Dr Virginie Rouas wins 1st IALS PhD Thesis Book Prize

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is delighted to announce the winner of the first IALS PhD Thesis Book Prize competition. The prize of a publishing contract with the IALS Open Book Service for Law has been awarded by the Editorial Board and Judging panel to Dr Virginie Rouas for her work:

In Search of Corporate Accountability: Transnational Litigation against Multinational Enterprises in France and the Netherlands

Virginie undertook her doctorate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is currently developing a book based on her PhD thesis (SOAS, 2017) for publication by IALS in 2020. The book is provisionally entitled ‘Achieving Access to Justice in the Business and Human Rights Context: An Assessment of Litigation and Regulatory Responses in Europe.’ 

Virginie is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at SOAS. She also works as a Legal Advisor for Milieu, a multi-disciplinary consultancy based in Brussels providing legal and policy services for the European Union institutions and other international organisations. Her research interests focus on access to justice, business and human rights, environmental law, and European policies.

Dr Virginie Rouas

Many congratulations to Virginie. We look forward to working with her on this exciting new publication.

Synopsis: Over the last decades, multinational enterprises (MNEs) have emerged as the main actors of economic globalization. MNEs can contribute to economic prosperity and social development in the countries where they operate. At the same time, their activities may directly or indirectly cause harm to humans and to the environment. However, MNEs are rarely held liable for their involvement in human rights abuses and environmental damage. In recent years, activists have attempted to challenge corporate impunity by introducing innovative claims seeking to hold parent companies directly liable for acts committed by their subsidiaries operating abroad. They have also strategically used this type of litigation to trigger corporate accountability reforms at international, regional, and national levels. Using national litigation experiences as a starting point, and focusing on the European region, this book asks the following questions: how effective has litigation against MNEs been to achieve access to justice and corporate accountability in Europe? Furthermore, how will ongoing regulatory developments, both legal and policy, affect access to justice and corporate accountability in the future? To answer these questions, this book first describes the wider global, social, and legal context in which demands for access to justice and corporate accountability have emerged, especially in Europe. It then compares civil and criminal cases in European countries, in particular France and the Netherlands, and identifies relevant achievements and common challenges. Furthermore, this book analyses how recent international, regional, and national regulatory developments may contribute to the realization of access to justice and corporate accountability in Europe in the future. Ultimately, this book provides a fresh perspective on the interplay between access to justice and business and human rights, a growing area of international human rights law, in Europe.