Anita Ramasastry

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

Contact

Phone: (206) 616-8441
Email: arama@uw.edu

Anita Ramasastry

Education

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 579 Law and Sustainable International Development
LAW B 587 Sustainable Business Law
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. She also serves a Senior Advisor for Global Faculty engagement to the University’s Office of Global Affairs.

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. 

She currently serves as  a member 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 and she previously served as its chair in 2020. In 2021, Ramasastry also was appointed as the Special Representative on Combatting Corruption at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).   Ramasastry is 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 Transparency International,  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. In 2019, she served as a commissioner on the Lichtenstein Initiative Commission on Finance against Slavery and Trafficking.

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, "Human Rights At Home—the Relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Washington State and the United States", 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Washington State Bar Association (January 26, 2024)
  • Panelist, "Catalyzing Change: Political Will in Fighting Corruption", with Sasun Khachatryan, Ralf Ernst, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in conjunction with Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, (December 11, 2023)
  • Moderator, "Improving the Asset Recovery Mechanisms in the South-Eastern Europe: Positive Stories and Lessons Learned", with Boban Misoski, Eldan Mujanovic, Juliana Hoxha, Jill Thomas, OSCE Chairpersonship Regional Conference on Combating Corruption, Money Laundering, and Facilitating Asset Recovery Efforts in South-Eastern Europe, CiO Regional Conference on Combating Corruption (October 31, 2023)
  • Moderator, "Use of Open Data and the Role of the Civil Society in Preventing Corruption in South-East Europe", with Aleksanadar Kržalovski, Denis Džidic, Miša Bojovic, OSCE Chairpersonship Regional Conference on Combating Corruption, Money Laundering, and Facilitating Asset Recovery Efforts in South-Eastern Europe, CiO Regional Conference on Combating Corruption (October 31, 2023)
  • Panelist, Thematic Discussion on the Role of Industry with Eunjoo Lee, Aureliana Neascu, Spencer Chilvers, Ronald Thomason, The Ninth Conference of States Parties (CSP9) to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), United Nations (August 21, 2023)
  • Keynote, Due Diligence Legislation — Achieving Impact, European Parliament (June 8, 2023)
  • Panelist, Special Session — FIFA World Cup 2026 Host Cities: Promise of a Positive Legacy of Human Rights with Ann Cody, Mary Harvey, Cities of the Americas Summit, Centre for Sport and Human Rights, and the U.S. Department of State (April 27, 2023)
  • Panelist, International Law and Principles of Sustainable Business with Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Romesh Weeramantry, Gareth Hughes, Webinar, Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore (November 2, 2021)
  • 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 Rights 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)