Corporate Code of Conduct Bill 2000: Overcoming Hurdles in Enforcing Human Rights Obligations Against Overseas Corporate Hands of Local Corporations
Newcastle Law Review, Vol. 8, pp. 87-116, 2004
30 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2004
In the background of the Corporate Code of Conduct Bill 2000 (Aus) - which sought to impose and enforce internationally recognised human rights standards on the overseas activities of Australia corporations - this article examines the (mis)use of the doctrine of forum non conveniens by multinational corporations to avoid or delay their liability for human rights violations, and the effect of the twin principles of separate personality and limited liability on the question of liability within a corporate group. It is argued that the instant Bill should have stated that the Australian courts would not dismiss proceedings on the ground of forum non conveniens; imposed liability for human rights violations within a corporate group on the enterprise principle or a theory of 'limited eclipsed personality'; and acknowledged the intrinsic limitations in court-based extraterritorial enforcement of human rights obligations against overseas corporations. The article also charters an alternative mechanism of social enforcement of human rights which, it is argued, would not encounter the intricacies associated with the judicial process.
Keywords: Corporate Code of Conduct Bill (Aus), Extraterritorial Regulation, Human Rights Violations by Multinational Corporations, Forum non Conveniens, Principles of Separate Personality and Limited Liability, Theory of Limited Eclipsed Personality, Social Enforcement of Human Rights
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