US SUPREME COURT SET TO REVISIT DECADES-OLD QUESTION: CAN COMPANIES BE HELD LIABLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES COMMITTED OVERSEAS?

On 1 August, an article from Baker McKenzie says that the Alien Tort Statute has been the subject of several US Supreme Court decisions over the past decade. The ATS is a statute that gives US federal courts jurisdiction to hear lawsuits filed by non-US citizens for torts committed in violation of international law. In recent years, plaintiffs have tried to use the ATS as a vehicle to hold multinational corporations liable for human rights violations and labour abuses committed abroad by their subsidiaries, suppliers, and other third-party business partners.  However, cases have established a presumption that the ATS does not apply extraterritorially. But in 2019 a new case challenged precedent by seemingly widening the scope of potential ATS liability, and this case is poised to reach the Supreme Court. The case in question is centred on financial support provided by the defendants to the cocoa farms in Ivory Coast where child labour is said to be used.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/united-states-supreme-court-set-to-revisit-decades-old-question-can-companies-be-held-liable-under-the-ats-for-human-rights-abuses-committed-overseas-27072020/

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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