Are Corporations 'Subjects' of International Law?
Jose E. Alvarez
New York University School of Law
November 5, 2010
Santa Clara Journal of International Law, Forthcoming
NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 10-77
Courts and scholars often attempt to draw legal conclusions from the status of entities, whether states, international organizations or corporations. Debates concerning whether corporations are “subjects” of international law and the legal conclusions that supposedly follow from this are particularly vociferous within Alien Tort Claims litigation in U.S. courts. Using the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United as a cautionary tale, the author argues that drawing legal conclusions from the fact of “subject-hood” is fraught with peril, particularly in the case of corporations. He argues that such top-down approaches are likely to lead to unintended consequences and that corporations, like international organizations, should more properly be seen as “participants” than “subjects.”
Number of Pages in PDF File: 54Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 6, 2010
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