Within our complex and interconnected global economy, any international business can find itself confronting human rights issues. Such issues may arise when, for example, it is alleged that a counterparty is a terrorist organization, war criminal, or aider or abettor of same. Potential human rights violations could occur in the context of supply chain and labor force issues—as when there are allegations of forced labor, child labor, or poor working conditions—or in the context of environmental pollution claims, especially in emerging economies.
Businesses may also be claimants in human rights cases. Property is widely accepted as a protectable human right, including under Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). By way of example, Quinn Emanuel is seeking judicial review of the London Metal Exchange’s (LME) decision to cancel various nickel forward trades, which our client Jane Street transacted via the Exchange on March 8, 2022. The claim is brought under the Human Rights Act (Article 1, Protocol 1) on the basis that, by canceling the trades, the LME deprived Jane Street of its property. In our London office, our firm has one of the few human rights disputes and advisory practices in a large law firm.
Although not directly related to human rights in the business world, Quinn Emanuel is also proud to represent, on a pro bono basis, Ukraine in asserting human rights claims against Russia in the ECHR in Strasbourg.
My colleagues at Quinn Emanuel have written an insightful piece that delves into the issues relating to the intersection of human rights and the business world. To learn more about this complex and vital subject, you can read their full note here.