In this article, I critically review the economic theory of corporate liability design, focusing on the allocation of liability between a corporation and its individual human agents. I apply this theory to transnational commercial contexts where human rights abuses occur and assess the likely efficacy of some putative liability regimes, including regimes requiring corporations to undertake human rights due diligence throughout their global supply chains. I advance a set of general considerations justifying the efficacy of due diligence in relation to alternative liability regimes. I argue, however, that due diligence regimes will likely under-deter severe human rights abuses unless they are supported by substantial entity-level sanctions and, in at least some cases, by supplementary liability for individual executives. The analysis has significant policy implications for current national and international efforts to enforce human rights norms against corporations.
Nick Friedman, Corporate Liability Design for Human Rights Abuses: Individual and Entity Liability for Due Diligence, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Volume 41, Issue 2, Summer 2021, Pages 289–320, https://doi.org/10.1093/ojls/gqaa052.