Distinguished Professor of Law
Beth Stephens
Newark Campus
303E
S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice
123 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
973-353-3244

Beth Stephens has published a book and a variety of articles on the relationship between international and domestic law, focusing on the enforcement of international norms and on business and human rights. She previously was in charge of the human rights docket at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and continues to litigate human rights cases.

  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Expertise
Biography

Professor Stephens has published a variety of articles on the relationship between international and domestic law, focusing on the enforcement of international human rights norms through domestic courts and the incorporation of international law into U.S. law . She co-authored a book analyzing U.S. enforcement of human rights norms, International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2d ed. 2008). She has also written on the international law norms governing corporations, including Making Remedies Work: Envisioning a Treaty-Based System of Effective Remedies, in Building a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Context and Contours (Surya Deva and David Bilchitz, eds. 2017), and Are Corporations People? Corporate Personhood Under the Constitution and International Law, 44 Rutgers L.J. 1 (2014). Professor Stephens was an Advisor to the American Law Institute’s Restatement (Fourth) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States and served as a legal consultant to a network of human rights groups formulating proposals for a new treaty on business and human rights.

As a cooperating attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Professor Stephens continues to litigate pro bono human rights cases, including cases filed against U.S.-based corporations alleging responsibility for human rights violations committed in the course of their activities abroad. She has worked for over ten years on Mamani v. Berzain, a lawsuit against the former president of Bolivia for the killing of civilians by troops under his command, and was co-counsel for the plaintiffs in Samantar v. Yousuf, a human rights case decided by the Supreme Court in May 2010, in which the Court ruled 9-0 for her clients.

Professor Stephens graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, received her J.D. degree from Berkeley Law School, and clerked for Chief Justice Rose Bird of the California Supreme Court. From 1990-1995, she was in charge of the international human rights docket at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, where she litigated cases addressing human rights violations in countries around the world and received the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from Trial Lawyers for Public Justice in recognition of that work. She spent six years studying the changing legal system in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

 

 

Publications

Book

International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts (co-author) (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2d ed. 2008)

Articles/Book Chapters

"The Rise and Fall of the Alien Tort Statute," in Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business (Surya Deva, ed., forthcoming 2019)

“Making Remedies Work: Envisioning a Treaty-Based System of Effective Remedies,” in Building a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Context and Contours (Surya Deva & David Bilchitz, eds., forthcoming 2017)

“The Alien Tort Statute, Kiobel, and the Struggle for Human Rights Accountability,” in For the Sake of Present and Future Generations: Essays on International Law, Crime and Justice in Honour of Roger S. Clark (William Schabas, et al., eds. 2015)

“The Curious History of the Alien Tort Statute,” 89 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1467 (2014)

“Suing for Torture,” in International Litigation Strategies and Practice (Barton Legum, et al., eds., 2d ed. 2014)

“Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts: From 1789 to the Present,” in Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights Impacts: New Expectations and Paradigms (Lara Blecher, et al., eds., 2014)

“Are Corporations People? Corporate Personhood Under the Constitution and International Law,” 44 Rutgers L.J. 1 (2013)

“Extraterritoriality and Human Rights After Kiobel, 28 Md. J. Int’l L. 256 (2013)

“International Human Rights Cases Under State Law and in State Courts,” 3 U.C. Irvine L. Rev. 9 (2013) (with Paul Hoffman)

“Abusing the Authority of the State:  Denying Foreign Official Immunity for Egregious Human Rights Abuses,” 44 Vand. J. Transnat’l L. 1163 (2011)

“The Modern Common Law of Foreign Official Immunity,” 79 Fordham L. Rev. 2669 (2011)

 

 

Expertise
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Federal Courts
  • Civil Procedure
  • Human Rights
  • International Law (Public)
  • Litigation
  • Terrorism (International)
  • Transnational Litigation