Draft Final Document

This page will collect the final decisions of the Conference

This conference of organisations with an interest in the activities of Trans-National Corporations (TNCs), namely ….

Recognising that TNCs have as much if not more wealth than half of the nations on earth

Recognising that TNCs have acquired in law corporate personhood, and with it, a number of rights, but few responsibilities beyond that of gaining profit for their shareholders

Resolves

  1. that we shall call for the following changes to English Libel Law

1. Capping libel damages at £10,000 and making an apology the chief remedy;
2. Shifting the burden of proof so claimants have to demonstrate damage;
3. Preventing cases from being heard in London unless 10% of copies of the offending publication are circulated in England;
4. Stopping large and medium-sized companies from being able to launch libel actions unless they can prove malicious falsehood;
5. Making some internet comments exempt as part of efforts to reflect the arrival of the world wide web;
6. Establishing a libel tribunal, along the lines of employment tribunals, as an alternative to expensive full court trials;
7. Reducing the prohibitive cost of defending libel actions by capping base costs and making success fees non-recoverable;
8. Strengthening the public interest defence and expanding the definition of fair comment.
OR
Parliament shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech

Resolves
To press the Council of Europe to secure an amendment to Article 6, to ensure that any party in a civil dispute is able to mount a defence or response, and that effective sanctions are applied to any vexatious or intimidating litigant. This amendment would be brought into English law whether or not the convention was so amended.

Resolves
To press the Council of Europe to revise the European Convention on Human Rights in order to make it clear that the Convention only applies to human beings. An exception would be made in respect of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

To press for a change in English law to rule invalid future reliance on any precedent set by assuming that Corporations are persons.

To amend UK law to prevent courts in the UK from enforcing judgments in US courts which rely on corporations being granted 'Human Rights'.

Resolves

1 To establish in law the Principle that Human Rights (HR) are superior to rights and interests of Private Corporations

2 Make Corporations responsible for subsidiary companies and sub-contractors, making responsibility follow the flow of profit, by requiring them to publish details of "Beneficial Ownership".

3 Ensure that States will guarantee that Human Rights will be applied by TNCs to same standards in third countries as in their base country.

Resolves

To press for the establishment of a new body, a Commission for Business, Human Rights & The Environment in the UK to help guide UK companies towards best practice when operating overseas and prevent harmful impacts to people and the environment.

The Commission should help resolve disputes between companies and those affected by the companies’ activities, promoting solutions when harm had been done. This body would have the remit of reducing violations of environmental and human rights standards related to UK companies’ operations abroad, and help those companies improve their corporate conduct globally.

Key objectives of a UK Commission for Business, Human Rights & The Environment would be to:

  • provide redress for overseas victims of human rights abuses involving UK companies
  • promote appropriate environmental and human rights standards for UK companies operating overseas and promulgate best practice
  • work with other human rights commissions and relevant bodies to share learning and build their collective capacity to strengthen the effectiveness of redress in developing countries.

Resolves
To press for Company Law to be amended so as to make shareholders liable for misdeeds of the company that they invest in.

Shareholders would become liable for losses incurred as a result of human rights abuses or environmental pollution.

Resolves
To press for cap is to be set on donations to political parties, both direct donations and loans and other indirect forms of aid.

Donations of over £5000 to main political party offices must be reported to the Electoral Commission, and donations of over £200 must be recorded, though not reported.
Instead, political parties will be funded by tax-raised subsidies in proportion to their share of the vote.

Resolves
To press for the creation of a new agency, modelled on the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, charged with overseeing, regulating, inspecting and disciplining accounting firms in their roles as auditors of public companies.

Resolves
To press the Foreign Office and those negotiating for the UK on important matters such as TNC law reform and other matters with an important international aspect, to make a pledge to support a particular constructive policy at the start of or during negotiations, the pledge to be implemented as soon as a stated proportion of other negotiating parties give a similar pledge to support that policy.

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