What Are Non-Judicial Redress Mechanisms?
We adopt a broad definition of non-judicial redress mechanisms, namely, those that lie in the space between voluntary and legally binding mechanisms. Typically this means that:
- They are mandated to receive complaints and help resolve disputes, but are not empowered to produce binding adjudications.
- They enable claims to be pursued via rules and procedures that are more formalized than those applying when claims are pursued via political campaigns or voluntary business provided redress mechanisms, but less formalized than judicial rules and procedures.
- They therefore go beyond corporate self-regulation but stop short of legal regulation.
- Examples include: grievance or complaint mechanisms within multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Ethical Trading Initiative, Fair Labor Association, or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO); mechanisms provided by home country government agencies, such as OECD National Contact Points (NCPs) or safeguard policies of Export Credit Agencies; mechanisms associated with projects financed by international finance institutions, such as the International Finance Corporation Compliance-Advisor-Ombudsman (IFC-CAO) or Asian Development Bank Accountability Mechanism.
This focus reflects several considerations:
- Compared with political campaigns, voluntary business schemes and formal legal mechanisms, non-judicial mechanisms are under-researched and poorly understood
- Non-judicial mechanisms (such as CORE’s proposed Commission) form the focus of several partners’ planned advocacy and policy work.
Although our primary focus of analysis s on this category of non-judicial redress mechanisms, this does not imply an exclusive empirical focus on non-judicial systems. In order to understand how non-judicial redress mechanisms work, it is important to examine their interactions with both voluntary and legal mechanisms of regulation and redress. Our empirical research will therefore encompass examination of voluntary and legal systems, to the extent that they interact with non-judicial mechanisms in the case studies we examine.