The lecture was delivered by Hon. Ian Binnie C.C., Q.C., Counsel at Lenczner Slaght, Toronto and former Justice at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Globalization has generated many positive legal developments in areas other than human rights. Developing country victims have little access to justice. There are few available international bodies of criminal jurisdiction, keeping in mind that the slow-moving International Criminal Court does not take jurisdiction over corporations that are interested in holding delinquent corporations or their rogue subsidiaries, accountable. The delinquents may be in a minority, but they do a lot of damage.In terms of civil remedies, the national courts of both the home country of such rogue corporations as well as the “host” country where operations actually occur, not to mention the string of jurisdictions and corporate entities in between, have largely abdicated responsibility.
In this very pragmatic and realistic lecture, Hon. Ian Binnie reviewed issues of jurisdiction, forum non conveniens, corporate structures, litigation costs and theories of liability adopted for different purposes in different eras. He noted how these theories usually drive developing country victims from the seat of judgment. Responsible multinationals may have adopted grievance mechanisms of greater or lesser effectiveness, but the rogue corporations have not. Faute de mieux, Hon. Ian Binnie argued that the arbitral structure used in international commercial or investor and trade disputes should be capable of adaptation to business and human rights, if a host of potential problems are addressed.