Multinational corporations; liability; social movements; cause lawyering/strategic litigation; responsibility
Eckert Julia, KnöpfelLaura (2020), Legal responsibility in an entangled world, in Journal of Legal AnthropologyJournal of Legal Anthropology
, 4(2), 1-16.
Affolter Laura (2020), The Responsibility to Prevent Future Harm: Anti-Mining Struggles, the State, and Constitutional Lawsuits in Ecuador, in Journal of Legal Anthropology
, 4(2), 78-99.
Lindt Angela (2020), Transnational Human Rights Litigation: A Means of Obtaining Effective Remedy Abroad?, in Journal of Legal Anthropology
, 4(2), 57-77.
Dann Philipp, Eckert Julia (2020), Norm Creation beyond the State, in Goodale Mark, Foblets Marie-Claire, Zenker Olaf, Sapignoli Maria (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
EckertJulia (2020), Beihilfe – mittelbare Verantwortung in einer verflochtenen Welt, in Seibert-Fohr Anja (ed.), Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 73-89.
LindtAngela (2019), Mit Recht zu Gerechtigkeit: Rechtsmobilisierung in Perus Bergbaukonflikten, in TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association
, 24, 99-104.
Eckert Julia (2019), The morals of liability: some thoughts on “Humanitarians in court”, in The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
, 50(3), 375-378.
1.SummaryNegative impacts on the environment and on the livelihood of local populations caused by transnational corporations (TNCs) operating in the so-called Global South have become a politically contested issue. Holding the companies involved or their employees legally liable has often been difficult because of jurisdictional or governance obstacles. Regardless the difficult legal situation, there are worldwide growing attempts to bring TNCs to court for violations of human rights or for serious environmental damages. By referring to a transnational discourse of human rights and by using international narratives of law and justice, local protest groups make use of law as an instrument to legitimize their claims and to gain international support for their struggles. In most of the court cases social movements, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and transnational networks of human rights lawyers play a major role. These networks often include not only European cause lawyers and the concerned plaintiffs in the operation area of the defendant TNC, but also link plaintiff groups, local NGOs and lawyers of independent court cases in different countries. A considerable gap in research exists concerning how advocacy organisations and local plaintiffs influence each other with respect to normative evaluation, political goals and litigation strategies. The project “Law in Protest: Transnational Struggles for Corporate Liability” enquires into these changes, examining the normative change born from these litigation processes both among local plaintiffs and in the legal norms adopted to litigate against TNCs. Our project assumes that lawsuits and the practices of “case-making” are social processes that, on the one hand, reflect existing power relations between actors involved, but, on the other hand, provide space for negotiations about norms, interpretations and goals. By conducting empirical ethnographic research on the work of lawyers and human rights activists in different settings and places, the overarching aim of the project is to find out whether the strategic application of national law leads to normative - legal as well as social - change. We content that by a) enquiring into the evolving strategies of local plaintiffs using national laws against TNCs, b) the strategic litigation of cause lawyering by transnational legal NGOs, and c) the relationships between these different actors involved in the court cases we can gain insights into the normative changes occurring at these different levels. We will analyse the practice of strategic litigation applied by cause lawyers in Germany and the United Kingdom (subproject A) as well as by social movements and local NGOs in Peru (subproject B). We investigate how local protest movements and international law firms introduce transnational discourses of human rights and social justice into individual national court cases with the intent to enforce social and political change on the local level. By studying these transnational human rights networks in the field of corporate liability, the project deals with a key issue of contemporary social anthropology.