Covid-19 as a lens to investigate local approaches to business and human rights: the case of Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 74(AD2), 1-29

Ciara Hackett

Ciarán O’Kelly

Samantha Hopkins

Clare Patton


December 14, 2023

The paper is available here.

The legal and regulatory framework of business and human rights (BHR) tends to prioritise human rights due diligence (HRDD). This has a role to play in protecting and respecting human rights, but we argue that HRDD’s capacity to reflect context showcases BHR’s potential to improve the lived experience of those in the communities where business operates.

Here, we consider two contextual phenomena: Northern Ireland and Covid-19. By focusing on a small regional economy, we investigate the impact of size, location, socio-economic and cultural history on how business integrates (or might integrate) in the social life of a community. By addressing Covid-19 and its recovery, we look at how a global event might be experienced differently depending on location, circumstances and levels of community engagement. We conclude that a more holistic approach might facilitate specific local lived interactions between business and human rights.


BibTeX citation:
  author = {Hackett, Ciara and O’Kelly, Ciarán and Hopkins, Samantha and
    Patton, Clare},
  title = {Covid-19 as a Lens to Investigate Local Approaches to
    Business and Human Rights: The Case of {Northern} {Ireland}},
  journal = {Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly},
  volume = {74},
  number = {AD2},
  pages = {1-29},
  date = {2023-12-14},
  url = {},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
Hackett, Ciara, Ciarán O’Kelly, Samantha Hopkins, and Clare Patton. 2023. “Covid-19 as a Lens to Investigate Local Approaches to Business and Human Rights: The Case of Northern Ireland.” Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 74 (AD2): 1–29.