Anita Ramasastry

  • Henry M. Jackson Endowed Professor of Law
  • Director, Sustainable International Development Graduate Program
  • Faculty Director, International, Comparative and Transnational Programs
  • Professor of Law


Phone: (206) 616-8441

Anita Ramasastry


B.A. 1988, J.D. 1992, Harvard University M.A. 1990, University of Sydney

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Expertise

Banking Law — Comparative Law — Human Rights — International Business and Trade Law — International Law

Recent Courses

LAW A 501 Contracts
LAW A 515 Business Organizations
LAW B 508 Business, Social Responsibility and Human Rights
LAW B 552 Tutorial In Comparative Law
LAW B 578 Legal Problems Of Economic Development Seminar
LAW B 579 Law and Development: History and Theories
LAW B 582 International Development Practicum
LAW B 588 Leadership in Sustainable Development Colloquium

Anita Ramasastry is the Henry M. Jackson Professor of Law and the Director of the Sustainable International Development Graduate Program at the University of Washington School of Law. She is an expert in the fields of anti-corruption, commercial law, sustainable development and business and human rights. She is one of the leading academics and a pioneer in the field of business and human rights.

Ramasastry’s scholarship has been cited in two major Supreme Court decisions in the United States focused on the issue of corporate accountability for transnational human rights abuses. She has authored numerous expert studies including the groundbreaking, Commerce Crime and Conflict study, which examined civil and criminal  business liability for human rights violations in 16 jurisdictions. More recently, Ramasastry chaired an expert panel of jurists to develop the Corporate Crime Principles, focused on when States should investigate and prosecute cross  border corporate  crimes having significant human rights impacts.  In 2019, she served as a commissioner on the Lichtenstein Initiative Commission on Finance against Slavery and Trafficking.

She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, having been appointed as a rapporteur by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2016. Ramasastry is also a founding co-editor in chief of the Business and Human Rights Journal, published by Cambridge University Press. She is the  Co-President of the Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association and launched its annual research scholars forum.

From 2017-2019, Ramasastry served as president of the Uniform Law Commission, the 127-year old organization comprised of lawyers from the 50 States that work to harmonize the laws where uniform is desirable.  She was previously Chair of its Executive Committee and is an appointed Commissioner from Washington State.

As of 2019, Ramasastry is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Transparency and Anti-Corruption. She served a member of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Human Rights from 2012--2016. Ramasastry sits on the advisory boards of the Institute of Human Rights and Business, and Global Witness. She also sits on Export Development Canada’s CSR Advisory Committee and is a member of the Port of Seattle’s Ethics Committee. In the past she has advised and worked with development organizations including the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Commission, the Commercial Law Development Program of the US Department of Commerce and USAID.

From 2009 to 2012, Ramasastry served as a senior advisor in the International Trade Administration of the US Department of Commerce, working under the leadership of then Secretary Gary Locke. She directed the ITA's anti-corruption and trade efforts, and helped to launch new initiatives with the G20, APEC and the OSCE. She developed a new anti-corruption and business and human rights curriculum for US trade officers in embassies worldwide. 

In 1998-99, she served as a special attorney and advisor to a special claims resolution tribunal in Zurich, Switzerland, established to resolve claims to World War II-era bank accounts. She has been a visiting professor and Atlantic Fellow in Public Policy at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary Westfield College, and University of London and has been a recurrent visiting professor at the National University of Ireland in Galway and the Central European University in Budapest.

She has served as a staff attorney at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, an associate attorney at the international law firm of White & Case in Budapest, Hungary, and assistant professor of law at the Central European University in Budapest. She was the symposium editor for the Harvard International Law Journal and has clerked for Justice Alan B. Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Ramasastry has been recognized by the students as the Philip A. Trautman Professor of the Year  on numerous occasions. In 1998, she received the UW Distinguished Teaching Award during her second year of teaching, and in 2002, she received the UW Outstanding Public Service Award for her work focused on domestic violence.

Peer Reviewed Journals & Law Reviews

Books or Treatises

Book Chapters

Professional Publications

  • Speaker, "Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Defenders in the context of Business Activities", Human Rights Council Side Event (Hybrid), Indigenous People's Rights International and International Wirk Group for Indigenous Affairs (September 29, 2021)
  • Panelist, A WTO Reform Agenda in Support of Decent Work and Just Development, with Sharan Burrow, Richard Kozul-Wright, Public Forum 2021: Trade Beyond Covid 19- Building Resilience (Hybrid), World Trade Organization (September 28, 2021)
  • Panelist, Panel on New and Emerging Technologies: Private Sector Responsibilities to Promote Human Dignity Online, 76th Session of United Nations General Assembly (Virtual), Access Now (September 22, 2021)
  • Moderator, "Civics 101: The Judicial System", with Chief Justice Steven González, Caesar Kalinowski, Michelle Saperstein, Dean Lum, Book Club (Virtual), University of Washington Alumni Association (September 16, 2021)
  • Panelist, "Observance and Promotion of Human Rghts by Companies: Expectations and Best Practices", with Andreas Bohrer, Danièle Gosteli, Antonio Hautle, Business and Human Rights Forum (Hybrid), Swiss Forum (September 14, 2021)
  • Panelist, "The Board’s Role in Preventing Financial Crime", Deloitte Global Webinar (Virtual), (May 12, 2021)
  • Keynote, Status and Perspectives on Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence Legislation in the Nordics Conference (Virtual), The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DanChurchAid, the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Nordic Business Network for Human Rights (March 25, 2021)
  • Panelist, "Dialogue on the Evolution and Challenges of Voluntary Principles at a Global Level", Implementation of Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (Virtual), Mining Energy Committee on Security and Human Rights - CME, and the Canadian Embassy in Columbia (March 24, 2021)
  • Panelist, Human Rights Due Diligence in the Time of COVID-19 Economist Magazine's Sustainability Week (Virtual), (March 24, 2021)
  • Moderator, "Publishing Cross-Disciplinary Business and Human Rights Articles: Tips for Successfully Navigating the Submission and Review Process for Different Types of Scholarly Journals.", (Virtual Panel), The Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association (February 22, 2021)
  • Speaker, "Business and Human Rights: Towards a Decade of Global Implementation", Implementing Human Rights Due Diligence in Global Supply Chains, University of Geneva, Geneva Center for Business and Human Rights, the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (December 10, 2020)
  • Panelist, "Resolutions and Remedies: From Litigation to Ombudsman and International Human Rights", Human Rights Day (Virtual), International Bar Association (December 10, 2020)
  • Speaker, "Opening Remarks", The Life and Adventures of Ruggie Principles: A Snapshot of Business and Human Rights Practices in Indonesia (Virtual), ELSAM, HRWG, Summit Watch (November 23, 2020)
  • Keynote, "10 Years UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights — Vision and Ambition for National Actions Plans", Global Supply Chains Conference (virtual event), German Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and German Institute of Human Rights (October 7, 2020)
  • Panelist, "Diversity at the Workplace and Beyond: What Now Needs to Happen?", 12th Annual Engaging Business Forum (virtual), Coca Cola Company, International Organization of Employers, U.S. Council for International Business, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce (October 7, 2020)