Dr Ekaterina Aristova is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Human Rights and Practice at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights. Her main research interests are in the field of business and human rights. She completed PhD at the University of Cambridge on the access to justice for victims of business-related human rights violations in the UK. She also holds law degrees from the Perm State University and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. In the last few years, Ekaterina served as a consultant on several research projects that have sought to strengthen corporate accountability for human rights violations, including for the United Nations. Prior to commencing her academic career, Ekaterina practiced corporate law specialising on all aspects of M&A transactions. She completed a training contract in White & Case’s Moscow office before spending seven years as a senior in-house lawyer at two leading Russian investment companies.

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Ekaterina’s research focuses on the evolving field of business and human rights. She looks at how corporations can be held accountable for the negative impacts of their business operations using international, domestic and transnational legal instruments.  

Ekaterina is the author of Liability of Transnational Corporations: Theory and Practice, the first Russian book to analyse various problems surrounding corporate accountability for human rights violations. This project involved a comparative survey of legal regimes in a number of jurisdictions (Australia, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) identifying how corporate and tort law doctrines (piercing the corporate veil, enterprise liability and duty of care) can be utilised to frame the civil liability of parent companies for human rights violations arising from the operations of their subsidiaries.

Ekaterina’s PhD thesis looked at the emerging trend of private negligence claims brought against parent companies in the courts of Western states alleging liability in tort for human rights violations caused by overseas subsidiaries, contractors and suppliers. In particular, she considered how the tort law doctrine of duty of care has been used creatively by claimants and their lawyers to impose direct liability on English-domiciled parent companies for damages sustained by individuals and local communities from the operations of foreign subsidiaries abroad (e.g. Lungowe v Vedanta Resources, Okpabi v Shell, AAA v Unilever). She argued that it is normatively appropriate for the English courts to assert jurisdiction over English-domiciled parent companies and their foreign subsidiaries as co-defendants where the subsidiaries’ operations have had negative human rights impacts overseas. In addition, she suggested proposals for how the law and practice of English courts on the issue of jurisdiction for tort litigation against transnational corporations can be further improved.

Ekaterina’s current work at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights is on the limits of civil liability of corporations for gross human rights violations and the legislative trend towards mandatory human rights due diligence.

Research projects