Large corporations contribute to wealth and make an important contribution to economies. At the same time, their business operations and products form a serious threat to the rights of large groups of citizens, be it their right to health, to housing, a minimum wage, occupational safety, privacy, environment, to financial stability or to equality and non-discrimination.
One of the classic avenues that victims can use in holding a corporation to account and to obtain redress for the harms they have suffered is civil litigation. For instance, in the past decades such attempts have been famously pursued against corporations in the tobacco industry, the pharmaceutic industry, the asbestos industry or industries working with asbestos and, more recently, the extractive industries.
However, it is highly difficult for victims whose rights have been violated by corporations to obtain effective redress in a civil procedure. Victims of corporate wrongdoing face multiple serious obstacles when trying to obtain a remedy for the damages they have suffered as a result of corporate misconduct. To date, a rich and still emerging and important body of scholarly literature and policy documents exist that focus on the extent to which institutional factors, such as regulatory gaps, the rules of civil procedure, the content of liability law, the role of courts, or the legal aid system, form an obstacle to victims of who seek justice by holding corporations to account …
van Domselaar, Iris and De Bock, Ruth, The Case of David vs Goliath. On Legal Ethics and Corporate Lawyering in Large Scale Civil Liability Cases (February 3, 2022).