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December 5, 2013

Oregon Law joins in nationwide human rights project

The University of Oregon School of Law and other law schools around the country are partnering with the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and EarthRights International on a nationwide project to research state laws and propose recommendations for legal reform around corporate accountability in their respective states.

The project was in part created in response to the Supreme Court decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. The court concluded that human rights cases can only be brought in U.S. federal court under the Alien Tort Statute so long as the actions concerned the U.S. Though this moved some cases forward in federal court, the court left an insufficient explanation of what this test means or how other courts should apply it.

Professors Michelle McKinley and Michael Fakhri are supervising the Oregon Law portion of the project.

"As soon as we heard about the ICAR project, we realized how important it was," noted Professor McKinley. "It also provides students with a hands-on opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to critical issues in transnational litigation."

ICAR is a combination of human rights, environmental, labor, and development organizations that create, promote and defend legal frameworks to ensure corporations respect human rights in their global operations. Similarly, EarthRights International is a non-profit organization specializing in legal actions against perpetrators of human rights and environmental abuses. Together, along with the law schools, they will provide research support for human rights cases at the state level. Students will also examine their state law and propose recommendations of how the law could be improved to better protect human rights victims.

Schools currently involved in the project include: University of Oregon School of Law, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, New England Law | Boston, Santa Clara Law, UCLA School of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, and Western New England University School of Law.

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