Tort liability of private safety auditors in global value chains

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Private safety auditors are key constituents of modern risk governance in global value chains (GVCs). However, high-impact safety incidents causing extensive harm inside and outside the chain have cast widespread doubts as to the integrity and rigour with which these commercial auditors carry out their professional services. Civil liability has been considered an important legal instrument to incentivise auditors to improve audit accuracy and integrity. Relying on English law, this article assesses the extent to which this premise holds true for product safety and social auditing. To that end, it studies the liability exposure of private safety auditors for negligent auditing in GVCs. It is argued that this exposure is primarily a function of the contractual obligations these auditors undertake to perform for producers or suppliers in GVCs. This finding draws attention to the need to better understand and define the scope of the safety audits offered for risk management purposes within GVCs
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584–602
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Risk Regulation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • global value chains
  • private auditors
  • tort liability
  • duty of care
  • food safety
  • social audits


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