Published 9 January 2018
The theme of the upcoming Sydney ICCA Congress is "Evolution and Adaption: The Future of International Arbitration" and the planned session on "New Frontiers in International Arbitration" is set to explore how arbitration in the future might become a forum for resolving disputes under emerging norms, including on human rights, labour laws, health and safety. As delegates at the Congress will hear, and as we describe in this article, some of these "future" uses of arbitration in the realm of business and human rights are already a present reality at the Permanent Court of Arbitration ("PCA").
Part 1 of this article sets out some basic background about business and human rights principles and the different ways in which their recognition is gaining momentum amongst states and multinational enterprises. Part 2 then addresses the question of remedy and explores the potential role for arbitration as a mechanism for resolving disputes over business and human rights violations. It describes two contexts in which worker safety rights have already been elevated into enforceable contractual obligations, namely the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh, and the construction industry for major international sporting events. Part 3 concludes with some observations on what these developments may mean for international arbitration practitioners.
Previously published: Judith Levine and Kasphee Wahid, "Business and Human Rights: A "New Frontier" for International Arbitration?" in The ACICA Review, December 2017 (Vol. 5, No. 2) online at: https://acica.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/ACICA-Review-Dec-2017-final-002.pdf. Republished with kind permission.