Prof. Cees van Dam

Cees van Dam

Professor of International Business and Human Rights
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam


Cees van Dam is Professor of International Business and Human Rights at the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Professor of European Tort Law at Maastricht University, and Visiting Professor at King’s College London. His Erasmus chair is established by the Foundation for Peace Studies and sponsored by Amnesty International Nederland..

Cooperating with colleagues at the Rotterdam School of Management and the Erasmus Law School, his research is on the crossroads of the legal and business management disciplines. Through his research, he aims to contribute to enhancing human rights protection of people adversely affected by multinational corporations. His main research areas comprise:

the role of the General Counsel in enhancing the company’s policies and practices to respect and protect human rights;

the role of financial institutions in encouraging their clients to respect and protect human rights;

the responsibilities and opportunities of state-owned enterprises to respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights;

the dynamic and intertwinement between legal compliance, respecting human rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

In his Rotterdam inaugural lecture (‘Enhancing Human Rights Protection. A Company Lawyer’s Business’, 2015), he analysed how companies, in particular company lawyers, may respond to human rights challenges and dilemmas. Are the lawyers an obstacle for businesses developing human rights policies or can they play an active role in enhancing human rights protection: for their own employees, for the people working in their supply chain, for the people working at their subsidiaries, for the people living around their plants, and for the people affected by their customers?

Cees van Dam has been involved in a number of international research projects in the area of business and human rights. These include, among others, the Human Rights in Business-project, sponsored by the European Commission (2016). He regularly takes part in debates and media interviews, and lectures on various aspects of business and human rights, both in the Netherlands and abroad.

In addition to his work at RSM, Cees van Dam is Visiting Professor at King’s College London and at Maastricht University. In London he teaches English and Comparative Tort Law at the LL.B, and Business and Human Rights at the Transnational Law LL.M. In Maastricht he teaches European Tort Law at the European Law School. He is also a member of the Monitoring Committee of the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement.

About the Chair. The Endowed Chair in International Business and Human Rights at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) was established in 2013 by the Foundation for Peace Sciences (Stichting Vredeswetenschappen) and is sponsored by Amnesty International Nederland. The chair was established to complement existing business and sustainability expertise at RSM’s Business Society Management Department, with legal expertise in business and human rights.

Professional experience

(external) researcher

Erasmus University Rotterdam
RSM - Rotterdam School of Management
Department of Business-Society Management


Scholarly Publications (7)

  • C.C. van Dam (2015). Human rights obligations of transnational corporations in domestic tort law. In Jernej Cernic & Tara Van Ho (Eds.), Human Rights and Business: Direct Corporate Accountability for Human RIghts (pp. 475-497). Oisterwijk: Wolf Legal Publishers
  • C.C. van Dam (2014). Het EVRM en de aansprakelijkheid van private partijen. Verkeersrecht. Juridisch Maandblad Wegverkeer, 62 (11), 410-417.
  • C.C. van Dam (2013). European Tort Law, 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • C.C. van Dam (2013). 侵权法和人权:战火兄弟连. In Anglo-American Law Review Series. Peking University Press
  • C.C. van Dam (2011). The Netherlands liable towards family of Srebrenica victims. (nieuwsbrief). American Society of International Law. (available: 19 Sep 2011).
  • C.C. van Dam (2011). Tort Law and Human Rights. On the role of tort law in the area of business and human rights. Journal of European Tort Law, 2, 221-254.
  • C.C. van Dam (2008). Onderneming en mensenrechten. Den Haag: Boom Juridische uitgevers

Semi Scientific Publications (4)

  • C.C. van Dam (2015). Enhancing Human Rights Protection: a Company Lawyer's Business. . Inaugural lecture (2015, september 18). Rotterdam: Rotterdam School of Management
  • C.C. van Dam (2014, januari 11). Bedrijven strijden tegen onrecht. Nederlands Dagblad
  • C.C. van Dam (2013, februari 6). Shell in Nigeria: wegduiken kan niet. NRC Handelsblad
  • C.C. van Dam (2013, februari 26). Shell's victory and embarrassment in the Dutch court. Huffington Post


Discovery item

BLOG: Human rights in businesses and in business schools

The UN's guiding principles on business and human rights and sustainable development are rapidly becoming more relevant for businesses.