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 B 508 Business, Social Responsibility and Human Rights
LAW B 552 Tutorial In Comparative Law
LAW B 579 Law and Development: History and Theories
LAW B 582 International Development Practicum
LAW B 588 Leadership in Sustainable Development Colloquium
LAW E 512 Rule of Law
LAW E 513 Theories and Tools for Combatting Corruption

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 work 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 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 the 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. She 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, "Can a Treaty Tame Transnational Corporations", Global Mondays, University of Washington School of Law (January 14, 2019)
  • Chair and presenter, "Identifying and Tackling Key Challenges to Holding Corporate Actors Criminally Accountable", Expert Workshop with Select Legal Experts on the Investigation and Prosecution of Corporate Crime, Amnesty International and International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (May 18, 2016)
  • Speaker, "Treaties That Regulate Transnational Business Activity: A Critical Appraisal", American Society for International Law, Business and Human Rights Roundtable (March 29, 2016)
  • Speaker, "Shared Responsibility in Supply Chains: A New Paradigm?", 29th Annual Cypriote Law Center Symposium, University of Cincinnati College of Law (March 18, 2016)
  • Panelist, "State-Based Mechanisms for Access to Remedy", Fourth Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights, United Nations (November 16, 2015)
  • Panelist, "Corporate Capture and Company Ownership Transparency", Fourth Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights, United Nations (November 1, 2015)
  • Speaker, "Is There a Right to Be Free from Corruption?", Installation Ceremony for Anita Ramasastry as the UW Law Foundation Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law (May 1, 2014)
  • Invited lecturer, Faculty Development Seminar on Challenges of Globalization and the Rule of Law in Comparative Perspective, University of Yangon Faculty of Law (November 25, 2013)
  • Expert, Roundtable on Issues of Corporate Accountability for Gross Human Rights Abuses, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (November 1, 2013)
  • Speaker, Human Trafficking Symposium, Oregon State Bar Association (October 15, 2013)
  • Invited participant, Roundtable on ICT and Human Rights, World Economic Forum (June 1, 2013)
  • Moderator, Inclusive Development in Burma — What Are the Legal Challenges?, University of Washington School of Law, Asian Law Center (May 13, 2013)
  • Speaker, The U.S. Government's Approach to Business and Human Rights Civil Society Consultation for US Country Visit, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Working Group on Business and Human Rights and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (April 23, 2013)
  • Panelist, "Disclosure in Speech", 2013 Symposium: The Disclosure Crisis, Washington Law Review (February 28, 2013)
  • Panelist, "Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights Sector Guidance", Information and Communication Technology Sector Roundtable, ICT Sector Roundtable (January 31, 2013)