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Recently, a landmark United Kingdom case has made it clear that U.K.-based parent companies may be found liable for human rights violations committed by their foreign subsidiaries. Plaintiffs all over the world are filing lawsuits seeking to hold parent companies responsible for the extraterritorial conduct of their subsidiaries. The U.K. courts have determined that such lawsuits may be filed in the U.K. courts against U.K. parent companies. Cases on this issue are pending in United States and Canadian courts. The outcome of these cases have high-stakes consequences, which companies and their in-house counsel must begin to anticipate—they could open the door to an increasing number of lawsuits filed against companies for alleged failure to comply with human rights standards at all levels of the corporate structure.

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