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Non-judicial Complaints: Striking a Balance between Business and Human Rights Interests

The international human rights system is traditionally State-based. It provides legal remedies for conflict resolution, however, these are usually lengthy, complex and often unsatisfactory. In consequence, there exists a gap in legal protection or redress for victims of corporate human rights violations. Extrajudicial complaint mechanisms can provide an alternative to legal action. In this project, nine non-judicial complaint mechanisms are analysed, including those of the World Bank, a well-known manufacturer of sports equipment and the Fair Labor Association.

The research project strongly relates to the effectiveness criteria of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and previous research work of the BIM (study on the “Right to Remedy”, 2013).

In 2015, the research team continued the assessment of the selected grievance mechanisms. Preliminary findings were presented in October 2015 at the Annual Conference of the International Bar Association, and in December 2015 in conjunction with the Human Rights in Business project.

Our research shows a growing body of non-judicial mechanisms with mixed results in terms of effectiveness, and critical attention to be paid to the linkages between judicial and non-judicial remedies in the future.

The project is part of a growing international research landscape on extrajudicial grievance mechanisms and will offer critical insight on effective protection for victims of corporate abuse.

Persons involved: 

Lead researcher: Karin Lukas

Researchers: Barbara Linder, Claudia Sprenger

Contact persons: 
Lead Organisation: 
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights
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Project end: 
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Funded by: 
FWF – Austrian Science Fund