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

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

  • Keynote, "Business and Human Rights as the Backbone of Sustainable Development and Resilient Recovery", Session on The Future of Business and Human Rights for People, Planet and Peace, United Nations Development Program 2020 Annual Meeting: The Future We Want to See - the Rule of Law and Human Rights - Securing the Social Contract (June 30, 2020)
  • Panelist, "Responsible Business Conduct in the 21st Century – Integrating Agendas for Greater Impact", Spring Meeting 2020, World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption (June 18, 2020)
  • Panelist, Will Business Stand Up for Human Rights Defenders? United Nations Virtual Forum on Responsible Business and Human Rights - Asia and the Pacific: New Challenges, New Approaches (June 11, 2020)
  • Panelist, Moving Beyond Compliance: Integrating Respect for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption, United Nations Virtual Forum on Responsible Business and Human Rights: Asia and the Pacific: New Challenges, New Approach United Nations Virtual Forum on Responsible Business and Human Rights - Asia and the Pacific: New Challenges, New Approaches (June 9, 2020)
  • Commentator, "Towards Effective EU Mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Legislation", European Coalition for Corporate Justice (June 8, 2020)
  • Speaker, "The New Essential Employee", Coexisting with COVID-19, UW Graduate School Office of Public Lectures (June 4, 2020)
  • Speaker, The Role of Responsible Business Conduct in Time of Crisis (virtual closing presentation) 2020 OECD Forum on Responsible Business Conduct (May 19, 2020)
  • Panelist, "Rethinking Essential: Business, Work, and Human Rights in the Covid-19 Pandemic", Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, Duke Law International Human Rights Clinic, Columbia Law School Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, and Just Security (May 14, 2020)
  • Speaker, "Virtual Dialogue with the UN Human Rights Council on a Human Rights Approach to COVID-19 (invited expert and briefer)", United Nations Human Rights Counci (April 30, 2020)
  • Speaker, "Business, Peacebuilding and Conflict: How to Respect Human Rights (virtual briefing and consultation)", Business for Social Responsibility Human Rights Working Group (Europe and North America) (April 28, 2020)
  • Speaker, From Fragility to Resilience - International Policy and a New Social Contract (virtual presentation) Institute for Human Rights and Business Seminar (April 23, 2020)
  • Panelist, "Human Rights Responsibilities of ICT Companies in Conflict Zones, Expert Roundtable", Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (March 27, 2020)
  • Speaker, "IPEICA Stakeholder Dialogue and Briefing", Human Right and Social Responsibility Working Group (March 19, 2020)
  • Speaker, "The Business and Human Rights Movement Turns 10", Irish Center for Human Rights and J.E. Cairnes School of Economics and Business, National University of Ireland (March 10, 2020)
  • Panelist, "Women Taking the Lead: Defending Human Rghts and the Environment", Trocaire (February 25, 2020)