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International arbitration holds great promise as a method to be used to resolve human rights disputes involving business. These disputes often occur in regions where national courts are dysfunctional, corrupt, politically influenced and/or simply unqualified. Parties to such disputes, generally multinational business enterprises (MNEs) and the victims of human rights abuse linked to MNEs, are in need of a private system that can function in these regions. Arbitration also has certain unique attributes that could serve the parties well even where fair and competent courts are available. In addition, arbitration can serve a useful tool to assist MNEs to prevent abuse from occurring in their supply chains and development projects.
The rules in use today for international arbitration were written without a focus on the special requirements of human rights disputes. Hence, changes are needed to ensure that, among other things, there is greater transparency of proceedings and awards, that numerous victims are able to aggregate their claims and that the arbitrators chosen are prominent experts in business and human rights matters.
To this end, this project is aimed at the creation of an international private judicial dispute resolution avenue available to parties involved in business and human rights issues as claimants and defendants. The development of the The Hague Rules could contribute the judicial remedy gap in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
The The Hague Rules are expected to be formally agreed upon in conjunction with the Annual June meeting of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council mid-2019. The launch of the The Hague Rules are scheduled to be launched in connection with the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights 2019.
The Working Group serves as the overarching body to design, monitor and hence effectuate the process towards the successful development of the The Hague Rules and to arrange for the promotion of the use of arbitration, raising awareness and interest of relevant parties and serving as information and communication body for all relevant stakeholders.
The Working Group has created an international network of interested parties ranging from possible users, experts in human rights and arbitration, arbitral institutions, academics and relevant national and international governmental organisations. Moreover, the Working Group has engaged in the development of contract clauses providing for the use of business and human rights (BHR) Arbitration in supply chain contracts (the Cronstedt-clauses). The Working Group also supports the work of the Drafting Team.
The Drafting Team has been created to draft the The Hague Rules for use by parties in the context of Arbitration Institutions or ad hoc. The Drafting Team has been set up such, that the relevant expertise engaged from the major regions in the world is represented. The Drafting Team is chaired by Prof. Bruno Simma (former Judge at the International Court of Justice and currently Judge in the US – Iran Claims Tribunal and PCA- and ISDS-arbitrator).
The drafting of the The Hague Rules will be organized in close consultation with the various stakeholder communities including the NGO’s on behalf of the victims, the business community, the arbitrators and arbitration institutions, human rights lawyers, academics and national and international governmental organisations.
To be established
- The Hague Rules // Elements Paper on Business and Human Rights Arbitration 22 November 2018Contribute and provide input towards drafting The Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration
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