Post-Doc Spotlight: Rachel Chambers


 HRI Post-Doctoral Researcher Spotlight: Rachel Chambers

HRI is excited to spotlight the work of our Post-Doctoral Researcher Rachel Chambers.

Rachel received her doctorate from the University of Essex in the UK. Her PhD is on control and oversight over cross border activities from companies’ home states through two extraterritorial techniques: civil litigation and regulatory mechanisms. Her research evaluates these techniques through an analysis of the dilemmas which are associated with each. Alongside her doctoral research, she taught as an adjunct professor at SOAS, University of London, convening the course ‘Multinational Enterprises in a Globalising World – Legal Aspects’.

You can also read Dr. Chambers’ interview with UConn School of Business HERE.

Read on to learn more about Dr. Chambers’ current research projects.


 

My research focuses on the use of corporate accountability mechanisms for ensuring that businesses respect human rights.

One of my major research streams focuses on civil litigation as a tool for corporate accountability. My most recent publication (Transnational Corporations and Human Rights: Overcoming Barriers to Judicial Remedy, published by Oxford University Press in 2020) completed a manuscript that was started by Prof. Gwynne Skinner. Together, we analyzed the varied legal hurdles that victims of business-related human rights violations face in seeking remedies through the civil litigation process. Continuing this work, I have a forthcoming article in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law on “Parent Company Direct Liability for Overseas Human Rights Violations: Lessons from the UK Supreme Court.”

My second major research stream focuses on state and non-state-based accountability mechanisms. In an article that was recently accepted for publication by the Chicago Journal of International Law, my co-author and I consider an expanded role for the state in providing regulatory oversight over current legislative approaches focused on human rights disclosure and due diligence, such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act.

 

My research this summer coalesced around these themes.

  • a small grant-funded project. A coalition of leading U.K. NGOs is campaigning for a U.K. law mandating that companies conduct human rights due diligence and holding companies legally accountable for their failure to prevent human rights abuses and environmental damage in their direct operations and global supply chains. With my project partner, law firm Kingsley Napley, I was selected to conduct the research and write a report on how a regulator could monitor and enforce this law.
  • an advanced draft of a paper that I am writing with Prof. Berger-Walliser, from the Business School. The subject, the future of international corporate human rights litigation: a transatlantic comparison, draws on newly enacted due diligence laws like the proposed UK law in its discussion of litigation trends. The paper was selected for the American Business Law Journal Invited Scholars Colloquium in July 2020.
  • a paper for a multi-jurisdictional project on civil liability for human rights violations at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, University of Oxford, focusing on the United States as a forum for this litigation. This paper considers the legal options for human rights victims seeking civil remedy in the U.S. since the Supreme Court curtailed use of the Alien Tort Statute.

Also this summer, in my capacity as Governance Committee member and Webinar Series Co-Chair for the Teaching Business and Human Rights Forum, I have organized a series of webinars on current topics for BHR teachers. In June, I moderated one of these webinars, entitled: Applying a Business and Human Rights Lens to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Business Responses and Teaching Approaches.