Janelle Diller

Janelle DILLER

Senior Research Associate
Spoken languages
English, French, Spanish
Areas of expertise
  • International organizations
  • Human rights
  • Labour and employment
  • International law
  • Corporate governance
  • Multi-stakeholder governance
  • International migration


Janelle Diller has served as legal counsel for 20 years with the International Labour Organization where she was appointed Deputy Legal Adviser in 2008.   She has contributed to the development of international human rights and labour standards, and soft law principles including on business responsibility in trade and investment. She was closely involved in designing and guiding the multi-stakeholder Rana Plaza Arrangement to provide remedies to several thousand worker victims of a building collapse in Bangladesh. She now provides services as Independent Counsel to Appleton Luff International Lawyers on behalf of JMDillerLaw where she advises on labour and human rights compliance in trade and investment including enterprise due diligence. 

As former Legal Director of the International Human Rights Law Group, she represented human rights victims in petitions before international and regional organizations, conducted fact-finding and reporting including on forced labour in Myanmar, and was involved in incorporating international human rights into domestic legal systems through constitutional reforms, judicial interpretation, and treaty ratification. She contributed closely to the UN Guiding Principles on Internally Displaced Persons and to UN negotiations for resettlement of refugees.  She has taught international law, business and human rights, and international human rights and trade law.  She recently served as Fulbright Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice (University of Ottawa) and Paul Martin Sr. Professor of International Affairs and Law (University of Windsor). 

Her published works examine the role of international human rights and labour standards in business, investment and trade, migration, and conflict.  In those contexts, she is currently exploring the interaction of informal transnational regulatory initiatives with international rulemaking and enforcement. Her projects focus on:

  • the evolving relationship between labour law and worker rights and multi-stakeholder initiatives for transnational regulation;
  • the emerging fragmentation of international law-making in various regulatory contexts within and among States for human and labour rights due diligence by business; and
  • the potential for coordination of  international cooperation and multistakeholder-based transnational governance through international organization innovations




Books and Monographs

Securing Dignity and Freedom with Human Rights: Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Nijhoff/Brill, 2012) on-line versionfeatured by United Nations Library as one of six English Research Guides for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Handbook on Human Rights in Situations of Conflict (Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, 1997) on-line version

In Search of Asylum: Vietnamese Refugees in Hong Kong (Washington: Indochina Resource Action Center, 1988)  on-line version as cited in Bibliography to International Refugee Law and Socio-Economic Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2009)


Peer-reviewed articles

The role of the State in the exercise of transnational public and private authority over labour standards,  International Organizations Law Review, 17:1 (2020) 41-74 on-line link

Economic, social, and cultural human rights: the journey towards peremptory norms in international law, Nordic Journal of Human Rights 36:1 (2018) 19-37 download paper

International Labour Law and the Challenge of Pluralism in the International Order, Manchester Journal of International Economic Law 10:2 (2013) 128-147 download paper

Private Standardization in Public International Lawmaking, 33 Michigan Journal of International Law 481-536 (2012) download paper

A social conscience in the global marketplace: labour dimensions of codes of conduct, social labelling and investor initiatives, International Labour Review 138:2 (1999) 99-129 download paper  (Fr) (Sp)


Book chapters

Multi-stakeholder initiatives and the Law of Work in G. Davidov et al., Oxford Handbook of the law of work (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2024)

International organization mandates and multistakeholder partnerships in G. Marceau & N. Blokker, eds., Oxford Handbook on Changing Inter-governmental Organization Mandates in times of crisis (forthcoming 2024)  

Protecting the Vulnerable: Migration, Work, and Rights in K. Elliott, Handbook on Globalisation and Labour Standards  (Edward Elgar, March 2022) Top 10 SSRN list

Responsibility of the United Nations, chapter 14 in The Rule of Law and Its Application to the United Nations, C. Feinaugle, ed. Studies of MPI Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law vol 6 225-68 (Oxford, Hart Publishing, Nomos 2016) download paper

Pluralism and privatisation in transnational labour law: the International Labour Organization experience, in Research Handbook on Transnational Labour Law 329-342 (A. Blackett and A. Trebilcock, eds. Edward Elgar Research Handbook Series, 2015) download paper

Social Justice, Rights, and the International Labour Movement, in Oxford Handbook of International Human Rights Law (D. Shelton, ed., Oxford University Press, 2013)

Taking account of human values in the international economic order: the role and contribution of the Legal Counsel, in International Economic Organizations and Law (A. Qureshi and X. Gao, eds., Kluwer, 2012) download paper


For institutional reports and other publications, see CV.

Download the CV here