On 22-26 October 2020, the Bonavero Institute hosted an online roundtable to discuss challenges and opportunities for using civil claims against state and non-state actors as a mechanism for human rights accountability. This roundtable was part of our research project funded by the Oak Foundation to conduct a comparative study of civil liability for human rights violations across several jurisdictions in the Global South and Global North and was coordinated by our postdoctoral fellow, Dr Ekaterina Aristova. Over nine panels, more than 50 scholars and human rights practitioners from 21 jurisdiction shared their views on various forms of civil remedy that exist within the legal systems around the world and changes that are happening (quite rapidly) within these systems under the influence of human rights standards.

The legal developments that were discussed during the Roundtable included climate change litigation based on a tort law action in the Netherlands; compensatory claims for recovering loss caused as a result of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine; a Brazilian case of civil liability for labour violations in the supply chain; the use of tort law to obtain compensation for offshore detentions in Australia; the French duty of vigilance law which establishes legally binding human rights obligations of companies enforced through civil liability claims; the emergence of constitutional torts in Bangladesh and India.

Papers presented at the Roundtable will be published as an edited collection by Hart Publishing under the title “Civil Remedies and Human Rights in Flux: Key Legal Developments in Selected Jurisdictions”.