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.