Awarded best paper at the Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference 2013.
This paper critically discusses corporate claims to human rights. Before such a discussion may be commenced, the particular concepts of human rights and the company used must be identified: here a scheme of universal human rights founded on respect for inherent human dignity and the contractual theory for the company are used. These concepts, which emphasise the ultimate importance of human beings and human interests, are outlined and compared with competing theories. Practical examples of corporate human rights claims are adduced to demonstrate their incompatibility with the dignity-based scheme of human rights, which only admits humans into its ambit. The paper concludes by commending the exclusion of companies from human rights Acts enacted in Australia, and argues that the corporate rights affirmed by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 should be narrowly interpreted.
Barrett, J. (2013). Do companies dream of juristic sheep? Corporate claims to human rights: A humanist approach. Proceedings of the Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference. Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.