OECD Case Law

Corporate Human Rights Responsibility in the OECD NCP case law

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) from 2022 to 2025, and it analyses the interpretation and illustration of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights through the specific cases handled by the National Contact Points (NCPs) under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The project will examine the OECD case law relating to corporate human rights responsibility to draw a better understanding of the NCPs decisions on meeting the human rights requirements, including the corporate human rights due diligence (HRDD) and access to remedy illustrated under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). In addition, it will investigate the role of NCPs in contribution to the development of the international legal requirements that multinational enterprises are expected to follow to respect human rights in their operations.

The applicable decisions by the NCPs will be critically analysed to focus on how corporate responsibility, HRDD, and the access to remedy are interpreted, how companies are encouraged and what is expected from the companies by the NCPs.  Also within the scope of the project lies the question whether the assessment and analysis of the NCPs on these issues are consistent and coherent with each other. Therefore, a case database will be created to categorise the NCPs’ decisions. We also focus on how different NCPs handle their cases, by looking at different factors, specifically the NCPs’ merits on the investigation and the mediation, their impartiality in decision making, engagement with external actors and experts, and dialogues with the relevant stakeholders.

Project workshop

On the 4th and 5th May 2023, the project organised an academic workshop entitled “Corporate Human Rights Responsibility in OECD Case Law: Actors, Issues, Responsibilities and Remedy”. During the workshop about 20 academics and practitioners discussed their research on corporate human rights responsibility in relation to different issues and different corporate actors. In addition, the workshop shed light on the effectiveness of the OECD National Contact Points and their future development to strengthen corporate responsibility for human rights and the environment.