significant litigation uncertainty for companies subject to Canadian jurisdiction, particularly for companies whose operations may implicate human rights, the environment, and other business integrity issues.
Arbitration & International Disputes
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Donald Francis Donovan
Lord Goldsmith QC
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