Access to Justice : human rights abuses involving corporations in China

Issue: Business and Human Rights
Document Type: Thematic Report
Date: 2010

This study examines how the Chinese legal order can both limit and aid access to justice for victims of corporate human rights abuses.

Although the Chinese legal system has established liability for corporations, in regard to the legal remedies available, claimants face a number of obstacles preventing them from obtaining fair, timely and effective adjudication of their claims. Case studies relating to mining, internet censorship and contaminated food products provide palpable illustrations of these obstacles, evidencing that the legal and political reforms in China are lagging behind the economic and market reforms. Judges lack independence to adjudicate, especially in politically sensitive cases, and the legal profession faces severe limitations. Class action and public interest litigation remain undeveloped, the availability of legal aid is limited, and the law concerning the piercing of the corporate veil has not yet been tested in a human rights case. These factors together make victims’ search for justice a daunting task. The study concludes by offering recommendations to improve access to justice in China for victims of human rights abuse by corporations.

China-access justice-publication-2010 (full text in English, PDF)

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