Establishing liability for multinational corporations: lessons from Akpan

Lee McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


This article aims to explore the central challenges that preclude the attribution of liability to multinational corporations (MNCs) through a contextual analysis of the recent Akpan ruling of the District Court of The Hague. It considers the lack of direct regulation for multinationals at the international level and explores the procedural/substantive hurdles which pervade in the domestic systems of “host” and “home” States, in an exposition of the overall deficit in protection. The article employs a case-based approach, utilising the judgement of a recent Dutch case concerning environmental damage in Nigeria as a vehicle to discuss parent/subsidiary liability. The article demonstrates the procedural impediments that arise in the domestic forums of developing countries, as well as the jurisdictional challenges presented by corporate structures which preclude home State protection. Absent effective international regulation, this paper demonstrates that continued emphasis on State responsibility, particularly in developing countries, is unworkable. The article provides a fresh illustration of the challenges to the regulation of MNCs in the light of recent case law. It contributes to an evolving literature on the wider topic of non-State actor regulation, which continues to generate significant academic debate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-104
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


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