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Rome II Regulation and Liability of Multinationals for Human Rights Violations in Third Countries: Irreconcilable Differences? The Public policy exception to the application of the "host countries" legislation under Rome II Regulation

Pérez Adroher, Ana

The past 20 years have seen an increase in the number of legal cases brought against corporations in their home countries for the harm caused by human rights violations in host countries. Lawyers apply different areas of law, such as civil law, criminal law or consumer protection law, to try to hold corporations legally responsible in their home countries for human rights abuses committed abroad. From these, tort law is one of the few available ways for victims to bring direct claims against corporations. The applicable law in this type of situation is of paramount importance. It is especially relevant when the standards between the developing host countries and the developed home countries are different. The applicable law will define the standard, the duty of care, as well as determine the amount of the damages. This thesis explores the effect of the European Union’s conflict-of-laws rules on these types of claims. It focuses on Rome II Regulation, specifically on the general rule set out in article 4 whereby the applicable law shall be the one of the country in which the damage occurs. The analysis is centered on the effect the rule has on such claims and the viability of overcoming it using the public order exception under article 26. By examining the legislative history of Rome II Regulation, legal academic articles and opinions of legal experts, statutory law of EU Member States, domestic case-law and case-law of the European Court of Justice, this thesis argues that the public order clause is an exceptional argument. It has been rarely used in the area of non-contractual obligations and it presents different weaknesses. It proposes further research on the topic as well as an amendment of Rome II Regulation to include a specific choice-of law rule for business related human rights claims against EU companies.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Radon, Jenik R.
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
August 25, 2020