Responsibility Rising from the Rubble

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UNSW Law, Staff Common Room, Level 2

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Responsibility Rising from the Rubble: How the Bangladesh Accord Arbitrations Mark a Turning Point for Business and Human Rights Disputes

Five years ago, the Rana Plaza factory disaster killed more than 1100 people, injured 2500 and brought the world’s attention to poor work conditions in the garment industry in Bangladesh.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, representatives of trade unions, government, NGOs and the fashion industry drew up a ground-breaking agreement – the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh – signed by more than 200 international fashion brands.

The novel Bangladesh Accord established a sector-wide approach to safety and contained a legally binding arbitration clause, which was the basis for two cases brought to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) last year.

As the PCA lawyer assisting the tribunals in those cases, Judith Levine will share insights into how the cases unfolded and how arbitration is gaining traction as a potential route to remedy for business and human rights violations across a range of industries.

About our guest:

Judith Levine is Senior Legal Counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, an intergovernmental organisation which facilitates the resolution of disputes involving states, private parties and international organisations.

Recently Judith served as the Registrar in the South China Sea arbitration and she has assisted tribunals in some of the world’s largest and most complex investor-state and contract cases.

Judith has represented the PCA at UN climate change conferences and in 2011-2012 was the PCA Representative in Mauritius.

Prior to joining the PCA in 2008, Judith’s overseas experience included 5 years as an attorney in the international arbitration group of White & Case LLP in New York and a one-year clerkship at the International Court of Justice.

In Australia she served as an associate at the High Court and assistant adviser to the Commonwealth Attorney-General.

Judith has lectured in contract law at UNSW Sydney, climate law at King’s College London, and is currently a visiting fellow at the Sydney University Centre for International Law.

Judith has served as arbitrator in commercial disputes and is a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Judith is a graduate of UNSW Law (with University Medal) and NYU School of Law (Fulbright & Hauser Scholar).

**BYO Lunch**

Photo credit: Terri Bleeker/Unsplash

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