From soft law to hard law in business and human rights and the challenge of corporate power

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Joseph, Sarah
Kyriakakis, Joanna
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2023
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Abstract

We introduce this symposium of articles by explaining the notions of hard and soft law, and reviewing UN developments on business and human rights in this light. We move to a more detailed discussion of existing hard law, particularly the state duty to protect, before examining examples of fulfilment of that duty via the domestication (especially the judicialization) of human rights norms for business. We also note the many pitfalls in contemporary approaches, before examining how the proposed legally binding instrument might address those pitfalls. We conclude with commentary on how soft and hard norms to date have failed to grapple with corporate power, the issue which animates the need for a business human rights debate in the first place, before introducing the articles to follow.

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Leiden Journal of International Law
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© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law in association with the Grotius Centre for International Law, Leiden University. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.
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International and comparative law
Law in context
Public law
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Joseph, S; Kyriakakis, J, From soft law to hard law in business and human rights and the challenge of corporate power, Leiden Journal of International Law, 2023, pp. 1-27
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