Due Diligence – MNCs and Human Labor Chains - Remedies: Soft Law and Hard Law

Brown, Ronald C.
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This paper discusses the appropriateness of making due diligence a binding obligation for human rights and labor rights. It examines the evolution of traditional soft law into hard law, with recent domestic legislation imposing civil liability for failure, and discusses “due diligence” standards, processes, and remedies. It evaluates whether non-binding due diligence without the potential for legally enforceable “domestic hard law” remedies is adequate and concludes with a call for exploring obligations of legally binding due diligence with flexible remedies. This would make Multinational Corporations (MNCs) responsible for results that provide protection of the labor standards of the global labor supply workers. The author concludes and proposes that while all the current approaches, such as soft law, dialogue, transparency laws, reforms to improve labor protection laws and enforcement, should proceed expeditiously, the most effective remedy is for governments to legislatively mandate an expanded due diligence requirement and, as in recent French legislation, provide liability with enforceable remedies for failure to comply.
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